The pandemic of 2020 has made adjustments to the technological progress and now the changes in the mobile app development trends are clearly noticeable. In 2021, the situation with quarantine restrictions is somewhat eased, it can already be anticipated what direction will be relevant at the beginning of 2022 – what the developers should pay attention to and what the users should expect.
One of the latest trends, which is covering the whole world little by little – the development of multi-purpose, multi-tasking apps for smartphones. Each app was previously created to serve a specific purpose – only communication, solely logistics, a certain kind of services, and the like. Even if we focus on a specific field; for instance, healthcare, the programs were made separately for fitness, diets, lifestyle, nutrition, etc.
Software programs of a «super» class are currently gaining popularity. Such a super-app is able to carry out an entire spectrum of diversified tasks by itself. The popularity of multi-purpose apps is attributable to an aspiration to create an environment that would cover all user’s needs as much as possible. For example, what does a person choose – one program that handles 10 various tasks or 10 apps, one for each task? Of course, it’s more convenient to have a multi-functional product at hand. There is this interesting comparison of American apps and a Chinese WeChat:
This trend comes from Asian countries. Examples of the most successful and popular super-apps are as follows.
1. WeChat (combines the features of communication via the messenger, access to social networks, and mobile payments).
2. Gojek – this super-app can help you order some food, deal with logistics, call a transport online, pay for a certain set of services, or use daily services. The app was developed in Indonesia and it’s very successful there.
3. Alipay – a payment service by Alibaba that offers users the possibilities of payment for many services, banking services, and mobile communication. Payment can be made by bank card, transfers from accounts, and by QR code scanning. The latest way is a lot more popular because not everyone has bank cards.
4. Natural.AI – it’s an American app, where you can make purchases, order food, pay bills, etc.
During 2021-2022, the wave of super-apps will be expanded to other countries as well – in particular, many companies in the USA and Russia are already working on the creation of such multi-functional programs. This trend is particularly relevant to means of communications and payments. Mass development of such products will be a real breakthrough in the app industry.
AI is gradually taking over the world by capturing separate spheres of human life. The implementation of artificial intelligence in security systems, data search software, household appliances, and other technologies is already happening. It’s hard to surprise someone with a «smart home» system or a voice search for information on the web these days. These technologies are based exactly on artificial intelligence.
So far, it’s the most promising direction in developing not only mobile apps but also computer programs for home and production equipment. Mass robotization will result in a phone becoming your best friend you can talk to, launch programs with your voice, manage and set the functionality with practically no touching the display.
Voice assistants will be modified too. This direction dates back to 2016 and nowadays the users are offered several promising projects: Google Now, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, and others. However, in general, they can tackle only easy tasks – for instance, find the specified information online or change the phone settings. In the nearest future, it’s planned to create more powerful programs on the basis of artificial intelligence, which would be able to solve complex tasks depending on the political, economic, and social situation in a given country or the world. A new assistant, which the developers are so eager to create, will be able to evaluate whether to invest money in real estate, recommend a specialist to address, where to go at night, which educational establishment to choose for your child, and the like. The main benefits of an expected assistant, which the programmers strive to create by 2022, are the following.
1. Large-scale personalization. The more personalized the assistant is, the more the user gets the impression that it’s working solely in his interest. These assistants will identify a person, who’s talking to it, his identity, personal information, social status, and other indicators to handle the requests as precisely as possible.
2. Emotional state analyzer. Voice assistant at the height of its development is artificial intelligence, which will be able to read the user’s mood and emotional state based on his speech. That will allow recognizing intentions and carrying out tasks better.
3. Interaction with a minimum number of stages. You will be able to get information from the assistant faster and the number of steps, which must be undertaken for that, will be reduced.
Artificial intelligence is the future and active development is being conducted in this field, which doesn’t bypass the creation of mobile apps. So it’s safe to expect that 2022 will present new projects with the use of AI real soon.
Communication with the help of video-link programs during a period of quarantine and self-isolation has become the only possible way of interaction of not only family members and friends but also colleagues, company management, and clients.
Working in the remote mode got us thinking about the quality of existing video-link apps and planning their modernization or creation of brand new technologies. Even though the pandemic is receding little by little and many people start going to work at the office, working at home has almost become a habit – many staff members prefer working in a comfortable apartment and not at a noisy office.
Accordingly, the development of programs for video calls is trending now. This is a highly demanded direction throughout the world. Most likely that these mobile app development trends will continue when the pandemic stops threatening humankind. The more so as the remote mode hasn’t adversely affected the quality of work – figures of many companies have even risen during this rough period.
