Just how important is the UI/UX design of an app?

Renowned designer Frank Chimero’s quote answers this question beautifully. 

‘People ignore design that ignores people.’

The UI is undoubtedly where the user journey of a mobile app begins. It links users to a brand, makes the user’s journey in the app smooth, and increases the application ‘s ROI. If the UI of an app is user-centric and has engaging content, nothing can derail its progress.

The biggest challenge of developing a UX is to get to understand your user’s needs and wants: what are their requirements? What challenges are they facing? What inspires them, and how do they feel about things? You are building this app for these people, so don’t even think about skipping to design until you’ve done thorough research on user preferences.

Here are certain design trends to be wary of. Unlike the seasonal hot and colds, they remain ‘in’ and increase the value of your app even years later. Let’s take a look at some of those UIUX design approaches and trends.  

Top Mobile App UI/UX Design Trends that are Timeless

App designs are becoming more empathetic and emotive.  You may have observed how more design experiments are aimed at creating an emotional appeal now. Designers are experimenting with diverse sets of design techniques. Their ultimate goal is to design apps users can relate to on an emotional level.

1. Illustrations are still ‘in’

Illustrations were always hot and trending. Not only do they capture the user’s attention but they are emotionally appealing. The use of 3D moving illustrations is prevalent in mobile apps designs and is certainly here to stay. 

Besides, illustration carries and reflects an organic feel in comparison to graphics or photographs. By providing users with a picture that looks organic, applications are setting up their reputations as comfortable, relatable spaces.

Rent a boat and Yakuza are two fine and fun instances of illustrations in mobile app designs. Both have clean and intuitive, simple yet bright, and colorful interfaces.

2. Increase Vitality with Animation & Gradients 

Animations are a vital aspect of seamless user experience. Animated movements and motion animations are capable of conveying huge amounts of data in a beautiful and aesthetic manner – they add groove to app-user interactions. 

With smartphones evolving, becoming stronger, and faster, more sophisticated animations can be delivered by mobile app designers. The animation is no longer just about anchoring differences between various regimes; it’s also an aspect of app branding.

Motion tells the story of your brand and product in an exclusive manner, whereas animation takes things up a notch for users by creating movie-like sequences that display relevant data frame by frame. Take progress bars in fitness apps for instance. It’s a simple and subtle form of animation. Animated notifications or navigation animation both increase the beauty of an app and breathe life into bland and boring interactions. 

Gradients on the other hand are all about using vivid colors as a backdrop. They add subtlety and a clear source of light. Instagram’s logo is a tiny yet perfect example of what gradient looks like in UI and people have shown adoration. However, before you blindly chase after a trend, understand and study color psychology. 

3. 3D/Faux-3D Magic with a Touch of Neo-skeuomorphism 

Well, Faux-3D style is mostly the rebirth of the older skeuomorphic design trend however, it is light years advanced with everything that has been accomplished in design over the years. 

Featuring such graphic elements in mobile applications is not exactly a novel phenomenon as it has been widely adopted in entertainment and games for years. Originally, people hated the idea of skeuomorphism in design. It just didn’t feel right to most.  Remember Apple’s older interface? Or Instagram older UI? It was skeuomorphism and the majority absolutely hated it. 

Hence, a new term was brought to life. Adding ‘new-Skeuomorphism’ to apps for softness and subtlety in designs became a thing. Bit of 3D with a slight touch of realism, however, nothing too 2012-ish or fancier. Dribble has some elements of neo-skeuomorphism in its UI.    

 4. Users Prefer a Buttonless Design 

Real physical buttons are a thing of the past. No one uses them in mobile devices anymore. By making the screen spaces spacious, product designers make far more data accessible to users. In a buttonless interface, the digital buttons are swapped and the data is placed at a user’s center of attention.

5. Bottom Navigation is Industry Standard 

Not only are modern smartphones incredibly good for multitasking but they now have a larger display too and, therefore, can display more data on their screens  Yet a bigger screen also raises challenges such as constraints against thumb movement. The bigger a screen is, the harder is it for your thumb to move about and navigate.

