App design is rarely granular, and this is proven by recent trends within the world of app design. Some trends can derive from the world of design itself, whereas others can originate from other technological evolution.
Much of our technology works in tandem nowadays, so app design rarely sets its focus on one particular device or operating system. Being aware of current trends allows app designers to take advantage of these trends, while ensuring that apps can be approached with confidence and ease.
Flat is The Way Forward for Top App Design Trends
Flat design gets rid of unnecessary shadows, swirls and fonts by offering a clear but effective platform for mobile users. The flat design has become so popular, that it will count for a lot moving forward, at least for the next year.
This means that apps with minimal gradients, shadows and other unnecessary aesthetics are destined to perform better than apps with the aforementioned.
Colours Used in App Design Remain Important
Evidently, colours will always be important when it comes to app design, but there are certain tones that are favoured more than others by those who use the app.
More and more app designers are employing the use of softer colours in their app design, with pastel colours being particularly popular. Working with a particular blend of colours can be frustrating in some instances, but once you have a palette of preferable soft colours, you will find that they work in tandem with the minimalist design of the app. The colours currently being used by Apple can be found here, whereas the ones used by Android can be located here.
Parallax Scrolling for Better User Experience
Graphic designers have been working with parallax scrolling for some time now, as the introduction of HTML5 and CSS3 allows for more eye-catching and interesting websites focused on a better user experience.
Parallax scrolling is quickly becoming popular in mobile app design, with some deeming it as an imperative inclusion. The trend of parallax scrolling will ensure that apps moving forward are intuitive while making the app easy to navigate for users.
Blurred Backgrounds make for Better Content Presentation
It can be a cumbersome task trying to balance out the simplicity of an app with in-depth content. However, with more and more people using their mobile device for browsing the web and apps, it is vital that the content being put before the user is both relevant and informative, otherwise this could affect rankings and other factors.
This is where blurred backgrounds can help enhance the user experience when it comes to navigating their way around the app. Although there can be a lot going on the screen at any one time, the perception given to the user is an easy-to-use interface offering clear and concise information.
Having blurred backgrounds instilled within the design of the app makes the displaying of in-depth content and on-screen features much easier, as it will indicate what aspects of the applications are currently in use.
Blurred backgrounds help make apps more informative, while still being able to offer a clean and simple design.
Motion Design is Being Implemented into App Design
The thought process behind any app is how to make the experience more seamless for the user. Although motion design has been used in advertisements and music videos for a number of years, it’s now set up home in the app design world.
Clever motion design can help a user to engage further with the app. For example, an icon can be transformed into a contrasting icon to help the user investigate the app further. This means that app designers can present information in such a way that it can be accessed easily, while still giving the user helpful on screen prompts.
Hidden Navigation Makes for Clearer Content
Anyone who designs apps will testify as to how important clear navigation is, but hidden navigation doesn’t mean it is viewed as any less important, it merely operates in a different way. Such navigation has become popular on apps that feature a lot of content, such as news apps.
The navigation is present for a certain amount of time, but will disappear after a lack of interaction. The navigation is brought to the forefront using a simple swipe, allowing users to explore the app further. Not only does this allow for clearer looking apps, but it also means that any content within the app is displayed clearly.
Cards Are Proving to be Popular
Physical cards have been popular for centuries, whether it’s a birthday card, a trading card or even a debit card, all of them present information in a clear and concise way. The same is true for virtual cards, which have become popular within app design as they are able to deliver content and information to viewers in a clear and concise manner.
Google has actually embraced cards as part of the search algorithm, especially within Google Now. Mobile users are able to arrange cards that deliver different information. For example, a user could have a card that records the weather where they are, another could show upcoming flights while another card can keep the user abreast of any ground breaking news.
Google isn’t the only technological giant keen to take advantage of the many perks that cards can bring to a platform. Airdrop has been placed on in the background as Apple’s new design for iOS7, but it does go to show how Apple is also adopting a minimal design when it comes to their user interface.
Airdrop allows iPhone users to share photos easily, but many developers will recognise Airdrop as a sharing app, and as such the aesthetics can be amended accordingly. This means that a plethora of information can be inserted in a clear and concise way, such as coupons, reviews and news.
The fact that sharing can also be done in a variety of ways using Airdrop means that the content could be shared to nearby Apple devices instantly. Of course, social sharing will remain popular as ever, especially with more condensed information that tells the viewer what they need to know, while leaving out any unnecessary filler.
Swiping is the New Tapping
Swiping really ties into how cards have become an integral part of the user experience. App designers are finding it more convenient to us cards that employ a swipe motion, as opposed to tapping.
Examples of apps that have introduced the partnership between cards and swiping include social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Card-based feeds are introduced to social networkers meaning that they are able to navigate through news and posts with ease, with very little distraction.
It’s not only social networks that have embraced swiping, there are app designers who employed swipe navigation as part of their core design. Dating apps such as Tinder allow users to accept or reject potential dates using a simple swipe motion in either direction. This means that users of the app can potentially find a date using one thumb. Compare this to the wordy introduction you may use on a more granular dating website, and you can see why such apps have become popular. Users have the potential to find the partner of their dreams within a few swipes of their thumb.
This can of course contradict the fact the some mobile devices are getting bigger, so it’s important that those with smaller devices are still able to navigate around apps easily, while those with a larger mobile device are still able to use the apps using the cradle method, without the design being a hindrance to either.
Typography is Important
When you think of app design, it’s easy to focus on colours, navigation and the general aesthetics. However, the use of the right font is just as important as the graphics and colours used when it comes to app design.
It’s important that the right kind of font is used, as it helps separate headlines from paragraphs, so content can be easily absorbed by a user. In this regards, it’s hardly surprising that the most of the recent trends revolve around the user’s preferences.
Scalable typography is now a must in app design, and with good reason. As previously discussed, there are a number of devices that have screens of all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s a tablet, or a piece of wearable technology, it’s important that the content within can be read clearly.
Apple first refined its font with the introduction of iOS7, and introduced the adaptable Helvetica Neue so that fonts could be ready on a number of Apple devices, regardless of the screen size. 7
Since the introduction, it has become standard that each operating system has a legible typography that is able to easily adapt to different devices. The release of Android’s Lollipop operating system saw its Roboto font redesigned for use in design, and is now available in in open source.
With the release of the Apple Watch, Apple realised it needed a font that can be easily identified on smaller displays, so released San Francisco, which effectively acts as a system font for Apple Watch, as well as OSX and iOS9. The font allows for maximum legibility on a small screen.
Trends in 2015 are all focused on making the app more user friendly and appealing to its target audience. Those who use apps crave for a simplistic interface, but still wish to gain access to in-depth content. As such, the right features can ensure that an app is eye-catching and simplistic while still managing to fit in relevant content and features without becoming too congested.