With over 2 billion people using smartphones today, there’s no doubt that mobile apps have become an integral part of our lives. So, if you’re planning on creating one, here are some trends to keep in mind!
Mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular for everything from business purposes to personal use. But how do you create a successful app? Here are some tips to consider when developing your next app.
Focus on User Experience
A good user interface (UI) will make your app more usable and enjoyable. It should also help users accomplish tasks quickly and easily. To achieve these goals, focus on the following aspects of UI design:
• Make sure your app has a clean layout with minimal distractions.
• Keep navigation simple and intuitive.
• Provide clear instructions and feedback (for example in the form of tutorials, hints, and notifications…)
• Include a search bar so users can find what they need quickly.
Users expect personalized experiences when interacting with companies and brands. They want to feel as though they’re talking directly to a human being rather than just another faceless entity. To achieve this, businesses need to provide unique features and services based on individual user data.
• Allow users to customize the appearance of their profile pages (banners, profile picture, color schemes…)
• Implement dark and light modes (aka day mode/night mode).
• Allow users to change their privacy and notification settings.
The limitations of today are not the limitations of tomorrow. What may seem to be resource or bandwidth-intensive in 2022 probably won’t be in the upcoming years thanks to the fast evolution of technologies.
The timeline from 1G to 5G took around 40 years, while 20 years separated 3G (used by the very first smartphones) from 5G. With major technology improvements taking place every decade or so, and even if the current world market of smartphones isn’t yet fully compatible with 5G, or even if today infrastructures around the world don’t support it yet, if you start developing your app now, by the time your product is released, 5G will be everywhere.
Things to consider regarding 5G and mobile app development:
• 5G will be up to 100x faster than 4G, and as such, will allow accessing super high-quality content (images, videos), which will revolutionize streaming app development or AR and VR app development.
• Latency will reduce from 50 milliseconds (4G) to 1 millisecond, which is great news for applications like online gaming where reactivity is key.
• Transferring data between devices and smartphones will be faster and smoother, allowing better connectivity and the development of IoT (Internet of Things) and wearable devices.
• Mobile payments will be quicker and more secure because of the faster processing of biometric data for identification.
Create Apps That Work Across Devices
If you’re developing a new app, consider how it will work across different devices. This includes phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, smartwatches, and other connected devices.
Make sure your app is compatible with as many different devices, versions, and screen resolutions as possible to reach the widest possible audience. Technologies such as Fluid-Responsive will allow you to achieve your pixel-perfect display goals on all screens.
If you are developing a game or an application that has communication functions, ensure that there is interoperability between the different systems.
Consider Foldable Phones Designs
Foldable phones are probably not a fad and are here to stay.
Even though their market share is now quite limited, mainly due to unaffordable prices for many, as for any innovation, this won’t be the case eternally, and you can rest assured that more and more users will opt for foldable phones, for a different range of reasons: stand out from the crowd, please movie aficionados or gaming enthusiasts, help people with poor vision, boost the productivity of every day or nomad workers with more multitasking…
This will for sure add some complexity to mobile app development, especially when it comes to responsiveness, as you don’t design an app the same way if screen space is suddenly doubled.
Include Social Features
Users love to share content with friends and family.
And when they do, they expect to see those connections reflected in the app itself. That means making sure that your app has social features. These features should help users connect with others, as well as provide them with easy access to the things they care about.
• Include features that allow users to share content.
• Add social media sharing buttons so users can share content directly from within the app.
• Consider adding a “share” button to any screen where users can add text or images to posts.
• Social logins are also a must to facilitate sign-ups and promote integration with social media.
Add Augmented Reality
Another trend that will continue into the next years is augmented reality (AR). AR allows users to interact with real-world objects by overlaying virtual elements onto them. This technology is being used more frequently in gaming, but it’s also being applied to other industries.
Other creative applications of AR include the likes of:
• Home improvement: the Ikea app uses AR to let users see how furniture will look in their home before buying it.
• Fashion: AR is being used to make shopping easier by allowing customers to virtually try on clothes before buying them. This is also the case for trying glasses, with the example of Lenskart.
