All the Best UX Design Trends for Mobile Apps in 2021 | Hacker Noon

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@anaAna

Head of PR at Flatlogic Templates (flatlogic.com)

Today, design development doesn’t begin with a designer drawing good-looking and elegant buttons and fields on the website. It all starts with an understanding of how the user will navigate step by step through your application to achieve THEIR goals. 

So it doesn’t matter how many features your app has, how talented are the developers of the app, and what a well-known designer worked on the design. The cornerstone is how fast and easy your app helps to achieve users’ purposes and how clear it is shown that the app can meet the needs of users. 

“The best products don’t focus on features, they focus on clarity.”
— Jon Bolt

So, stay focused on clarity and simplicity, but: UX today is not only about usability – it becomes more and more connected with other aspects of user experience, such as fun, pleasure, perception. We also want to highlight new attributes that provide good UX:

  • Simplicity – One of the key attributes and one of the oldest requirements for good UX. Is the experience as simple as possible tailored to user needs?
  • Affordance – Is the app navigation map simple, logical, and easily determined at a glance?
  • Feedback – Apps become more complicated and multifunctional. So is it clear what is happening/ what has happened? 
  • Reversibility – How easily a user can reverse actions and how does the app recover from errors?
  • Accessibility – Does the application provides functionality that can be used by all intended users on any device or environment conditions?

Animation: How to use it in design in 2021

Animate All the Things! (Just Kidding;)

Do not animate for the sake of animation. Use animation only to make the interaction between the app and users more clear.

Using animation is a kinda provoking topic since there is a big group of designers who find animation an overkill that overloads the user interface and makes the user experience worse. But it must be admitted: people love animation. One of the reasons for it is the fact that moving objects attract people’s attention. Another and more important reason is that animation provides people with quite familiar experiences like they are interacting with objects in real life: you take an action and get the response. 

Thanks to that, animation can solve such tasks as feedback from the app that the action is done, saving the space in the app with a multifunctional button, understanding that the action is in progress, creating an organized space with structured and dynamic blocks of information.

Here are some great UX animation examples:

Feedback from the app that the action is done

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Multifunctional button

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Progress indicator #1

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Progress indicator #2

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Progress indicator #3

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Creating an organized space with structured and dynamic blocks of information

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You can also find an increased use of animation for companies’ logos. This is not just an attempt to stand out between competitors but an additional opportunity to establish an association of what your company is about within a short time fray of logo animation.

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We didn’t cover the full list of animation options, but this is not the topic of the article. We want to convey the message that despite the existence of people who consider animation a redundancy, it enriches an app with great functionality, compact interface, and great user experience.

Data-Driven Design

It is normal now when the design is based not just on the designer vision, but on quantitative analysis. By implementing machine learning principles, deep analytics, and a psychological approach to user research, designers might reach a new level of interaction with users.

The «data-driven» concept implies surveys with questions, A/B testing, app analysis, behavioral research, and other tools and techniques that you can find on the internet. 

This concept might often be encountered in website developers, where there is a lot of analytical tools to study visitors’ behavior, but this approach is useful for other products either. It gives you a comprehensive insight into users’ interaction with the app, what are areas of the most engagement, what information users look for, and what functionality they need. 

Although qualitative analysis for the design development process will never be replaced completely, we believe that the trend of increasing interest in quantitative data-driven analysis will remain for some years. 

More of 2021’s Biggest UX Design Trends

The role of UX is growing. That is, to make the user interface convenient and easy to understand, the scenarios (navigation) should be consistent and simple. Besides, designers use a lot of tools like fonts, vibrant colors, and gradients for altering users’ perception. These elements are traditionally seen as UI components, not UX. But we see that in the era of an in-depth study of users’ behavior, even the color of a button affects conversion on websites and user final perception. 

Super Easy Navigation

We live in an era when life is accelerating at an unprecedented rate throughout the world. Time has the price, and people count it. That means that the modern interface should be simple and clear so even a cursory glance provides insight into what this app is and how it is supposed to solve your tasks. This also applies to the navigation – the user needs to understand what he is doing, what he needs to do next, and what is the result of the scenario. 

It means that there is no place for useless, going nowhere and for nothing buttons, clickers, blocks, and other UI elements. Every element has its value for users. Look at Google’s home page — it has one input field and 5 buttons (try to find all)! Modern smartphones have mostly only one button for navigation that performs several functions. And designers may use animation to create an extra simple navigation system.

The simplification of navigation and app-user interaction is supposed to develop further and further not only in 2019. We expect big changes in the way apps communicate with users not by navigation panel, but via voice UI. There are several existing voice apps like Alexa and Siri, but they don’t offer you great and stunning functionality. However, according to Allied Market Research, the smart speaker market is estimated to $23.32 billion by 2025 with more than a 5x increase from 2017. What should we expect? Look at Jarvis, a voice assistant of Tony Stark from Marvel studio – this may become the future of the smart speaker industry.

Vibrant Colors and Gradients

Until the late 2000s gradient was used for attracting attention, now it comes back to enhance flat design bringing depth and dimension to the interface.

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The sphere of gradients is further developed with vibrant color palettes. Depending on the colors used in the design you can set the mood for your app and change people’s perception of the interface. Use bold colors to create an energetic feel, soft colors to create the perception of trust, pastel colors for a calming and serene experience.

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It matters what colors you choose. They have to be aligned with the emotional response you want to evoke in your audience, and furthermore, you need to know your audience to predict its response to the design you choose – so pay attention, please!

New Old Typography

Typography has an alike effect on user perception as colors. Typography speaks louder than words – this statement has more than 5 million results from Google search, so it can be true. But is typography really matters? 

Well, despite the increasing emphasis on alternative ways to communicate with users such as animation and voice UI, the text has remained the main method to convey the key idea of the app and motivate users to take action. The time when the text was displayed in a straight line, in the same size and font passed a long time ago. Now it’s time when typography comes first, the text follows.

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The main purpose of typography is to highlight ideas in the app that are of the most priority. Allow users to grab the key points as easily as possible and make their experience memorable, customize where it needs, and use simple fonts without excesses if you want to make your message clear.

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Be specific about what message you want to convey, why you want to convey it, and how you expect people to remember your message. The typography is not a new trend and since users have seen very aggressive and creative experiments with text presenting this field has become a combination of science and art.

Personalization

«Make your clients feel special» – this is the driving force of personalization. It starts with recognizing first-time visitors with words of welcome, giving special attention to returned users, saving personal preferences, serving up location-relevant content, and much more. The internet is not a private thing and incognito mode from chrome doesn’t save you.

A small personal profile of a user is internet cookies, that store information about user activity on websites. Almost all websites gather cookies and ask your permission to do that on the first visit to the site. They save information about your locations, products you were interested in, personally identifiable information like name, home address, telephone number, etc. This allows the site to show you the information that fits your needs.

But personalization doesn’t end here. Spotify and Yandex music suggest songs that you may like. How do they do that? Data analytics, deep learning, and AI — this is all about providing a data-driven experience. Starbucks uses smart personalization with the «Featured» tab where the app picks what you may want based on your previously ordered items, thus users don’t need to browse the full menu to find something new they may like.

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To Cut a Long Story Short… Let’s Skip the Long Conclusion!

Did you get the message from this article? This is it: Convey clear messages to your users and highlight ideas that you want to be heard.

Thank you for reading!

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