32 latest mobile app trends 2017 that will change the way you do business

Jan 4, 2017 · 13 min read

32 mobile app trends 2017 curated from top mobile app, UI, UX experts across the web to bring you the best information (with a bonus infographic resource inside). Enjoy!

  1. IoT + Wearables Apps

Internet of Things and Wearables are not going away anywhere. From healthcare to education and smart homes to smart offices, IoT apps will gradually start getting mainstream in 2017. Though it might take some more time for IoT to take off, it is here to stay. Apple watch apps are already booming and will continue to see the light of the day. Moreover, Google has also released Android Things to increase IoT adoption. As we see an increase in demand for connected things, apps will be required for smart devices besides smart phones and developers will have to keep innovating to meet diverse needs.

2. Mobile Payments

Mobile commerce apps will continue to gather momentum in 2017 despite security remaining a concern. However, both Apple and Google, are committed to making security their top most priority in 2017. The m-commerce forecasts for 2017 are expected to be around $157 billion and will surpass $300 billion in 2020. [Source: emarketer]

3. On-Demand Apps

Just like Uber, there seems to be an upward trend for other on-demand services like laundry, haircuts, parking, takeaways etc. The on-demand economy will thrive in 2017 and so will the apps.

4. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Apps

No matter how gimmicky these apps are, AR and VR apps will slowly invade more of our lives besides gaming. Real estate, fashion, retail etc. will see more AR apps being developed to woo customers. The demand for immersive experiences across many industries will see a jump.

5. Enterprise apps and BYOD

One of the mobile app trends 2017 you must not ignore.

As more organizations embrace the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ model, we are going to see an upsurge in demand for hybrid enterprise apps. 72% of organizations have already started investing in some or the other way into BYOD for employees. Also, in 2017 more than half of the world’s employers will require BYOD. [Source: Crowd Research Partners Study]

Hybrid apps are known to run in the app form but are essentially mobile websites. These help lower down the cost and quicken the mobile app development process.

6. Accessibility/Adaptability

Your app can now be viewed by an 8 year old kid or even an octogenarian. And, therefore you can’t ignore accessibility and adaptability of your app. Depending on the audience type and kind, you will have to accordingly decide on what navigation, font sizes, spacing, colors etc to use.

7. Cloud based apps

Cloud technologies will be used more to develop apps that require integration with IoT, wearables, artificial intelligence etc. Time and again there is always a need to develop apps that need a lot of storage for seamless functioning. In such scenarios, developing cloud based apps are inevitable. Moreover, with cloud support, apps can function securely across multiple devices.

8. Big Data

Tracking user activities within apps on multiple devices is essential to understanding behavior because it helps you take critical business decisions. More apps will incline towards big data integration for detailed analysis of user data.

9. Focus on UX Failure Mapping

“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” — Ellen DeGeneres

Mapping out user flows and journeys are the crux of user experience design process. However, the thing is these are bent more towards an ideal user. What about the non-ideal user? What about a non-ideal scenario?

In 2017, more than 50% of the global population will be online.

What does this imply? There will be different kinds of users have access to your products. It means there will be kids, elderly, millennials and a whole lot of diverse audience. Mapping out the path that showcases how a failure can occur helps you create UX that offers optimal experience even in non-ideal scenarios.

Check out this interesting article — http://insidetheelevator.com/failure-mapping-ux-design/

10. Rise of citizen developers

Who says only those who know to write codes can build an app? With the jump in drag & drop app builders, we will see more people venture into developing mobile apps without writing a single line of code. Citizen Developers are the new kids on the block and you must keep an eye on them. These cool guys have no professional degree/training in computer science or software programming and yet they are getting into engineering high-impact, mobile apps of all nature, even enterprise ones.

The citizen developers will help you save cost and time by allowing you to keep your experienced developers for complicated projects while they take care of simpler ones. Read more about this here.

11. App Security

Apple has already made it clear during the Worldwide Developer Conference that it will be mandatory for apps to have the ‘App Transport Security’ feature by January 1, 2017.

“This is going to provide a great deal of real security for our users and the communications that your apps have over the network.” — Ivan Krstic, Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture.

ATS is enabled by default in iOS 9 and developers will have to implement this feature in apps they are submitting to the store. Gravitating towards more security will be crucial, particularly, when we talk about mobile payments, banking accounts, emails etc. So, this will be a huge step towards security in 2017.

12. Prototyping Tools

We have already seen a huge rise in prototyping and interaction design this year. Designers and developers are gearing to use more prototyping tools to help have a better understanding and visualization of a how a user interface will look and feel like. There are more than 30 prototyping and wireframing tools available. Check out prototypingtools.co for more info.

