Change is a constant in the mobile app universe. To continue building on their skills and producing their top work, UX designers and developers need to keep a close eye on the industry’s latest trends as well as learn to anticipate and make their own predictions. Poor user experience is something that brands are rarely forgiven for, so falling short once can sometimes mean falling off the favorites list for a long time.
Read on to learn more about the most impactful mobile interaction trends of 2018 that are likely to make their mark in the design world.
1. Simplified User Flow
One of the biggest mobile interaction design trends we’re seeing this year is user flow simplification. Creating a linear user experience that has a defined beginning, middle, and end, makes the user journey significantly simpler and more enjoyable.
Users appreciate (often subconsciously) this trend because it allows them to complete one action with each step, providing a much better idea of how long the process will take before they can move on to the next stage.
Designing simplified, linear user flows is beneficial for both the user and the business: less confusion and frustration lead to more satisfied users who are more likely to convert at the end of their journey.
Conversational design has proven to be a hot trend in 2018. A 2015 study by comScore found that the average mobile user only uses three apps on a regular basis, and one of those is a messaging app. There’s no getting around the fact that chatting is a big part of the mobile realm and that’s bound to make an impact on user interface design. So it’s no surprise that AI-powered chatbots and voice-activated assistants are making headlines this year. From Google’s virtual assistant mimicking human voice to bots like Lara designed for Facebook Messenger that use AI to help singles find true love online, the conversational design trend is upping user expectations at an incredible speed.
Yet, while voice-activated interfaces promise to eliminate the need for typing and ease the user experience, some accessibility issues must be taken into account before it replaces traditional visual interfaces. It’s unlikely we’ll see chatbots fully replacing the regular user interfaces either, but a boom of new bots is expected to flood the most popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger. As artificial intelligence technology gets more and more sophisticated, conversational design will likely reach a completely new level of seamlessness in the nearest future.
“Clean and minimal” is making waves in the mobile UX design. UX designers are going back to basics by stripping away all the visual clutter that’s creating friction and obscuring comprehension. Creating a clean, content-first experiences is another big trend this year and designers are taking different routes to improve user interface design.
Decluttering is a tactic favored by many in the field. By removing all the background noise and prioritizing the most important information as well as establishing a clear visual hierarchy, UX designers are finding new ways to communicate their core message. Color contrast, minimalist design, and intuitive content hierarchy are essential aspects of a decluttered content-focused experience that UX designers are striving for this year. “Less is more” is truly taking on a new meaning in the mobile design.
4. Micro Interactions
When micro interactions are executed well, they can greatly boost user engagement. In the simplest sense, they are visual feedback provided by the app in response to an action that a user takes. A pull-to-refresh action, the type indicator in a chat window, or a flashing dot on a map indicating location–these are all micro interactions.
This trend continues to be popular among UX designers who are working hard to seamlessly weave micro interactions into their product’s platform to create a better overall experience. Often referred to as “pretty animations” by non-designers, micro interactions have the power to delight and engage users on a more emotional, human level.
Personalized user experience has almost become common sense, and users often expect the brands they interact with to know what they want and when they want it. Getting content curation on the button is extremely important these days, so it’s quite natural that personalization is one of the hottest trends in mobile UX design at the moment.
It’s not something new or extraordinary, but it’s something that is constantly evolving, improving, and getting more sophisticated. Utilizing location data to provide relevant, timely content is one of the top methods to create a personalized user experience, but it doesn’t have to stop there. User interfaces tailored to individual user preferences, such as font size, video volume, or even a personalized color scheme, will likely become part of the personalization package in the near future.
6. Rich, Vibrant Colors
Nothing draws the eye more and sets the mood better than a vibrant color palette. Color has always been one of the most powerful tools in a designer’s toolkit and this year we’re seeing a true renaissance of rich, bright colors in mobile design.
Designers are now picking vibrant hues not only for the aesthetics but are also successfully using bright colors as a functional element to visually separate different interactions or steps in the user journey. When it comes to reinvigorating the user experience, vivid colors are UX designers’ go-to tactic and will continue to influence functional mobile UIs.
7. Smooth Video Consumption
To the horror of most video producers, portrait orientation is the preferred way of consuming content, including video content, on mobile phones. In fact, 94% of the time mobile phones are used in portrait orientation, which clearly highlights the demand for content adapted to this preference.
As the consumption of video rapidly accelerates, brands will need to find ways to win and maintain users’ attention for longer than the average attention span (which was eight seconds in 2015).
Formats like 360-degree videos and live broadcasts have been brought about to satisfy user expectations and fit the portrait orientation. Video-based UI will be big this year–and probably for years to come–as users become more and more accustomed to video becoming the main content format on the web.
It’s useful to step back occasionally and look at areas of the design industry as a whole. Observing present trends, analysing why they exist and where they’re likely to go, is a great way to ensure your work is current, whilst making sure it doesn’t blindly follow.