Top 7 Mobile App UX Trends We Love

Profile photo of Jessi Sparks
Jessi Sparks VP of Strategy

1. Wide Open (White) Spaces

The move back towards content on clean, white UI is a breath of fresh air compared to the dark and heavy gradient backgrounds of three years ago. Companies like Starbucks and McDonalds are placing content on nice clean backgrounds, taking a cue from the print industry and using magazine layouts as inspiration. This time-tested best practice is better for accessibility standards, easier on the eyes when reading, and also makes images and call to action buttons stand out.

2. Big, Beautiful Product Visuals

Speaking of magazine inspiration, retailers are moving forward with larger, full-width imagery to make their apps more attractive and their products shine. This is not to say that copy isn’t important. Like traditional print spreads, mobile app design is getting more love from traditional typography principles, drawing the two disciples together. Environmental product photography provides brand authenticity and creates stunning graphics that make our small screens look like our favorite glossy print publications. The Speedway, Starbucks, and McDonalds apps have all debuted new redesigns this year that favor easy-to-swipe, bold product visuals accompanied by copy descriptions.

3. Blissful Buying with Mobile Wallets

The mobile wallet scene is really heating up, especially for retailers. Usage of digital coupons and the ability to add credit cards to your mobile wallet have been rising. In fact, E-Marketer says 25% of the U.S. population has used a mobile wallet in 2019! The reason: easy transactions. Barriers to spending are reduced when buying only takes one tap, resulting in a larger basket size for retailers and decreasing the opportunity for consumers to second guess their purchases. The end result is an easy and enticing experience.

4. Right Moment Geofencing

While geofencing isn’t a new trend in mobile, retailers are finding more use cases for harnessing the power that user-granted location data can provide. From sending coupons while you are shopping in a store to welcoming you with a fun message when you enter the parking lot, retailers like Bob’s Discount Furniture are using geofencing to enhance the shopping experience. We think that personalized geofencing is the next wave of this trend, and all we can say is “it’s about time.” The right offer, at the right time? Yes, please!

5. Delightful Animations

Last year, we saw a lot of great illustration examples in retail apps. From Starbucks to Panera, these light-hearted experiences made buying a cup of coffee a delight. This year, merchants are going even further with full-screen and transition animations. Seeing McDonald’s playful french fry animation whenever I place an order makes me love the Golden Arches just a little more. My resulting smile is a perfect connection to their brand message. Plus, who can resist dancing french fries?

6. Frictionless Password Reset

According to an article from Security Magazine, the average employee has to manage 154 login credentials a month for various websites and apps. Never mind that every account has a different taxonomy for password security, so there is no universal way to set your password system. Any platform that eases the password reset process is going to win in their users’ eyes. A seamless UX process within an app to reset my password via SMS on my phone is a lifesaver. I probably reset my passwords on most apps every 3­ to 6 months—not because I am security conscious, but because I can’t remember the specific password rules for each system. Using SMS with two-factor authentication to reset my password is much easier then looking for an email or answering security questions any day.

7. No-Think Login with Biometrics Authorization

Our last trend removes password frustration all together. From Touch ID to Face ID, the movement towards biometric verification is making a play for more secure payment authorizations and happier end users. Retailers and financial institutions apps like the PNC Virtual Wallet are using these features to make login feel more like a VIP experience then a security checkpoint. The result is fewer frustrated users and longer dwell times within the mobile app. Using the user’s unique bio signature is one way to guarantee user authorization that is legitimate and while reducing the irritation of password resets.

All these trends help users spend less time overthinking and more time enjoying our mobile app experiences.

Do you have mobile app UX trend that you would add to this list? Let me know.

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