• Beauty: L’Oreal has a virtual makeup app that allows users to see how the makeup looks on their faces. Other apps allow users to try out different haircuts before making the big jump.
• Navigation: Even though Google Maps and other similar apps have changed the way we travel and navigate considerably, AR can go further with even more precise pathing and indications.
• Learning: Displaying extra information about anything that you see through your screen offers immersion and is a great learning tool.
Implement 360 Payment
This is not a new trend, but it continues to gain ground: mobile payment. More and more, phones are replacing cash and even bank cards for paying everyday expenses.
We know in particular that China has a considerable lead in this area. If in 2013, 125 million Chinese were already using mobile payment applications, in 2021, this number has crossed 900 million!
Reimburse a friend during dinner, make a microtransaction or, on the contrary, make large payments or invest... everything can now be done via your phone, via fundraising applications, banking, or even thanks to QR codes.
That's why integrating payment methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo, Cash App, Google Pay, Square Cash or other electronic wallets into your application can be a good idea!
Secure with Blockchain
Quite close to the previous theme, the blockchain and its use made of it in the field of finance and crypto-currencies intrigues and questions. Above all, remember that the blockchain is an excellent way to secure and track transactions and that in this, this technology supports many others already mentioned above.
If you process sensitive data or perform transactions, integrating blockchain into the development of your mobile application may be relevant.
Even before the Covid pandemic, delivery apps were all the rage, especially when it came to groceries and food/restaurant deliveries, with the explosion of players such as Uber, Grab, and Deliveroo. But with the lockdowns, such apps became absolutely central in our societies!
They were such incredibly safe and convenient solutions for us that even with the reopening of all services, these apps are still going strong, with people now accustomed to their use.
At the same time, the development of drones in the delivery sector offers great simplification prospects for buyers:
• Record delivery time, drones avoiding congested roads and human hazards.
• Revised geographic coverage, with access now theoretically possible to impassable areas.
• Impeccable hygiene, since fully automated, these deliveries are made without human intervention.
• Ecological, to a certain extent. Drones run on electricity, unlike polluting delivery trucks or other 2-wheel couriers.
Therefore, it may be interesting in the development of your next mobile application to ask yourself if it could benefit from rapid and simplified delivery functions.
Don't forget Cyber Security
Mobile phones can now accommodate all the elements of a person's life: their repertoire of knowledge, all their communications disseminated in the many applications dedicated to emails and messaging, their access to their finances, to their online orders, at one's leisure, even to one's identification data and other sensitive data… so that one feels naked and helpless without one's phone.
Hence the absolute importance of offering future users of your mobile application all the security guarantees necessary to ensure its protection as well as that of its data.
The technologies and trends mentioned above, such as AI, 5G, or others, are further strengthening authentication methods and the level of security of mobile applications. This is also obviously the case for voice, facial or digital recognition. As soon as an application is based on key data (and more generally on transactions), it is commonplace to have to deal with reinforced identification systems.
Do not leave this theme aside: safety in the all-digital world is anything but an option! Ensure that your next mobile application has all the necessary security barriers and is resistant to attacks and malicious programs.
This notably involves regular updates of your application.
As mentioned in our previous article on trends in mobile games, dedicated mobile applications – or giving pride of place to gamification – have invaded our lifestyles with an audience increasingly fond of mini-games or digital adventures to be played.
Without necessarily talking about dedicating yourself to the development of mobile games, drawing inspiration from their success and the innovations they put in place is undoubtedly wise.
Many lessons should therefore be learned from the influence of mobile games for the development of your application:
• Friendly, fun, and innovative interfaces
• New business models
• Social functionalities
• Fun and stress-relieving activities
• Sense of accomplishment when facing challenges
• Immersion in a different world environment
It's up to you to think of the many ways to gamify your app to make it even more valuable to your users!
This is a very interesting phenomenon that we are currently seeing in the mobile application market.
As you know, the number of applications available on app stores is virtually infinite, which of course has the advantage of choice and competition between them, but also several disadvantages.
First of all, it can be difficult to make the right choice for the same functionality. For example, you may test several weather apps before finding the one that suits you... the same for playing your music, for your delivery apps, etc...
Then, this infinite number of applications poses a concern for usability, since you have to constantly switch from one application to another.
