12 Mobile UX Trends For 2017
One of the key reasons behind the success of a mobile app is its UX. An exceptional UX is usually the backbone of a growing business app. While you are planning on the UX, you must look at competing apps and observe the latest industry trends. An app will get recommended by its users only if its UX delights them one way or the other.
Let’s dive in.
Touch has now become a norm in the mobile app space. Therefore, gestures like taps, double taps, swipes and scrolls have taken over. Actions like sharing or deleting a particular in app activity or content is now commonly being done with the help of a swipe. Gestures can vary from industry to industry and new and innovative gestures are becoming a prominent part of any mobile application user experience.
Reasons Why Gestures are Preferred Over Buttons
- Gestures make the user-experience very lively and real. They ensure that the app interface remains clean and pleasing. The user finds no obstructions while taking an action.
- What you can experience now is that you just need to swipe to delete an unwanted email in your inbox. Gestures bring in useful shortcuts in each and everything we are doing in the app, hastening and simplifying the process.
More Importance To Visual Cues In Gestures
Many a times it has been observed that gestures are inconsistent across apps and devices. The situation can at times, become slightly confusing for the user. A user may get used to a certain gesture which may not perform the same way in another app or device.
Visual cues about gestures are helpful in making it easier for the user. Progressive gestures are thus an upcoming trend in this space.
A faster, easy to load app must be easy on the users’ eyes as well. Too many design elements in any app makes a user get confused. A minimal UI design ensures that the users can understand and use the application with ease. With shorter attention span of users and the need for a speedy app, a minimal UI is surely the way forward.
The impression that the app users get, the first time they use an app, decides its fate with that user. An out-of-the box on-boarding experience is crucial for the success of the app. When the user comes on-board, it is their first tryst with the app and if you can sell the application at this time, the task is done.
A progressive on-boarding works well to get the user to become comfortable with the application while understanding it better.
Improving the Initial Experience
As soon as the visitor opens your app for the first time, you need to communicate about some of the unique features of the application.
An introductory video can be quite effective in building a relationship with the users while telling them what’s in store for them.
Provide them with a walk through of the app and some basic tips on using its core features. Helping the users to personalize the app experience by adding their preferences is quite common as well.
Make The Users Feel Positive
App gamification is a trend that’s fast catching up. Once the user knows how to use the app, you need to make sure that the interaction is consistent. Praise them on having completed a step or thank them at completion of a particular activity like a sign up. You can add these simple messages to keep them motivated and interested at each step.
Every story has an ending that should be equally inviting. Provide your users with a happy passage while exiting the app. For example, if it’s a gaming application, you can tell them about the points they have accumulated in the completed session. You can congratulate them and motivate them to come back again for more action. A pleasant off-boarding experience will surely get the user to talk about the app and get you word-of-mouth publicity.
User off-boarding is fast catching up as a trend and more and more apps and UX professionals are joining in the bandwagon. This is one of the key trends to watch out for in the coming year.
Personalizing The Experience
One of the key upcoming trends in the mobile app space is the personalization of the in-app experience according to user preferences. Apps are made to record the activity of the user and their experience is customised accordingly. It also provides an opportunity for the business to push products and services to the relevant audiences and get more business. For the user, this goes on to simplify their experience as they do not have to repeatedly search for the desired information. Personalized push notifications are now being seen as an integral part of the user experience of a mobile app.
Age responsive design is fast catching up as well. It is the type of design that adapts the UX and the content of the app according to the age of the user.
Animated and Motion Based Design
Motion based design adds to the delight of the users. Animations are used to communicate the story behind each feature and functionality.
Relevance of Animation
Animation works when relevant. You need to understand your audience to create stories that connect with your audience. Talk to your prospective users and understand their expectations of the app. The next step is to understand the user journey and the context in which the user action will be taken.
There are situations in the app’s user journey where the user is looking for answers to stuff like:
What’s happening next?
Have I completed this action?
What does this mean?
These are opportunities to add animation and ensure it helps the users to complete the action and move to the next one.
VR Based UX
Virtual reality makes the users believe that the virtual world is the real world. With virtual reality, you can actually get the experience of being transported to imaginary places. The upcoming trend in Mobile UX is designing for a virtual fantasy aka the experience provided by VR apps.
Virtual reality provides the users with different kinds of experiences such as playing a game, and experiencing a place that does not exist in real life. The type of VR hardware also influences the kind of VR experiences the user can enjoy.
