As Lextech’s senior user experience (UX) engineer, I recently had the chance to speak to other developers and venture capitalists at a Mobile Visionary Roundtable held at the Illinois Technology Association in Chicago.
The topic was “Mobile App Design: Enriching the User Experience,” and part of that discussion focused on some of the emerging design trends in 2011. Here are a few highlights:
- Gestures, Not Buttons: As users grow comfortable with touchscreen interaction, new multi-finger gestures are being implemented to augment standard tapping behavior. For instance, Apple’s newest iOS introduces the concept of “squishing” a screen with five fingers to close an app. It’ll be crucial for us designers to use gestures to make apps even more intuitive—while also avoiding gestures that are so complex that they become unusable.
- Everything Syncs: Mobile APIs such as Dropbox are improving how mobile apps transparently access and sync data, whether it’s in the cloud, on another computer, or even another mobile device. This trend is an opportunity for designers to reinvent great new ways for mobile devices to manage and data.
- Best of Breed: In 2008, the introduction of the iPhone was all about novelty and being first-to-market. In 2011, there are more than 300,000 apps in the App Store—so chances are, your app isn’t novel any more and you’re late to market. The mantra for 2011 is to focus on designing “best of breed” apps: Examine your competition that’s already in the App Store, and design an app that offers true competitive advantage in terms of features, uniqueness and user experience. Combined with smart marketing, a “best of breed” philosophy is the best way to cut through the fog of app junk out there and position your app as a worthwhile purchase.