Freedom, experimental, creativity, break the borders. Be authentic. Wow! With a design trend like that, all odds are on a happy new year for app designers.
The app design trend of 2017 truly brings out the best in app designers as users demand brands to be personal, unique, versatile and authentic, above all on the mobile screen. Now that the holidays are over, app designers get a kick-start in the new year cause the users’ pursuit of personality cries out for creativity.
Did you think small screen design and focus on usability are the trends in 2017? Nope, they’re way more than trends as they now have become the backbone of branding. Mobile friendliness is something from the past now that the vast majority of brands opt for mobile first. Either you design for mobile of you’re out of the competition.
Cheer up app designers! You aren’t even bothered by the big screen as native apps are mobile only. App design does not have to achieve the difficult balance between the mobile screen and desktop screen. Where web designers massively use the same WordPress themes to be responsive for several screens (making the web not the most exciting place), app designers are at the leading edge in mobile design.
In 2017 app users expect a personal, authentic experience and this is how your app design lives up to that.
App navigation, or user interface, first and foremost lets the user find the right content quickly. Especially now that users demand a fast mobile experience, the time between an action as tapping a button and the reaction (opening a page) should be minimal. Focus on usability is not a trend like last year; it is one of the cornerstones of user retention and user conversion.
Making a visual impression that perfectly fits your brand is the other function of app navigation. And this is where we’ll see more experimental ways of navigation in 2017. Being all about personality the design trend of 2015 brings us more design options and fewer restrictions.
Breaking the grid
The grid is no longer the holy grail. In 2017 items can be placed outside the rigid baseline structures. Menu items seem to be placed randomly on the screen as long as the content can be reached instantly.
An authentic impression starts with your app’s home screen. Are you brave enough to use the screen completely? Thanks to the WordPress web dominance people nowadays are used to the hamburger menu so they won’t have trouble finding a hidden menu on your home screen. Your options with AppMachine? The Facebook slider menu and tab navigation save the most space for a stunning home screen design. Or design your own home screen with an image menu.
The use of cards is a trend from last year that will expand in 2017. Cards can present content in more manageable portions and prevents content to seem cluttered. Cards come in several types of varying length. Sometimes cards are a subtle overlay, sometimes they fill the screen. In all cases they should stimulate interaction with users.
The longs scroll is here to stay. Originally designed for the small screen, designers have been applying long scrolls for larger screens as well. Scrolling on the smartphone screen with your fingers or thumb is a bliss compared to scrolling a mouse. The longs scroll makes your content fluid, brings in a linear structure and allows you to place multiple items on a page: photo, illustrations, text, video, a form, CTA. So keep scrolling next year.
The quest for a unique personal, authentic experience means the long-awaited and cheerfully welcomed end of tacky imagery. No more cheesy stock photo’s, no more standard icons. In 2017 people are asking for character and visual story-telling.
Photos and illustrations
Photography and illustrations are ideally tailor-made, or at least look like they were exclusively made for you. There is a slight preference for hand-drawn illustrations as which we see on Dropbox.
Use overlapping with elements as photos, typography and illustrations to create depth on a screen.
In 2017 colors are brave and vivid. We’ll see brighter color schemes, colored backgrounds, gradients and the return of the shadow, not the standard Photoshop shadow on a menu, but large colored shadows on colored backgrounds.
Although Spotify already changed its colors from safe green to more vivid color schemes, green will be a dominant color in 2017 as Pantone’s color of the year is called Greenery and presents, according to Pantone, “the reconnection we seek with nature.”
Are you still using web safe colors? You might consider a different career…
Although it’s not a design trend literally, we cannot ignore the rise of video here. More than ever it’s a visual world in 2017. The large hero images we have become used to will be partially replaced by video, preferably full screen video or even live streams. Video draws more attention if used correctly. Vlogs, good quality instruction video’s, live streams, they all can, or rather should be, part of your apps.
AppMachine offers several video options for your app via YouTube, Vimeo, Vine or Ustream for live streams. Or simply use the Facebook live video stream with Facebook in your app.
With the increasing number of available web font services, the freedom in typography flourishes in 2017. We’ll see more creative typeface with big bold and sometimes even full screen type. Fonts are more often used as the center of design.
Micro interactions are a challenging design task. How do you make those tiny single task actions stand out? What happens when a users raises the volume, likes something, logs in or opens a page? Do colors or shapes change when tapping a menu item?
Make sure you entertain and excite your users while using the app. Bring your app design up to date with transitions and animations (animations are not supported in AppMachine apps) and make the best out of the user experience. AppMachine lets you design app wide or customize every page or submenu.