Smartphones appeared merely a decade ago but reached an incredible development level. Mobile applications continuously change, develop, and improve following user needs; so to keep in step with the times it is crucial to be aware of all innovations, trends, and tendencies in the sphere. Andersen’s team made a research on the mobile app trends and presents full information about the mobile applications in today’s world.
Popular types of applications
Should we analyze all popular apps with millions of downloads, we can clearly distinguish the most demanded types of mobile applications. The first place goes to dating applications. Let’s face the truth, almost each of us has ever used Tinder or any other app of this kind, this is what makes such apps so popular and this is why online dating can be perspective. With the help of these applications searching for a partner became easier – there are thousands of dating apps that fill the void with communication, flirting, and relationships.
Next, we should mention social media applications, both social networks (eg. MySpace and Facebook) and photo sharing (like Instagram or Pinterest). Social media unify all people around the world. Usage of social media gives you the opportunity to keep in touch with your friends, family, schoolmates, and colleagues no matter where they live; to enlarge your circle of contacts with people who share the same interests as well as to join various interest communities; stay informed, share impressions, photos, videos, music, and any other information you wish. All these features provided by social media made them popular among internet users, which, in turn, led to the increase of corresponding apps. With most of the features that social websites have, social apps are more convenient, as they are always available on the phone.
In recent times messengers (like Whatsapp, Viber or Telegram) get progressively more popular. If social media are equipped with such features as micro-blogs and social communities, the messengers are simply about sending messages and making calls. Messengers are usually free, don’t take much storage on a device, and are aimed at communication only, which makes them less time-consuming. All these reasons explain the popularity of messengers. By the way, Facebook created its own messenger application – Facebook Messenger, and both apps are popular. Who knows, maybe Facebook started a new trend and the development of messengers for the existing social media is going to transform into a tendency.
Game apps also remain demanded. App Store and Play Market suggest millions of different games. Each day mobile games are becoming more and more interesting due to Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and, certainly, game makers’ creativity. Nowadays the popularity of mobile games is increasing together with their number. The most popular types of games for smartphones are so-called ‘time killers’. Maybe the games like 2048, Angry Birds, Doodle Jump or Fruit Ninja are pretty simple and can’t boast of an exciting plot, they are still perfectly fine for commuting or sitting in a boring meeting.
This year is marked with the increase of on-demand applications which offer an opportunity to order numerous services – cleaning, calling a taxi, delivering food, etc. Availability of necessary services, ease of use, and a possibility to process online payments make such applications ‘must-haves’ for users and ‘must-dos’ for on-demand businesses.
One of the most impressive technologies nowadays is IoT (Internet of Things), which allows us to program things the way we need. A simple example – you can order your smart coffee machine to make a cup of coffee every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. How to do that? Download a special mobile application, bound it to the coffee machine, and enjoy its performance. Such technology is so convenient, that it extends to every sphere of our life. As the IoT presupposes the control of things with smartphones, there is a demand for mobile applications, which should be both IoT- and user-friendly. Of course, opportunities of the IoT are vast but in our research on mobile trends, we reviewed only this particular aspect. We believe it to be very an interesting, useful and simply awesome trend.
It’s plain to see that all these types of applications are mobile analogues of corresponding websites and programs. The tendency of creating such apps is explained by their convenience: a smartphone is a thing you always keep with you, so mobile applications can be used at any time and in any place. That way, making a mobile application results to be profitable and is a good solution for your business.
Mobile application trends
Having done an investigation in the sphere of developing a mobile app, we gathered the most remarkable trends. They are Accelerated mobile pages, M-commerce (Mobile Commerce), light version of larger apps, Instant Apps, Cloud technologies, app security, blockchain, AI and Chatbots, mobile blockchain, and of course Augmented and Virtual realities.
The project of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) was presented by Google and Twitter in 2015, and since then pages (even on heavy websites) on mobile devices load much faster. Accelerated pages are characterized by the full absence of widgets, advertisements, blocks of recommended content, and other auxiliary elements, i.e. only the main content is shown. The implementation of this project brought a lot of other benefits, such as an increase in a number of visitors, a better conversion rate, increased visibility of the advertisement, lower bounce rates, higher click-through rate, etc. Besides, Google promises to provide an isolated mobile search box.