And as it becomes difficult for your thumb to reach the screen top, many apps are now placing the main navigation objects at the bottom of the screen.  

Therefore it has been deemed an industry standard for app developers. This allows users to access essential features of the app in a single tap. Many modern applications like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn have bottom navigation making it easier on your thumb. 

6. Insert ‘Chatbots’ in Your Mobile App UI/UX Design

Adding a Chatbot UI isn’t just about delivering data to end-users. Chatbots should be able to deal with any query or question and need to be simple to use. They should accommodate all styles of basic language variations – a variety of language semantics, sentiments, slang terms, phrases, and linguistic structure.

You must provide your users with several ways to interact like ready-made conversation flow or free-text typing with auto-complete features.

To further enhance the UI, you could consider implementing things like form indicators, avatars, a voice that fits your brand style, feedback buttons, etc.

Many modern apps today like Facebook’s Messenger, Telegram, and Slack have chatbots.

7. Design for Differently-abled People

People with a momentary or a lifelong impairment will need to interact a bit differently from a typical user.   Integrating an inclusive attitude and empathy in your app design will help you build user-friendly products. 

Design a screen with functionalities like read UI elements and text aloud, vibration feedback, and acoustic signals for visually impaired people or individuals with poor vision.

Apple is very considerate when it comes to providing the same accessibility to differently-abled people. TapTap and VoiceOver are two instances of how Apple is making it easier for the differently-abled!

8. Less is More – Minimalistic (Material and Spacious Design) 

Simplistic and minimalistic design first materialized in 2018, when the industry experts observed that sites and apps with minimal color palettes had higher user engagement than the glittering bright ones. Minimalism executed the right way actually ‘sells’! 

The key is that a minimalist approach shifts the focus or user’s attention to design elements that are actually essential to usage or brings more sales. Another significant aspect of minimalism is the substantial and healthy use of white space. 

Apps like Google fit, Gmail app, and Buzzfeed are a good example of designs that are material, simple, and based on minimalism.

9. Design that Cares: Data-Driven & Content Design 

It’s all for the sake of user retention! 

App design is evolving and becoming more personalized to deliver users with functionalities that they actually need more and reduce any amount of time they may spend searching for other apps as a backup.  

A data-driven style ensures the app is versatile. It is dynamic and responsive, and serves users with a personalized interface to match their needs and preferences and is as per their taste.

And following a content-first approach will help you design functional and meaningful UIs. Readability after all is of utmost priority when it comes to UI/UX design. It’s not just limited to taglines, or slogans, CTAs, or brand names. There’s more to design. 

FullyRaw – W3 Gold Award Winner (2018) – is an instance of content-based design. It is something CitrusBits worked on and is very proud of. The plethora of content scattered across various social and web platforms was compiled in a form of easy-to-use, organized app with a simple and intuitive interface.

It’s about the design as a whole – your design needs to include easily readable fonts, a clear background menu, and font variations for various screen sizes. So, fine-tune the UX of your app for better user retention. 

10. Add a Bit of Darkness – Dark Mode or Themes

Dark theme is thus far and justifiably so the hottest trend, for the following reasons:

  • Allows a greater emphasis on other design elements 
  • Looks cutting edge 
  • Helps to conserve phone battery 
  • Works wonders when under low – light environments 
  • Relieves pressure on the eyes 

Many of the applications have the feature to activate dark themes. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it. For certain devices, you can also schedule a time to automatically adjust the display.

Keep it User-centric

In the end what’s important is the convenience of your targeted users, satiating their needs, and placing their emotional state before all else. A design that is centered around its targeted users will most likely require effort and hard work however, it will most likely help with user-retention. 

Being the experts in the field and an award-winning application development company, we know exactly what it takes to design a successful mobile app UIUX.

CitrusBits has designed and developed game-changing applications for hundreds of big and small businesses including ASUCLA, Harman, Leef, Quiksilver, Burger King, IrisVision, ChemoWave, JobFlare, and Rawvana, etc. Check out our portfolio for more!