13. The official farewell of the hamburger menu

Image Courtesy: Justinmind

This app ui trend 2017 you thought was staying but will quickly vanish.

There’s been some debate going around for over 2 years now on the burger menu. Many of might us still love the hamburger menu, but it certainly has its fair share of cons. Back in 2014, Anthony Rose (CTO of Zeebox, now, Beamly) wrote an article for The Next Web in which he clearly explains how his app’s user engagement fell by almost 50% because of this.

Spotify did away with the hamburger menu and immediately reported a 30% increase in navigation clicks. Read the TechCrunch for more details.

14. Data driven UI/UX design

The focus will, undoubtedly, turn towards more of usability than aesthetics. When it comes to conversion design, testing and getting data inferences is important. And, we will see more of this in mobile app design trends 2017.

This post by Stephanie Van Baaijen, an independent UX designer from Amsterdam, very clearly points out why UX designers should embrace data.

15. Focus on building habit forming apps

Failure rate is too high amongst apps. However, there are app founders who are focused on building apps applying habit forming technologies. There are apps which have already seen great results using this technique and more will follow this in 2017 and beyond.

16. Progressive apps

Looking at the rate at which mobiles are being adopted by people(casual surfers and potential prospects, both), every brand is trying hard to be there, shining bright, topped up elegantly, for all screen sizes. Considering the kind of investments that have to be made separately into native applications, it is obvious, most would dig a finger to check the depth of their pockets.

Progressive apps are the sweetest way out. Have a website that looks and functions like an application. Cool, yeah? Cool for your business and for people like me, who would possibly never bother to find out, whether what I am browsing is a website or an application, unless I am not being bugged by a specific browsing problem.

17. Machine learning, AI and chat bots

Customised, conversational commerce, chatting up with online shoppers is the best that could ever happen to any business. Ever thought about tapping the potential of an estimated 1.81 billion mobile phone messenger app users? An obvious realisation, businesses can get miles closer to their customers’ hearts using conversational commerce.

Apps are increasingly learning about their users’ preferences. Sounds intelligent, but it is actually way more than that. It is something about playing with their heartstrings. It is about emotional quotients of applications, being upgraded by sheer bot observation! Wow! That was mesmerizing.

And that’s how Uber has done it on Facebook messenger:

Google Translate has also started using Machine Learning to offer more fluent translations. The Carat App for Android is another such example. It uses machine learning algorithms to recommend actions that you can take to save your battery life.

Image Courtesy: CNET

18. Push notifications

A lot of people do a lot of searching on a lot of stuff throughout the day. Chances are, by the end of the day, 80% of that data slips out of their minds. That does not mean, such data has to slip out of your mind too! They made a search because they needed the thing.

Push notifications do that for you. They keep your prospects informed about anything that they were interested in, a while back.

This basically solves two different purposes — they keep a door open for a prospective action, on your side, they help develop loyalty like nothing else, on your prospects’ side.

See how Gilt did it perfectly. Right there on the screen, right what they need to know. Waze is another app that sends real-time traffic and road condition updates based on users’ contextual inputs.

19. Material Design

This is one of the biggest mobile app design trends 2017 to look out for.

We know about Google Material Design by now, don’t we? Well, update is, it’s no more simple flat. It’s beautiful and cunning at the same time. Material design is here to stay strong and will only increase its influence in the year to arrive. (Albeit, it was slow in its adoption into Android)

20. Android first

79% of mobile developers prefer to build for Android rather than iOS. With improvements in developer guidelines, publishing restrictions, improved OS and an unwavering focus on security, Android is already becoming a priority for many vendors too.

With smartphone sales growing, emerging markets like Latin American countries and India continue to boost Android’s market share. Come 2020, and you will see Google Play surpassing App Store in terms of downloads & revenues.

So, now if you have to build an app, it has to be Android first.

21. App integrations

Uber added TomTom navigation data to its driver app. On-demand food service delivery apps like Zomato have integration with mobile payment apps like Paytm and we will see this trend rising in 2017. Such integrations offer convenience and are hassle for end-users.

22. Beacon/Location based services

The use of beacons, NFC and GPS for mobile apps will go northwards. Brands have already started installing beacons within their stores to send push notifications (targeted messages) to their target audience. Also, location-based services apps will see more takers. These are another type of apps wherein you define a geographical area and send push notifications to people who have downloaded your app.

23. Lazy loading

This is one of the interesting mobile app development trends 2017 to watch out for.

The logic behind lazy loading is quite simple — let it load before it runs and let it load when its turn of the screen arrives(specifically pertaining to images). Lazy loading has saved bandwidth for visitors and businesses, equally, both literally and figuratively. This trend will stay and possibly undergo a little more meandering of functionality, here and there.

