Every year we watch mobile UX and UI go through several new advancements and every year we are taught something new about the best features that should be applied to mobile design. 2015 was no different. This article looks into to some of the key lessons we learnt in 2015 about mobile UX and how these trends will continue to develop into 2016.
Flat Design: Flat design was one shift in mobile UX that gave apps and the mobile web a clean, crisp and simple structure in the interface, in turn improving the user experience. Flat design is done well when a user can find the features they are looking for with ease and interact with buttons on the app or mobile web naturally with their thumb. A great example of flat design is the Google Inbox app, which combines compelling visual features into a flat design. Development of this refined yet simple approach will continue into 2016.
Layered Interface: In addition to flat design, developers began considering a layered approach to their design offering smartphone users more of a 3D experience. Implementing this multilayer makes for an amazing user experience and involves using active widgets in the front and non-active widgets in the background. We will watch the depth of design become increasingly more complex in 2016.
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Social Media Login: One of the challenges mobile developers faced in 2016 was logging users into various apps and mobile websites without the hassle of completing a login form. In stepped the social media login feature. With this, all users have to do is simply click on the social media channel of choice (Facebook, Twitter etc) and the information that is required is transferred instantly to the new app account. This type of feature, one which removes steps for users and makes a process seamless, is vital to the smartphone user and 2016 will see many more instances where processes are improved with user experience in mind. Just think of the touch pad options for Amazon and iTunes.
A Thumb Focus: 2015 saw thumb-focused interaction grow increasingly more important as users continued to interact with their mobiles using one hand only and Google began judging mobile usability as a part of its search results. Developers were required to code apps in a way that allows users to select certain buttons on the app easily without the links and buttons being too close together. This use of gestures to control certain actions on smartphones will continue to rise in 2016 with developers experimenting with new ways that users can interact with their phones in a touch-freeway. One example of this is Apple’s 3D touch technology, where the app reacts to different pressures.
Location, Location, Location: In 2015, location-based technology began to be used to advertise to users in a close region and as this process becomes more refined, as will the user experience. Beacon tech is already being implemented across hotel, shopping malls and airports and users can receive a notification on their smartphone with an offer just for passing a shop. As this form of marketing becomes more precise, so will the UX experience, user engagement and the conversion rate for the brand.
Homescreen Features: More recently Android phones have began to offer some really nifty homescreen app designs that show your battery life, calendar and other important daily notifications. Apple phones still have the standard app buttons with no interactive features on the home screen. 2016 will see how these additional features appeal to the wider audience - will Apple decide to offer similar features to stay up to speed with mounting competition from other Android devices?
What ways do you think mobile UX will develop in 2016? Share your thoughts with us over on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.