2020 has been a strange year, to say the least.
We could say that mandatory confinement has made us lose our fear of experimenting, taking risks, and learning. The hours we spent at home, we used to let our imagination fly, removing the limits to creative thoughts and innovations.
From ESKA, we have made a compilation of what we believe will be the 8 trends that will govern the design of apps this next 2021.
8 trends in App Design that will dominate in 2021
Before we delve into these trends, let's take a quick look at how graphic design has evolved in recent years. While this discipline was marked by Futurism and Sci-Fi to which the long-awaited decade of the 20s was associated, for this 2021 the trends in creative graphic design are more aligned with people, the retro spirit of the 80s and the minimalism, without neglecting 3D, psychedelia, classical symbolism, elements of nature and more analog design.
Starting from these foundations of graphic design and adding the necessary technology and innovation in app design, the trend is more than evident: everything is a matter of designing from people and for people. Let’s take a look at the 8 trends which await us in 2021.
1. Voice User Interface
If you look around, how many people around you use Siri, Alexa, or Google Home? Surely, you will get more than 5. The increase in voice searches is a key factor to consider when designing an app. It is going a step beyond what chatbots were once, adding to these pre-designed conversations a more human and less robotic interaction. Who likes to talk to a robot?
This is where the VUI design was born, which thanks to artificial intelligence, ensures that the visual interface and the voice are integrated, offering the user more precise and faster results to their searches with the sole purpose of improving their experience.
2. Neither flat design nor skeuomorphism: neumorphism
Why choose only flat design or, on the contrary, an evolved design that is more assimilated to our reality? Well, neither one thing (flat design) nor another (skeuomorphism, from the Greek skeuos (tool) and morphe (shape), will be actual in 2021.
Let's look at two examples to better understand the difference between both types of UI design:
Flat design is a design style that is based on aesthetic simplicity, offering clean, intuitive, and very easy-to-understand results to make the app as functional as possible.
On the other hand, skeuomorphism is a style of app design in which the elements we see seem to imitate everyday objects.
And in the middle of these 2 styles, neumorphism is born as a variant that focuses on highlighting some details through the use of shadows and highlights. In this way, the user has a more intuitive understanding of how the elements they see on their screen interact and work.
As we can see, in 2021 we should go for something in the middle, which is pleomorphism.
3. Dark mode: the king of modes
After many years, we could say that since the beginning of the mobile era, the use of white and very bright backgrounds has predominated in applications.
However, in recent years and as a result of medical recommendations to reduce visual fatigue caused by prolonged exposure to screen brightness, we increasingly see dark mode in interface design: already a fundamental step in plans for the development of user interfaces.
Despite having many detractors, it is the users themselves who already request the dark mode in operating systems, mobile applications, and web platforms/tools, so like it or not, the dark mode is more and more present.
Also, this mode ensures that the user is using the app for a long time since it causes less strain on the eyes, saves the device's battery, and is much better viewed in environments with low light. Regarding battery saving, according to a study carried out by Google on smartphones with AMOLED or OLED screens, it was determined that using the dark mode allows saving of 14% of the battery, keeping the screen brightness at half; or a 60% savings with the screen brightness set to minimum.
The results of this study were essential for app developers to include it as an option in the interfaces.
4. More movement to focus attention
When we add animations or small movements to the design of apps, we obtain the main benefit of focusing the attention of our users on specific points. This can help us to guide the user when taking a specific action, which will translate into a better user experience.
We are talking about motion design, which went from being an extra to becoming something essential to add to your app design strategy to improve the UI. Motion design has already become a trend in app design, focusing not so much on the appearance of objects but on how they move.
5. Color, color, and more color
If in previous years, especially in 2019 and 2020, we saw how pastel shades were positioned as the great favorites in a large number of applications, for this 2021 (and we could say that for a few months now), the focus is directed towards the use of more striking and strong colors. This change comes as a consequence of the great progress we are experiencing in the development and resolution of mobile screens that increasingly allow us to view and appreciate all kinds of colors.
Besides, considering the rise of dark mode, we also see a trend in the use of neon colors that give apps more dynamism and vitality.
6. More readable typos
In 2021 it is expected that the design of apps, as far as typography is concerned, will continue to revolve around the use of several different typos that generate a visual order allowing the user to distinguish between headlines or bodies of texts in a faster and simple way.
We have to bear in mind that the progress in smartphone screens, which are getting bigger and bigger, allow us to play more with the use of fonts, giving the design of applications an added beauty.
Also, for some time now, the iOS and Android operating systems have been optimized to achieve more readable and scalable fonts.
7. 3D, augmented reality, and virtual reality
The use of 3D elements in the design of apps helps the user to conceive those same elements as something more real by fleeing from the flat. By seeing them as real objects, the user can feel something allowing them to interact with them in a more natural and real way. In this sense, we could also highlight the rise of augmented reality and virtual reality that is increasingly present in both web design and mobile application design.
8. More personalization and access without passwords
Taking advantage of technological advances, highly customizable applications bring great satisfaction to the user since it improves their experience by making them feel that they have control over it.
When we talk about personalization, we refer to a whole range of possibilities that range from creating your own content lists (i.e. Flipboard or Spotify); propose content based on the user's location; or allow choosing and adapting the font or colors of an app according to the tastes and needs of the users (i. e. choose between light or dark mode in an app: YouTube).
Although it is true that currently, the customization possibilities are very high, with artificial intelligence and machine learning (the field of artificial intelligence in charge of designing systems that learn automatically) these possibilities are multiplied a lot.
Finally, along with the advance in technology by leaps and bounds, we find the advancement in security, which allows the user to use fewer and fewer passwords, gaining in security thanks to measures such as biometric authentication, facial recognition, or the fingerprint to access mobile applications and games.