Medium has implemented this feature. When you click open a post for the first time, images in the post do not load completely unless you scroll down past the image. However, from the very next time if you open the bookmarked post, the images no more take time to load.

24. Blur backgrounds

Not exactly blurred, but diffused backgrounds. They have been trending since the earls of 2015. What makes them so amicable? While they are not as flashy as flash, they are still some effect that catches eyes. Best part, buttons are still clearly visible while images and text backgrounds get diffused.

Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/blur-GgM401tdImrmg

25. Color + Typography

Considering the difference between mobile and desktop screens, in context with their size and angle formed with eye, typography and colour schemes used for mobile screens have to be different from what is used for larger screen sizes.

Clarity is the key here.

Users have the habit of thumb scroll down on mobiles, and that happens quicker than scrolling with a mouse. So basically, they skim. Typography used for mobile apps have to be such that the most important information has to get registered the quickest.

Calls for larger font size and more careful font colour combinations. Have a look at this one:

26. Navigation

Hamburger is quickly dying because of its hiding frenzy. We adults are not much of a fan of hide and seek, definitely not when we are frantically wanting to make a profile change in our Youtube account. That’s the reason, Youtube did something awesome — used plain icons, that are pretty much self explanatory.

Toggles will be better accepted and icons along with action texts will rule the year hence.

27. Movements — Animations + Videos

Anything that moves, catches eyes. While video and animation have been diagnosed to be culprits of heavy site loading and unnecessary distraction, they still remain a prime way to highlight something that you want to stand out. Products, freebies, a coupon that needs to be noticed, category that arrived new, anything. Don’t get the movement made really vigorous, it might just turn off people. Keep it subtle, simple, yet noticeable.

This weather app has done it fantastically

Source: http://1stwdcdn-31d9.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/weather-rebound.gif

28. Designing for bigger phones

Heard about phablets? Well, prepare yourself to a lot of them ntering the market in 2017. Bigger screen sizes are trending. Along with them, will evolve a lot of factors of mobile UX, that will set new rules for designers. Designing for larger screens requires tweaking in the regular sizes of buttons, utilising a larger space with typography, a different dispersion on information and a lot of other stuff.

Image source: www.uxmatters.com

Look at the screen above. This is an important cue for designers to utilize, while designing for larger screens.

29. Gestures

Gestures are the actions triggers and action points that are defined while designing UI of any screen. There are a number of them — touch, double touch, drag, swipe, pinch in, pinch out, hold and drag, touch and drag, a lot of them. All of them are counted under gestures. And all of them will be trending all the way across 2017. Keep your eyes peeled off for this mobile design trend in 2017.

30. Micro-mini interactions

So much for the quick obligation need, users do not have the time or more importantly, the patience to wait until the action that they initiated, brings them to the desired result. That’s exactly what micro-mini interactions do.

They give trigger points to users, and when they use the trigger, they are immediately led to the result on the same screen.

Chase Buckley, a well-know UX Designer, very simply explains micro mini interactions as follows in his article -

Microinteraction: Pairing two devices together using bluetooth.
Micro-Mini Interaction: Toggling the bluetooth setting on.

Microinteraction: Controlling an ongoing process such as music volume.
Micro-Mini Interaction: Swiping the volume incrementally to the right.

Microinteraction: Connecting with someone on LinkedIn.
Micro-Mini Interaction: Tapping the ‘Connect’ button on a user’s profile.

31. Design Automation

Articifical intelligence will be introduced in building mobile apps and websites. For websites, we already have grid.io and firedrop.ai. We will see a similar mobile app development trend in 2017 when AI will help us automate the entire design process. While this may seem a far-fetched idea, automation has already started happening. For instance, Zeplin, Figma and Subform are already allowing UX designers to automate parts of a design process.

32. Card layouts and swipes

Card based interfaces are dominating the mobile app design trend 2017 and will continue to do so in 2017. Since swipe is the most natural interaction type for card based layouts, we will see this to rising. Trello, Pinterest, the AirDrop function in Apple, etc. are well-known examples.

This ebook by UXPin nicely explains about such Mobile UI Trends 2016 https://www.uxpin.com/studio/ebooks/mobile-ui-ux-design-trends-2015-2016/

This infographic from Andrew Gazdecki, the CEO and Founder of Bizness Apps nicely sums it up.

Wrap Up

In 2017, we hope to see a lot of interesting stuff happening on the digital. Phablets will rule and a lot of really popular stuff will go obsolete. Well, that’s the beauty of technology, isn’t it?

Listed above are the most widely predicted mobile app trends that we expect in 2017. Who knows, we might be surprised as well!

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