Since Android Phones and iPhone came into the market, the use of smartphones has been on the rise. Analytics of any major website reveals that more than half of the visitors use a phone to access the internet. It says that mobile is currently the dominant platform.
While building a website for acquiring mobile users without significant effort from user’s side, isn’t a bad choice, the user experience (UX) of a website on a mobile can be lacking and might disengage potential loyal users. So, to lockdown repeat users, a business should develop an app with smooth UI and flawless UX to keep them engaged and convert casual users into regular users.
By keeping an eye on all the latest trends in mobile app development, businesses can find out ways to beat their competition by offering apps with better UX
15 latest trends in mobile app development :
15. Progressive web apps:
Mobile websites lag in UX, and native apps require almost too much effort from the user. Both prevent user acquisition when users are feeling impulsive to access an app. Progressive web apps (PWA), come into the picture and uniquely solve this dilemma. For a PWA, developers don’t write code for different platforms, and neither do they publish it on different app-stores. Users get a prompt to install a PWA when they visit the URL of such websites. PWAs are a great choice for apps which need to be less resource-intensive and have few key features.
14. Cross-platform development:
Until now, businesses had to have two teams for two major mobile platforms (iOS and Android). It is simply inefficient, and, to counter it cross-platform was made. With toolkits like Flutter, Xamarin, and React-Native, developers can make feature-rich, immersive, cross-platform, and native, apps. Flutter particularly has a promise like none other (previous article’s link). It is also a part of Google’s Fuchsia OS, which is a mobile phone cross-platform OS and is currently in development.
13. App security:
As the number of smartphone users has risen exponentially during the past few years, so has the number of attacks on them. Both developers and users have the responsibility for security. Recently, both Apple and Google have been pushing developers to follow protocols which make applications more secure against threats which focus on apps.
12. On-demand apps:
When on-demand apps began showing up in the market, people didn’t pay much attention. However, it seems that there is a new app as a solution for every problem that connects people. Need a cab? Uber. Need food? Swiggy/ Zomato. Need a trainer at home, or a beauty professional, perhaps a chef? You could bet that there would be an app for that. And, this phenomenon doesn’t seem to stop.
11. Mobile wallets and payment gateways:
If your app is going to have payments as a part of its process, having a payment mechanism built into it is critical. Either by making a wallet of your own or by integrating a payment mechanism, payments can be made seamless. If making a mobile wallet, the goal is to get more and more users to use your wallet instead of an external payment gateway and save the commission.
10. Beacon Technology:
It provides businesses, a location-based communication with users to enhance their on-site experience. If a customer walks into a retail store and has their app on their phone, now the app can use their exact location to send them notifications about discounts on items they’re passing, or, making the checkout process faster if they are close to the exit. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), beacon technology can help the audience in finding seats in a stadium, or visitors in finding booths they are interested in, at fairs and expos.
9. Cloud integration:
People thought that the only use cloud had, was backing up data. However, now they seem to be realizing just how powerful cloud is. It can cut costs in hosting and improve loading capacity. With services like AWS, apps can now directly run on the cloud, without using the limited computing prowess of a smartphone.
Following the boom in IoT, smartphone apps can now be equipped with interfaces to access and control IoT networks, in homes, offices, and industries. Some have dared to go even further and made the phones themselves nodes part of the network which collects the data and display results. Apps like Waze and Google traffic work on this principle.
7. Application performance management:
Nowadays, it has become a trend for organizations to monitor the performance of their apps along with the guidelines with tools readily available to do so. Apart from that, with many organizations using the same mobile devices to use in their offices, enterprise mobility management has also become popular and necessary to some extent.
6. Instant apps:
The goals for making an app can differ a lot. However, having as many users as possible is always one of them. Instant app allows publishers to do just that. Users can download separate modules which represent separate features of an app instantly, and try them out. Then, they can decide whether they want the full app or not. With such a positive response from Android users, iOS developers will soon get this feature too.
5. Augmented reality (AR) & Virtual reality (VR):
AR, sees the surrounding environment through the camera and adds some things of its own, which can be seen on the phone screen. VR, on the other hand, is making a completely new reality which can be seen on the screen. With the obvious use case of games, AR and VR can also be used to show a demo of new technologies like in auto shows. They can also be used to familiarize people with new locations quickly, like virtual tour guides, etc. If it fits the needs of your organization, you should get an AR/ VR enabled app made for amplifying user interaction with your business.
The wearable device market keeps growing day by day. Organizations need to pay attention if their app could benefit from having wearable functionality. Apps with features like instant messaging, live location tracking, song streaming, and other similar ones, should be wearable friendly to cater to the increasing smart-watch market
3. Chat bots:
Businesses now have a new trick up their sleeve. Chatbots are being used to interact with numerous customers at once at an unprecedented scale, as a part of customer service in many apps and websites. They can be easily trained to respond to basic FAQs and some queries with elaborate instructions and clear answers which are indistinguishable from those of a human.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML):
These technologies need no introduction. Like in every domain of technology, AI and ML are being used in app development too. Businesses have started to infuse AI into backends, to enhance UI/ UX, cut costs in development and, to reduce operational expenses. Apart from that, these technologies are also being used in chatbots and, to deliver customized content to users in some cases.
It was thought that Blockchain could only be used for cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. However, now that people are more aware of it, newer use cases are found for this technology every day. It can be used to build Decentralized apps (DApps), to track supply chains, hold online auctions, do insurance, issuing letters of credit and much more. It is only going to see more and more exposure in app development with time.
While it is important to be aware of all the latest trends in app development, it is more important to focus on how apps can be more optimized and make them more intuitive for users, instead of simply adding features blindly. That being said, if some trend can be used to enhance the UX of your app, you should analyze the cost and result of that feature’s inclusion to see whether it would be a good idea for you. In some cases, following the relevant trends can be the difference between becoming the most used app vs an average one that people use much less. In others it won’t make a difference. The choice is yours.