Finally, and this is the most obvious drawback, a large number of applications overload the interface and the memory of your phone.
So how to solve these problems? It's simple: Create a super-app!
A super-app is a mobile application that brings together a large number of different functionalities. Examples are often those of companies that offer a diverse range of services themselves, such as banks. From now on, when you use a banking application, in addition to traditional functionalities (consult accounts, transfer money, order a bank card), you will be able for example to access gift points (see above gamification), book tickets cinema, take out insurance or a loan, make a medical appointment, buy a plane ticket, a hotel night, manage your mobile plan or pay certain bills, etc.
This is also the case of applications like Grab or Uber which offer a “portal” that is divided into branches: ordering food, deliveries and courier services, and of course, travel. Facebook has followed the same path: first a social network, the application is now used as a marketplace.
Also, if you plan to develop several separate applications, why not consider a superapp if relevant?
The benefits of super-apps are immense:
• Simplify the life of your users (if they are satisfied with one of your services, no need to find another app if you can satisfy another need yourself).
• Reduce space taken up by apps on phones
• Introduce your users to features they never considered
• Project the image of a “global” company that can be trusted
• Pivot when you want: you can easily reinvent your business, offer new services, and test it all on your super-app.
If your company has many partners, this is the perfect opportunity to meet around the table and discuss with them the possibilities offered by super-apps and combine your efforts to offer a coherent and global service to your users.
Leverage AI & Machine Learning
This is probably one of the most impressive and fun aspects of today’s mobile app scene.
FaceApp, which needs no introduction, was one of the pioneers in this field, followed by the fashion for the countless photo and video filters of essential applications such as Snapchat or Instagram.
But changing your appearance or animating photos is just the tip of the iceberg. Now, artificial intelligence and machine learning can revolutionize the following areas:
• Creative arts with assisted painting and drawing software to create amazing & original works
• Translations and voice recognition, with programs capable of recognizing and transcribing conversations into texts or commands.
• Automation of monotonous tasks
• Chatbots, to guide and help users quickly without the intervention of customer service
• Identification and recognition of patterns, allowing an incredible number of applications: identifying animals, plants, mushrooms, works of art, etc., and quickly answering questions using photos taken by the phone.
• Personalization of preferences, with suggestion algorithms to identify the habits of the user and to offer him uses and content adapted to his tastes.
Humanity has entered the era of information, and curiosity for knowledge is a source that is not ready to dry up!
Today, you can literally learn anything on the internet: whether it's solving mathematical calculations for some homework, starting a new career, taking up a hobby, cooking a recipe, or repairing something yourself... humanity is thirsty to learn, and mobile applications designers are not mistaken!
Technology makes it possible to completely renew learning processes, with access to very rich resources such as videos and virtual or augmented realities that make education less theoretical and more concrete.
And even if you are not heading towards the development of an application entirely dedicated to learning, this trend remains relevant. Your users are probably fond of facts and data that can open their minds and educate them (if only to explain how your app works or what it allows you to do). So, if the opportunity arises to educate your audience while using your app, it's probably a good idea to consider!
Connect your app to smart devices & IoT
You must know by now that Dirox is very fond of IoT technologies:
The possibilities offered by the development of connected objects usable by a mobile application are simply endless! What if your next app communicated with your users' homes, cars, or watches? What could you bring them? Or have you thought about making the products you sell smarter?
IoT application development is a great way to explore new features and refresh yourself!
The future promises to be made up of a myriad of smart objects connected to each other! Don't wait until the last moment to join the adventure!
Even if the release of the first smartphones now seems to be a distant memory, and their uses seem to have changed little, it is simply because you have only scratched the surface of everything that is still possible to develop in the future.
Indeed, as we have seen, countless innovations and trends continually support and renew the use of mobile applications.
Contact Dirox now to think about the design of tomorrow’s mobile apps!
Started in 2003 in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, our Development Company operates on a Global Scale in Asia, Europe, and America. Dirox’s team of technology consultants, business gurus, software & apps coders, and design visionaries bring you innovative solutions on time, on budget, and on quality. We strive to bring you the best IT outsourcing & offshore services.