2017 is nearly over and it's time to consider the future of app design. Apps are being adopted more and more in the workplace and with every success and failure we are starting to notice certain successful trends appearing. These trends have no doubt begun shaping the world of app design and will continue into 2018. In this article I wanted to highlight these trends and explain why they influence the industry in the way they are.
‘Alexa, could you give me the first trend, please.’
In 2018 our thumbs will be able to rest as our vocal chords take over app-use duties. This is thanks to a rise in Voice User Interfaces or VUIs for short. VUIs have already begun to be implemented by big companies, like Apple's Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, and going forward we will see them pop-up more and more. According to a report by Gartner, in 2018 30 percent of our interactions with technology will happen through conversations rather than touching.
Now, it can never be full replacement for GUIs (Graphical user interfaces) as there are some situations where we won’t be able to speak, or the commands required might be too intricate for VUI to handle. But, having the option for both styles of input may soon become an industry standard.
‘If you don’t like it then you can do it yourself.’
Everyone is unique and in the past, this has made it hard to make an app that works for everyone. Some people are more analytical and want to see a lot of data and options on their screen whereas others prefer simple and large buttons that make navigation clean and easy. As the user experience is such a vital part of designing an app it is important to make a UI that anyone can use. Now thanks to significant progress in AI and machine learning it has become possible for full-on customisation of apps based on the user’s personal data. The designers now can hand the tools over to the user and let them personalise the app in a way that speaks to them.
Dealing with a device population crisis
When people think of apps their mind often defaults to smartphone apps and a few years ago this was fine. Things have changed since then and continue to do so thanks to the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Now a person's mobile device isn't their only point of quick access to the internet and the data they want to get. Users aren’t necessarily going to default to a phone anymore and are more likely to use whatever device is most convenient. To keep up with this, app designers will need to focus on Omnichannel UX to bring consistency into this ever-growing device population.
Father Time approved.
Time is possibly the most valuable asset of a person’s daily life. Nobody wants to waste their time and in this increasingly impatient society, more people want apps that can help them achieve their goal as fast as possible. This ties-in with the earlier point about user customisation. Designing your app with time-saving features in mind is key to user satisfaction.
Brave & Bold Colours
Our world is made up of an amazing palette of colours but often in corporate apps we find the same boring black, white and blue every time. This may have been done to look professional but to many, it has been done to death and comes off more as boring and unoriginal. Colour is a massive aspect of design as colours can bring forth specific feelings in the user and help guide them throughout the app. It allows for the communication of meta-information and can be used to distinguish different sections. It also just looks pleasing to the eye and will keep bringing users back. Colour may sound like a simple tool, but it is an incredible one and shouldn’t be understated.
These five industry trends are shaping the app design world and I predict that next year the apps that see the most success will utilise not just one but all of these design choices. They all help to keep retention, improve productivity, provide great user-experience and streamline the process. For anyone jumping into the app design industry, these are the points that need to be at the forefront of the mind for a successful app to be produced.