The UX designer has to work closely with the 3D architect of the VR app to understand the experience that needs to be created for the user. The physical location of the user and their limitations with moving around are considered while designing the experience. The UX designer also needs to understand the level of immersion required by the app and ensure that the sound design is precise as well. The VR technology is evolving and the upcoming UX trends will surely be influenced by the changes in this space.
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AI, Chatbots and Voice
Bots are changing the way users experience apps, products and services on a mobile device. Chatbots are assisting users to perform a variety of tasks like looking up for their preferred products or knowing about the weather in their location. You can just put in any request to the the chatbot and it is trained to give you the right answers.
Another crucial upcoming trend that enhances the user experience in a big way is Voice command input. With Apple Siri and Google Now, there is ever more simplification of app interactions in the times to come. The UX will surely be governed by these trends and you will see a minimisation of buttons and touch commands in many of the apps where these will be replaced by voice and chat.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things technology has been around for a while and has added tremendous value to businesses globally.
With sensor technology becoming cheaper, IoT will continue to grow in the coming times. The UX of an IoT app plays a very important role in its success. The key challenge the UX designers of IoT apps face is to provide the precise information to the user so they do not get confused and overwhelmed with extra stuff.
In an IoT app the information flows between service providers, apps, things and people and one has to ensure that this information is clear, concise and engaging for the user.
One of the key concerns of the UX professionals and business owners is the security of this information. Another important aspect of an app UX built for IoT is the level of customization that can be done for different groups of users. Personal users of an IoT app require a different experience from that of the business users. One has to clearly understand app functionality in each of the cases while doing the app UX.
We are all now very familiar with Augmented Reality apps that enable information from the real world to be used for in-app activity. The success of apps like PokemonGo and Snapchat has gone on to prove the acceptance and popularity of this technology. For apps led by AR technology the UX needs to be customised accordingly as well.
- – The UX needs to have contextual elements to communicate about the information flowing in from the real world.
- – Real time movements and actions have to be interpreted and used to provide an engaging in-app experience to the user.
- – The app needs to ensure that the user can move freely while using it.
- – The changes in a real world situation need to be forecasted so that for each change the user can be provided with a well defined experience.
- – The computer system collects the inputs from the outside world and there are no commands given by the user.
- – The overall experience of the users can be highly simplified as they get the real world information without a command – for eg. a parking assistance system shows the user the exact distance from anything that gets close.
- – An AR interface reduces action and effort on the users part, yet providing them with an experience that’s engaging and useful.
The upcoming trends in mobile app UX will definitely be influenced by AR technology in a big way. With more and more apps using this concept, UX designers will work on customizing the app UX according to AR requirements.
Haptic technology is fast becoming popular and common among smartphones of today’s times. These are subtle sensations that make the usability of the app features more pleasing. Haptic clues are used to communicate with the users when they are using the touch function of the device to take any action like pressing a button or typing on the virtual keyboard. With this technology UX designers can use simple sensations to get the user to take the desired action on the application.
Developers are working on making this technology more advanced to ensure an even smoother UI, going forward. The trend has become a norm in most new apps and it will evolve further in times to come.
Reducing Interstitial Anxiety
With shorter user attention spans, most users go through some anxiety while having taken an action and waiting for the next screen or the result of the action. A slow moving app causes this anxiety to go up and this may cause the user to either abandon the application or uninstall it altogether.
UX designers are constantly working on reducing the interstitial anxiety of the users and this is fast gaining momentum.
Interesting UI design elements are also being used to catch the users’ attention in a short time gap that exists between 2 steps of an application. The user can get hooked to view these elements in the duration and keep them engaged.
The thing to fall for in a mobile app is its UX. It is one of the key drivers of business and users than an app fetches. Technologies like AI, AR, VR and IoT have already started driving UX of a mobile app and as these change, in the times to come, the UX trends will follow suit as well. Faster apps that can help the user understand and use the app easily will remain a trend and this too will be a guiding factor for UX professionals. Finally anything that makes your users stick around, engage with and share your app is always welcome.
About the Author: Abhishek Talreja is working as a Digital Marketing Manager with Enterprise Monkey. He has a keen interest in technology, and small business productivity. Enterprise Monkey helps Small to Medium Enterprises and Not-For-Profits save time & money and increase revenue through automation, optimization & intelligence.