Therefore, the development of new, more convenient and high-quality video-link technologies has a promising future in 2021-2022. Notably that it’s not only work-related communication, communication with friends, colleagues, or family. Medical services via video link and shopping are starting to grow in popularity. Even in the absence of a direct threat to health, many people will prefer talking to a doctor via video link and not visiting hospitals and standing in lines.
As for the shopping via video link, this is a quite new and unusual direction, which is already being actively developed. This includes online streaming, purchases online, and communication between sellers and buyers by video link.
The use of 3D graphics for mobile apps
3D graphic elements are no surprise as this technology has long been used in various fields of design. The new trend assigns a slightly different role to 3D graphics – not a decorative, but a functional one. The creation of such useful graphics will soon become possible directly through smartphones and tablets while also providing enormous scope for activity and the creation of complex graphic objects.
Nowadays 3D graphics are designed to improve functionality, enhance effectiveness and only in the second place – to please the eyes and attract visually.
From a commercial perspective, 3D graphics will also add benefits because, with the help of this tool, it’s possible to provide a full review of a product from all sides, which is a winning approach in online shopping.
Virtual or augmented reality is getting closer and closer. Whereas now it’s used primarily by the gaming field, science, and healthcare, this promising direction will cover other spheres of human activity shortly. Mobile platforms continue developing apps with the use of augmented reality technology. Many famous companies invest in AR technologies – Apple, for example. The creation and modernization of AR glasses have taken the minds of developers all over the world, so this direction will be developed steadily and actively.
Visualization is always associated with some visual representations, interesting and colorful visual effects. But the purpose of a really useful visualization is not a high decorativeness, but the best way to transfer information flows. With the right approach, even the most boring information can become rich, interactive, and interesting. The most important thing that visualization provides is an emotional response, the development of your own representations in your brain. Visual delivery of data fires the imagination and triggers emotions, which make it possible to recognize, understand, and learn the presented amount of information.
For the time being, the use of visualization helps in education, commercial directions, and many other fields down to healthcare. It helps to understand how the budget is spent, how the complex mechanisms work, how the signals are transmitted over a distance, what is happening with the human body under the affection of various irritators or diseases. Visualization allows explaining complex processes – physical, chemical, economic, mental, biological – in layman’s language of images.
In commerce, visualization is used to work with customers’ needs. Its use allows getting to the target audience better and influencing it in order to sell a certain product. Visual effects have become popular in the world of mobile apps a long time ago – gaming activity, educational, commercial, and other materials cannot do without high-quality visual representation and that is why this is one of the promising directions, which will definitely be used in the development in 2021-2022.
Mass media in the 21st century desperately manipulates the truth and a lot of fakes, which distort the truth, emerge every year. Whereas the user, who is studying information on the news websites, can get suspicious of misinterpretation of facts by mass media, in social networks, false information is more convincing so it subtly makes us believe it. The more so as the users usually have no time to verify the information in the feed. This is how misstatement is taking root and people start to believe it.
To avoid users’ disinformation, many developers of mobile apps and social networks have started to use specially created algorithms that are designed to separate «the wheat from the chaff» – the truth from the fakes. Media platforms develop more and more approaches to hide fake information, which can mislead and result in negative consequences, from their users.
And since more and more situations, which generate a lot of false data, take place all over the world, this direction couldn’t be more relevant and it definitely will continue developing. Twists of coronavirus pandemic have generated millions of fake posts in 2020 that are related to morbidity statistics, mortality statistics, virus spreading and combating.
Optimization of apps to work on different platforms
A promising direction of cross-platform software products is reaching a new level. Developers’ main aspiration is to make mobile apps available for use on computers and vice versa. Prerequisites for the destruction of the boundaries between software for PC and smartphones are already starting to be created – Apple specialists have released a new chip, which will allow the same apps to be launched on both iOS and macOS. Later, there will be more opportunities, the coverage of platforms will be broader, and the optimization will be more promising.
What does it do? Why do developers strive for it so much? Cross-platform apps allow covering a larger audience of users; besides, such multi-tasking will provide the possibility to choose a device to open an app on at any time.
Anonymity and security
Many commercial projects collect certain information about their users. Even though it’s done purely to improve service delivery, information, and targeted advertising, it gives most users cause for concern. It makes them feel constantly monitored and a threat of leakage looms over the private data security. All of that instigates clients’ distrust of the activity of large IT projects, which collect information about the users for their own purposes.
