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7 Mobile App Design Trends for an Ideal UX

By Nick Epson on November 11, 2020

Today’s users have come to expect certain elements in the software they use – modern mobile app design trends embellish the overall quality of an application, adding to the overall value of the UX. Having developed many apps for various marketplaces over the last 10 years, we at Blue Label Labs understand that certain design aspects and features add substantial value for users which impacts a business’s bottom line.

There’s more to design than simply using the right fonts and making your app appear “modern” (although that is a part of it!) To truly engage with your audience, everything from how a user logs in to the way they interact with app elements adds to the overall UX.

Of course, every app is different which means that businesses need to think about what features will add the most usability for their end-users. So, let’s take a look at some of these features and discuss relevant scenarios where they can be used.

7 mobile app design trends for modern software

Every feature has its place. A modern app doesn’t need to introduce every “trick” there is but developers should take care to ensure that some of the following items are incorporated into their app.

1. Third-party sign-in and biometrics

The easier it is for a user to register and sign in to your app, the more likely they are to engage with your service. While there are several options to choose from, some are better than the others which is why Sign in with Apple and phone number logins have become so popular.

For example, Facebook offers a sign-in mechanism that quickly pulls user’s data from the platform into the app but it does have some shortcomings in the sense that it’s not the most secure option. Currently, the Sign in with Apple method offers one of the most secure ways a user can log in – it also tethers with Face ID and Touch ID which give users a fast, secure way of utilizing biometric functions to login to a service.

2. Motion graphics

A motion graphic almost sounds like an old-school reference to early day movies – the reality is, the concept and allure are much the same.

 

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We use modern motion graphics in apps to draw attention to certain elements in the software as one of a few mobile app design trends whether it’s calling attention to a block of text, a button, or some other element. It all roots in the fact that our brains are hardwired for motion like predators who watch for subtle movements in the environment around them. Here, these brief animations effortlessly capture the attention of your audience members and direct them to whatever it is you want them to notice.

3. Captivating typography

One of the most obvious design trends in modern mobile apps is the use of certain typography to catch a user’s attention. Much like the use of motion graphics, the structure of fonts, use of white spaces, and asymmetrical design create a kind of perceived movement for the user’s eyes that works like actual motion.

Certain fonts have profound psychological effects. A human’s cognitive response to captivating design affects memory such that the structure of what they see (i.e. not the content) activates a certain encoding process that developers can use to their advantage to persuade a user to take some course of action. For example, adding memorable, catchy fonts and designs to elements such as IAP functions proves useful in getting the attention of users, making them more likely to engage.

4. Augmented reality

For highly visual apps that enable you to virtually interact with your physical environment (e.g. real estate apps, games that use your physical environment, etc.) AR furnishes a profound level of customization. Although this doesn’t have a place in every app, it does add value when users are given tools that allow them to interact with the environment around them using a device’s camera.

One of the more popular examples is with gaming – apps like Pokémon Go superimpose the game’s creatures into your physical environment, making it feel like you’re genuinely catching something in the real world. AR has further applications as a mobile app design trend like real estate where people can scan a room with their phone and use tools to plan out space by adding to-scale furniture items. It can also be used in medical imaging, for example, when a surgeon needs to install a pacemaker in a non-standard location. This is helpful when such devices need to be implanted in an individual’s chest or abdominal cavities, rather than near the collarbone as with standard implementations.

5. Chatbots

A modern chatbot can do everything from resolve customer service issues to onboard new clients. One of the most prolific ways that AI-driven chatbots are used in modern mobile app design is for sales and problem resolution. We did just this with our chatbot, Pepper, built for the app inHouse that went to the 2020 Webby Awards and received an honorable mention in the AI category.

Businesses should understand that much of the labor that goes into customer service can be easily (and inexpensively) handled with a well-designed chatbot that can interface with a CRM and payment processing system. By developing an organic conversational bot, businesses can allow customers to chat much the same as with a human. These systems can do everything from plug information into a system (like with onboarding new customers) to pull order information to enact processes like issuing refunds or exchanges. Further, these scripts can be passed off to human entities when there are complex issues that arise.

6. Storytelling

The process of storytelling is a pivotal tool for humans as this has allowed us to exchange memorable information since our earliest days. Think about all the tales you’ve heard over the years and how it has impacted you or, in the very least, stuck with you.

Storytelling is a mechanism that connects with a user’s memory similar to motion. Stories can be applied to everything from products and services to a company brand – by weaving contextually colorful statements, users are more likely to remember such accounts, creating a kind of virtual experience that both causes them to draw connections as well as enables the individual to better recall information at a later time.

Descriptive, well-thought-out content (whether written or delivered through some other medium) sticks in user memories but more importantly, inspires them to act. As such, developers need to work with creative teams to attach memorable stories to pieces of content that resonate with users.

One of the best examples of an app that enables users to create stories is Instagram which is designed around visual storytelling. Though users are free to upload as they please, some individuals and companies like Blue Label Labs create stories through their posts that have a certain flow. Outside of user-contributed content, developers are encouraged to work with designers and content creators to create pages that keep users scrolling which is the digital equivalent of a book you might consider a page turner.

7. Voice functions

In addition to being a solid accessibility tool, voice is a mobile app design that helps users in many other ways. Conversational systems, such as the chatbots mentioned above, enable users to converse with an AI using their voice much like speaking with a human.

Voice features, supplemented by the backend power to follow commands, give users a modern, hands-free experience which is critical in certain scenarios such as driving. Backend tools like Microsoft Cognitive Services (among others) offer NLP (Natural Language Processing) tools that turn voice into a viable way to interface with an app aside from tapping and swiping.

Final thoughts

Though this list is not exhaustive, it showcases some of the most important tools available to developers today. Creating a modern experience with mobile app design enables developers to engage with users in virtually every area of the application where these features are applied. Without these features, an app can feel immediately outdated which is enough to cause users to quickly drop off. Make sure you’re incorporating these design elements as your app’s success depends on it.

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