2018 Mobile Design Trends

With bigger and better screens readily available, designers have even more real estate to take into consideration when creating interfaces and experiences for users. The need to tightly condense information into tiny screens is disappearing, with more room available to utilize for better user experiences. The latest in screen development being the iPhone X, boasting an impressive 2436 x 1125 pixel resolution gorgeously rich OLED screen, with 458 pixels per inch. It’s no question that with all that screen, there’s so much more potential to engage users eyes and minds.

Taking cues from some of the most successful apps such as Instagram and Twitter, apps have been updating with newer, fresher UI/UX designs full of increased white space and better colour-usage. Spaced out photos and text push content into focus and leave breathing room for the user’s eye, for actionable icons, and more play with the extra space. Mobile design is moving quickly, taking advantage of colour to label and highlight objects and actions and allowing users to use those intuitive gestures they’re becoming so accustomed to.

We decided to break it down into three basic categories and how brands are taking advantage:

ONE: Decluttering, white space, opening up the screen

  • Apps are creating fun mobile experiences by taking advantage of the larger screens available on newer phones, creating full screen content such as vertical-oriented video, long-format content requiring the user to scroll, and more. Examples include HQ Trivia, Reddit viewing apps such as Apollo, Pinterest, Snapchat, and the Asos shopping app.
  • Bigger screens means more room for bigger actionable items such as CTAs and other buttons and actions users can interact with.
  • By expanding the space between items, the overall design allows more focus on the items that matter, and creates an overall better division of space.
  • White space can be used as both a visual design choice and a functional element. Examples include Medium, Edison Mail app. It makes more sense to have less information crammed into small spaces, as there’s so much extra room to spread things out and allow users to explore the content as needed.

TWO: Big impact, colour, animation, layering, fun

  • Apps are becoming less afraid of colour-play, using big, bright objects to catch user’s attention and making using their app fun. Examples include Tumblr, Wealthsimple, VSCO Cam, and HQ trivia.
  • It’s important to use colour to create distinction between different stages and items in a digital experience. For example, changing the header colour for different menu screens and on items with different actions creates hierarchy, and makes what’s what even more clear to the user. Besides just practicality, colour creates emotional connection between the user and the app. Eye-pleasing palettes will make users feel more comfortable spending more time in-app, and allowing a user to select colours gives them a sense of personalization and control over their own app experience.
  • Layer items to create tactile experiences, natural reactions to items (ie. stacks, cards)
  • On larger resolution screens, smaller point size copy becomes more legible. It’s not recommend to go below 9pt fonts, but it’s now easier than before to play with big size difference between type.
  • A unique way to draw the user’s eye to important headlines, highlighted copy, and interactive links, is BIG copy. Don’t be afraid to play with scale, as it helps to create more typographical hierarchy. The most recent Apple App Store and Music app redesign is a great example of big, bold headers that break up the typography in text-heavy screens.

THREE: Gestures, tactility, intuitive usage

  • Users are getting accustomed to using intuitive gestures and actions in their mobile experiences. Gestures such as swipe, pinch, and flick are all useful on multi-actionable items, particularly in e-mail and photo-editing apps.
  • Take advantage of the endless scroll! Users scroll, scroll, scroll more than ever, sifting through unending seas of content, photos, products, anything and everything.
  • Leverage fullscreen experiences by creating interactions that make users want to continue scrolling to view more content, more products, more info.
  • Touch screen gestures are so easy and intuitive, even toddlers are adapting to using them. An amazing example is seeing a toddler swipe on a picture frame, expecting the image behind the glass to change like it would on a tablet. We’re teaching these interactions from a very young age, why not make more use of them?

Mobile design is moving quickly, and the biggest brands are well aware of it. Successful apps are taking full advantage of the canvas they have available, and are making beautiful changes to the routinely used screens that users have become so attached to. With all these changes in device screens, it’s not hard to see how these designs trends can be adapted for more than just apps, especially for digital advertising. Creating seamless, beautiful mobile experiences keep users engaged in the content of their favourite apps, and generates interest in ads and sponsored content that matches their topics of choice. There’s no need for a disconnect between selected content and ad content, and keeping in step with the latest design trends, or working with partners that are, will help keep your brand more relevant than ever.