Internet-banking is being gradually replaced by M-Commerce, which appeared after the introduction of Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. This new method of online-shopping payment is acknowledged as more secure and convenient for users. Also, M-commerce helps organizations gather data and analyze their clients.
For the sake of saving the internal mobile phone storage, there is a tendency to develop light versions of existing larger apps, such as Facebook Lite or Play Lite for YouTube. Light applications have less functionality than the original ones, but they are perfect for old and slow devices. Such apps not only take less storage but are also energy-saving.
So-called Instant Apps presented by Google are helpful to save storage too. The concept of Instant Apps is all about trying applications on a special platform without downloading it. So if you want to test an application, all you need is to find it in Play Market, press ‘try’, and the application will be launched in the online mode, so that you can see how it works. Users can estimate the work of the application and then decide whether it is worth downloading.
Cloud technologies became necessary for mobile development. Cloud-driven applications (like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive) allow users to storage big data on the cloud instead of the internal mobile device’s storage. Moreover, this technology ensures faster work of the application, its higher productivity and security, which are the key requirements for applications today.
Speaking about security in general, it is the most important aspect in the app development. As smartphones keep a huge amount of personal data, developers focus more on application security and put in place important steps to improve it. The necessary level of security depends on the type of an application: the more data it includes, the more secure it should be. One of the ways to achieve strong security of applications and data is to use blockchain in the process of development. Many people associate it with cryptocurrencies only, but it’s not the case. In fact, blockchain is a development approach, which ensures higher security. Being a technology of high security, blockchain is used in mobile applications, especially if data protection is required, like financial ones.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a genuine breakthrough in the area of technology and nowadays it is integrated into many mobile applications. AI learns user’s preferences or needs and then provide them with useful information or recommendations. Artificial Intelligence regulates the work of Chatbots – a program which acts as a virtual dialogue partner. In practice, Chatbots communicate with a user and provide them with the information they need. Both of these mobile trends are useful for business owners helping them to gather more information about their clients and save money.
The last technologies that worth being mentioned here are AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). AR and VR were used mainly in games but now the sphere of their implementation is broadening. These technologies are also used in trade, healthcare, realty, and other business areas. For example, with the help of VR, Ikea suggests its clients exploring their future kitchen; and in healthcare, it is widely used to cure various phobias: a patient is located in a virtual calm environment and then faces its psychological problem.
Trends in mobile application design
Speaking about mobile applications we can’t help mentioning the importance of design. The half of the application success depends on the right and user-friendly interface. Now let’s see what the trends in mobile design are.
First of all, a user-friendly interface is all about simplicity. Here we deal with two notions: a user interface (or UI) which means the space for interaction between a user and a computer, and a user experience (UX) which reflects how a user feels about using a program: is it understandable, convenient, etc. A sophisticated and overloaded interface is not what a user wants. The best approach to the UI is minimalism: nothing in excess, only basic buttons and icons that are easy to understand. Ideally, an interface should be well-structured and self-explanatory. In order to create such an interface, it is necessary to hire a specialist in user experience (or a UX-specialist). A UX-specialist explores user needs, analyzes them and builds the structure of the UI which is clear for everyone.
A good example of a simple design can be the Card UI design, suggested by Material Design in 2017. Thanks to its simplicity and structuredness, the Card UI became popular and was adopted by many applications.
To make an interface more attractive, it is necessary to pay attention to colours. There is a tendency to design an interface with bright vivid colours instead of fifty shades of grey. Also, gradients are always welcome. But be careful with that: too many acid colours tire eyes quickly. The same goes for animation: smooth animation is more acceptable than abrupt movements of pictures. There is no way of forgetting about text features. Such things as a graceful font, sizable headlines, large space between lines, and laconism make the content of applications easy to read.
The mobile applications are popular as never before and become fascinating with each year. According to our forecasts, the demand for mobile apps will increase. As we mentioned above, a successful business requires both website and mobile application. In fact, the application plays its role in business promotion. It brings such benefits as client loyalty, sales increase, customer engagement, and many others. All these make the creation of the mobile apps not only an exciting experience but also a lucrative business. So if you really want your enterprise to flourish, you need your own business application for sure.