This drives the need to increase private data security, which the leaders of information industries are working on. The Apple company has already introduced a new development to the public. It has a more secure procedure of login and the generation of a random email address, which redirects messages to the personal email. This prevents the email address from finding its way to spammers and people, who send information, which the user isn’t interested in. The Apple company publicly announces what data the app may collect so that their clients are at ease in their minds about their data confidentiality.
As for global app trends 2022related to security, it’s worth noting blockchain – a technology of the future, which is already active in the field of cryptocurrency. Blockchain can fake the information thereby making it more difficult to hack it and preventing leakage. It makes this technology the most advanced from the perspective of data confidentiality. Blockchain is mainly used to hide transactions from prying eyes, but the scope of its activities will only broaden in the future.
Trends of design in the app development
We should also consider such trendy technologies, which refer only to the esthetic side of the issue. The standard of mobile apps is a flat interface, minimalistic representation of information, and briefness in data presentation. However, designers find more and more ways to create an unusual and interesting design. For instance, the inclusion of neumorphic elements, which look like they can be touched:
Neumorphism makes it possible to simulate a 3D world to improve the esthetic qualities of the product. However, this approach complicates the scaling so it’s rarely used in its pure form. Most often, separate pseudo-3D details are added to the flat design. In general, neumorphism works not only for beauty but also for the enhancement of interaction between the program and the user.
Mobile users mainly use two gestures swiping and scrolling. However, we use many gestures in daily life that can become a part of our mobile experience.
Now, the developers will probably add new gestures to the user interface. It will enhance the comfort of use and time spent on interaction because it will ease users. It will become one of the new trends of mobile UX.
What concerns facial gestures, undoubtedly the face recognition function will become more popular with years. Now, it is used for entertainment (animojis and Snapchat lenses) or authentication purposes. Furthermore, this function has much more practical employments. Shortly, there more applications will appear that support user gestures. Replacing touch and swipe gestures with facial gestures will improve UX and change how we interact with mobile apps.
It is not a big surprise that minimalism is in trend on both iOS and Android. Comprehensive reduction is still the priority for designers. Content on the screen is more important than fantastic user interface design.
A minimalistic design combined with a comfortable experience will boost an application to an assertive communication or marketing instrument. This year it will be popular in the mobile design world.
It seems that this year, the material design will keep its high position in the user interface design. Nevertheless, the developers in this sector will encounter some technology integration difficulties. For example, augmented and virtual reality will become the year’s trends, as we mentioned above, and it would be challenging to integrate these technologies. Yet, the material design will keep on developing.
It is hard to admit that this trend is a new one in mobile design, yet it is relevant. Cards are the best way to offer information on screens. It helps to make to organize data on screens of various size. We suppose that mobile designer will use it for at least one more year.
Vivid colors and amazing fonts
Mobile interfaces will become more colorful. Do not hesitate to experiment with shades and color combinations. However, make sure that they fit your content. Typography was underestimated for a long time. The designers were focusing on content and navigation, templates and colors. Now, they will deal with fonts.
Colors for functional experience
The colors will not help to boost the visuals only. They will also enhance the functional experience. By using color schemes. the designers will help the user navigate over the application or split various functions and actions. Furthermore, the designers will use various colors for visual feedback and hints. This will be a still trend in mobile applications.
It is plain that successful applications are interactive. They are leading the market. Interactivity increases the time spent over the application, since the users feel more involvement.
Microinteractions will remain a trend of modern mobile applications. They give visual feedback and create positive user experience for the users.
Mobile application audio
Te application will interact not only through visual means. Audio effects, even those tiny and hardly noticeable, will have a great impact on the user, which will increase the retention rate. We are sure that more attention will be paid to audio for mobile applications.
We will not have any hamburger menus in our applications any longer. Furthermore, we will use a more creative navigation mean called hidden menu. It will appear when you will tap a certain screen side, or after using a special gesture. Chrome already uses the hidden navigation.
All the above-mentioned technologies are already being developed, so their further consolidation and development are planned for 2022. But we shouldn’t forget that technological progress does not stand still and it’s quite possible that whole new technological know-hows may emerge by early next year.
Module scrolling will be a trend for applications with a lot of content. It will help to read discrete columns and rows of information, hence the interface will be more understandable. A second option is endless scrolling. If you use Instagram, then you know what it is.
Parallax scrolling has its benefits. It creates the feeling of dynamics. It will certainly remain one of the trends in 2022.
Mapping of failures
When the designers develop UX, they usually imagine that the users are perfect and will only follow a strict script of actions. But what happens when the user goes off the track? Here we see that we need to map the failures to guarantee good user experience even if the user does not follow the script. The failure display takes into account the non-ideal actions of the user in the application.
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