The world of technology in general is quite unpredictable and it is never possible to guess exactly where it is going. We consider as "visionaries" those who manage to see a small part of what users want, and bet decidedly for it.
For example, Elon Musk with Paypal, Steve Jobs with the iPhone, or the creators of WhatsApp. But even they couldn´t see the whole scenario no matter how much they claimed otherwise.
2017 was a great year for mobile apps. Now more than ever it is clear that no large software company can stay out of this world. Despite how difficult it is to predict, the least we can do as mobile developers is to try to anticipate the future and know what we should invest in and bet on. In our opinion, these will be the main trends of 2018:
1) Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality:
If you know the modern trends in mobile app development, then AR and VR apps are nothing new for you. Already Pokemon Go, iOnRoad, Snapchat and other apps marked the beginning of the road. 2018 is called to be the year where AR and VR capture the attention of wider masses. VR devices such as Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift are gaining popularity.
As a developer, you should keep some things in mind in AR and VR. For example:
- There must be some contextual elements that inform users about the connection of data from the real world.
- The user experience must be simplified. They should get a lot of information automatically.
- The user of an AR app must be a person free of movements.
- VR applications should be more interactive than ever.
- Is very important to avoid eye fatigue.
2) Material Design:
In 2014 Google launched a new concept: Material Design, which has been gaining ground and designers with respect to Flat Design. Most experts agree that this is one of the most important mobile design trends for 2018. In essence, all available space is used effectively by a single app.
It is the most flexible solution today that offers clear and dark backgrounds so you can better exploit your creativity. You can see many examples of Material Design in many popular apps available for Android and iOS platforms. Adding more complex and attractive elements to the design is one of the emerging trends in mobile apps. Add shadows and translucent images are very useful to maintain the user's attention.
3) Cloud applications:
Our smartphones are increasingly powerful and can store more data than before. But almost nobody wants to download and install heavy apps. That is why cloud-based applications are gaining ground. Simply install a small application, a client that is connected to the cloud where we get our data quickly and easily without affecting the internal memory of the phone.
Already Dropbox, Google Drive and other apps are taking the lead in this field. According to Cisco VNI Global Mobile Forecast (2015-2020), cloud apps will generate 90% of total mobile data traffic worldwide in 2019. Mobile cloud traffic will grow at an annual growth rate of 60%.
Another advantage is that companies can better protect the confidential corporate data that their employees have on their devices, since they would now be in the cloud and not directly on smartphones that can be stolen or hacked.
4) Goodbye hamburger menus
For a long time, hamburger menus were a necessary evil in the mobile industry. But in 2017, several leading companies such as Facebook, Spotify, LinkedIn, Twitter and Tumblr abandoned them in their mobile apps and many others followed their example. It is clear that if your app is not able to stop using the hamburger menus, it will be obsolete very soon.
It may seem intuitive and versatile for us, but not for people who are not so used to using technological devices. His successor is a static menu at the bottom of the screen that does not hide the menu items to the user, and is already proving successful in apps like Spotify.
5) Internet of Things (IoT):
Already Internet of Things does not seem something unattainable or science fiction movies. Every time there are more devices and devices that we can control from our smartphones, such as Nest thermostats, smart homes or robot vacuum cleaners. Apps like Arduino or Raspberry Pi allow us to manage these smart devices from our phone, and in 2018 this trend will gain strength.
6) Minimalism and simple color schemes:
The concept of speed does not refer only to the technical aspects. When the design of the app is overloaded, it can confuse the user. Creating a minimalist design makes everything much easier: the user should only click on that button. Undoubtedly, products that strive to prevent the user from becoming distracted by the irrelevant will focus on the content.
In addition, the neon colors of the past are no longer necessary. Simply pastel colors transmit tranquility to the user. To a large extent that is the basis of Material Design. The less variety of colors you have, the better. Less is more.
7) Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Since Google introduced the AMP project, the loading of pages on mobile devices is faster. AMP will help web applications load faster on all mobile devices, reducing the bounce rate. This will also help publishers make their ads more visible and get more visitors.
In addition, Google has stated that it will provide an isolated search index for mobile browsers. With AMP, your product gets a higher ranking and proper optimization of the search engines. This will be a major change from the point of view of SEO. A good example of this type of apps is Thrive.
If there is a time to bet on mobile apps is this. In general, all these trends point to more simplified, discrete and user-oriented designs in 2018. Over time, revolutions will become a regular part of our daily lives.