Guest Contributor

By Cristy Watts

When it comes to designing apps or websites, there’s nothing more important than its user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

Indeed, a study from Forrester Research notes a well-designed UI can raise a website’s conversion rate by up to 200%, while a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400%. Similar metrics have been recorded for apps. Moreover, separate research by CleverTap informs that the average mobile app loses 77% of its active users within three days of installation. To prevent this from happening, apps need to engage people from day one. An effective UX/UI design is a big part of that. Developers can do this by avoiding some of the common design problems, such as random access requests, unnecessary icon labels, and long home pages. But more than that, it also helps to understand what solutions are working now.

From high quality renders to modern typography, here are some UX/UI design trends you need to take note of to create the best app possible.

Custom Characters

One of the biggest don’ts of mobile design is using too many heavy-script objects like animations. It slows down performance. Sometimes, an app may even run into trouble working on older devices because the processor is simply too dated to handle it.

Source: Yalantis

Custom characters can make the app seem more dynamic in the absence of animation. PoGo’s travel app is a very good example of this. The app's goal is to guide new travelers around unfamiliar spots, using PoGo the Monkey—a 2D still character—to guide them around.

Buttonless Buttons

Newer apps are freeing up screens by dropping unnecessary buttons, allowing brands to have more space on which to present information. A buttonless design replaces digital buttons with gestures (like a swipe or a flick), which puts the content at the center of the user’s attention. Here’s an example from the learning app MasterClass.

This type of UI design may prove beneficial to apps with a lot of graphics content like tutorials and cartography apps.

Helvetica Now Typography

Whether it’s UI design for web or app, Helvetica has always been a font staple, according to professionals at We and the Color. It’s everyone’s favorite clean, simple, and easy-to-read design. However, these designers also note that it has become overused, even “boring.” Fortunately, font developer Monotype recently revamped this old standby into something more contemporary—Helvetica Now. Unlike the traditional Helvetica, Now offers Micro, Text, and Display sizes, each of which can be tailored to specific environments.

Voice Integrated Apps

According to Entrepreneur, there is plenty of evidence that highlights the importance of voice integration in mobile apps. For example, over 60% of mobile users use voice search. Nearly 30% of Americans use voice integrated software to make their mobile purchases. Voice integration is the next step for any app looking to improve it’s UX. Big companies like Amazon, Kohl’s, and Spotify are leading the innovation on this front

Biometrics Log-in

Your app shouldn’t be relying on passwords anymore: it’s time-consuming for the user and has huge security loopholes. Modern mobile devices have embedded themselves with fingerprint scanners and face-reading technology that your app can utilize to make logging in easier and safer.

Learn the foundations of effective app design

To create the ideal app design, professionals often study a specialized degree to build their visual storytelling skills and expertise. To emphasize this point, Jonathan Fahnestock, director of the digital media degree at Maryville University, describes how developing foundational skills in app development can help students become creative leaders across various industries. And one way those who study digital media are taught to elevate their designs is by incorporating the study of psychology into their design process.

Chintan Bhatt, founder and chief designer at YourUXTeam, has listed a couple of psychological hacks you can refer to when creating an engaging app. The Aesthetic-Usability Effect, for example, states that things that look better will work better—even if your app works the same as everyone else's. Meanwhile, the Cocktail Party Effect says that when people hear their names, they're more likely to pay attention to it. This is why in-app notifications are more effective if the user's name is included in them.

There are plenty of other psychology concepts that apply to app design such as the Serial-Position and Placebo Effect. Those who can utilize them effectively become the most accomplished designers.

Additionally, it's best to always consult your data to understand how your users are using your app, when they're falling off, and what parts of your design are working. This lets you know what you can do to further improve your app.

Designing a mobile app is about more than knowing how to code. You also have to understand what works for your users and the design choices that fit your brand. Ultimately, it’s all about finding a balance between the two.


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Cristy Watts is a freelance content writer who's looking to expand her knowledge in design and digital marketing. One day, she hopes to start a business of her own.