2022 - Design trends for mobile applications

15 mins read

Table of contents:

Mobile UI design trends change all the time, and as we stated before, this is why it's critical to stay on top of the latest app design trends. The world is changing, new technologies are emerging, and new design approaches are emerging, therefore keeping up with design trends is not an option for a firm looking to expand.

Read our previous overview of 2021 mobile trends, and check what were the design trends of 2021 so you can easily compare how the design industry is developing from year to year since following the new design trends is essential for firms that wish to stay relevant.

In this article, we've compiled a list of mobile UI trends 2022 to keep you up to date. Each of the businesses and niches has certain unique characteristics that impose some constraints on the design trends that may be used. Nonetheless, with a variety of tactics to choose from, you may find ones that are ideal for your application and perhaps even help us understand your perspective when it comes to your future project.

Motion and animation design

If utilized sparingly, motion in UX may be beneficial and communicative. Motion is most typically used to provide subtle feedback for micro-interactions, rather than to please or entertain consumers.

The main advantage of UI motion is that it draws the attention of the user. Motion detection is the responsibility of our human peripheral vision. The ability to detect movement outside the centre of our range of vision is, of course, advantageous in evolutionary terms: we can identify danger and protect ourselves.

However, this implies that we are sensitive and easily distracted by any form of motion. That is why motion in user interfaces may quickly become irritating: it is difficult to ignore, and if unnecessary to the work at hand, it can significantly harm the user experience. Here are some of Motion Design applications:

Transition Patterns: Users begin to lose concentration if the transition between displays takes too long. Motion design is used to assist users in understanding how the software flows between displays, making navigating easier and more appealing.

Another occasion when motion design might be used in transitions is during loading periods. Why not use an intriguing animation to cut down on the waiting time? Animations keep consumers' attention while the gadget downloads the essential data.

  • Transitions based on a container
  • Transitions with no container
  • Flawless transitions

Micro-interactions: Micro-interactions are occurrences that are employed to create a memorable experience for the user. These micro-interactions may be found across applications and websites. The majority of the time, the animation begins with a trigger (user action) that creates a reaction, informing the user of what's going on and making navigating inside an app or a website easier. These micro-interactions might occur without the use of animation, but motion design is used to make this interaction more fascinating and engaging.

Graphic Cues: Motion design directs the user of an application by utilizing animations to signal where to concentrate, what to do next, or what seems essential on a screen. Consider employing motion to recognize user input and assist users in navigating content without getting lost. Navigation interactions appear more organic and less artificial when they are in motion. Motion breathes new vitality into the UI while preserving context.

Responsive, Fluid Motion: Users expect and have come to expect fluid and responsive UI. When people are unsure about the functionality of something, they tend to linger over it. A smart UI rewards this behaviour by offering quick feedback—perhaps in the form of animation. To ensure that consumers enjoy a continuous browsing experience, respond to any queries they may have right away. User-interface designs come up on touch-enabled devices by permitting users to build strong connections in engaging ways.

Playful branding and eliciting emotions: We may use animation to define the tone of a brand's identity, whether it's entertaining, playful, professional, or something else. The function of animation is to improve one's individuality.

Designers can elicit emotions through animation. When we think of someone, we instinctively link them with the way they talk, walk, laugh, and so on. The personality of a person is what makes him or her unforgettable. Brands follow the same principle.

Using motion design to show the personality of a user interface gets a stronger emotional reaction from users than static images. Motion design emphasizes the personality of the user interface rather than its visual identity, and so has a tremendous effect on the actions and feelings of users. In the same way that people's body language and movement reflect their personalities, so does motion in a user interface. Motion ensures that digital interactions and your brand are memorable to customers, and also make sure to also check how digital transformation can improve your product.

Just-for-fun animations: Animations can, of course, be just ornamental - as long as they do not negatively impact user experience. Decorative animations aren't necessary, but they improve the overall appearance.

Try adding a colourful animation to the basic 404 page the next time you want to play with motion design. Why not make it less unpleasant to look at as it isn't the most pleasant page to look at? We may generate a good experience for the user on a website that is intrinsically negative by employing a hilarious animation or minor interactions.

Informing consumers about a change of state: Motion can be used to signify that the interface has changed state, such as a mode shift. Modes might be difficult to express to users, but animation can help in two ways:

  • by making the mode shift visible;
  • by giving a conceptual metaphor for the mode transition. For example, morphing a pencil icon into a disk after it has been clicked on marks the move from Edit to Save mode rather than simply changing one icon out for the other.

Motion for spatial metaphors and navigation: It is sometimes difficult to describe the structure of a complex information space to consumers without exhausting their cognitive resources or taking up too much screen space. Scanning through navigation menus, tree diagrams, or even breadcrumbs to determine one's position in the information hierarchy is a difficult sort of cognitive effort.

Zooming out reveals less detail but more items, implying that the user is moving up the hierarchy, whereas zooming in shows more information but fewer things, implying that the user is moving down the hierarchy.

Grabbing and hijacking attention: Because the human visual system is extremely sensitive to motion, it may be exploited to capture users' attention, for good or bad. On the one hand, it might highlight a subtle marker, while on the other hand, unnecessary motion animations distract and frustrate the user. At this point, you could also consider all the possibilities in the realm of AI/ML on mobile applications from a design point of view, and if you feel overwhelmed then you should not miss this chance and just outsource.

Furthermore, employing motion to divert users' attention or instil fear of loss is a dark behaviour: an unethical use of user-experience concepts and cognitive psychology to persuade users to do something they would not normally do.

The best motion design tools:

Flat design

Flat design is a type of user interface design that employs minimal, two-dimensional objects and bright colours. It is sometimes contrasted with the skeuomorphic approach, which creates the appearance of three-dimensionality by mimicking real-life features.

Flat design was created for responsive design, in which the content of a website adapts fluidly based on the device's screen size. Flat design guarantees that responsive designs operate effectively and load quickly by using simple forms and minimal materials.

The flat design delivers a simplified and more optimum user experience by minimizing visual noise (in the form of textures and shadows).

Flat Designs’ Typography and Logos:

  • Simple shapes, with no shadows, textures, or gradients.
  • The colours are flat, that is to say, they are solid and consistent. They stand out from the rest of the app by employing colour palettes to separate the elements and guide the use, making it easier for the brain to find its way around.
  • The readability of fonts is taken into consideration.

Flat Design Colour Rules:

  • Colours: may be used freely in flat design, but they must be chosen in a consistent palette. To guarantee that you choose the best colour palette for your company, avoid combining bright and pastel hues. Furthermore, the latter colours are frequently favoured in flat design. Colours should enliven the navigation while avoiding visual saturation.
  • Illustrations & images: If you choose a website with a flat design, the image placement should be carefully considered so that it does not overburden the overall design of the interface. You may also experiment with other geometric forms such as circles, squares, triangles, and so on.
  • Icons: A flat design website would be incomplete without them. We advise you to avoid using forms in favour of "flat" icons. Many icon kits, such as Designmodo and Thenounproject, may be used to satisfy most demands. Some are made in Syg format, and the colours and forms may be changed in Illustrator.
  • Typography: The typeface should aid in the structure and organization of the material. Fonts are simplified and legible in flat design.

Inclusive & accessible design

User experience designers are in charge of assuring the usability and accessibility of a product. Unfortunately, accessibility is frequently ignored. Content and features should be accessible, simple to comprehend, and efficient to use for a wide variety of abilities. Everyone benefits from accessible designs. Accessibility is frequently promoted as being helpful for the 15% of the world's population who have permanent impairments. People without chronic impairments benefit from accessibility in several scenarios.

As we age, our abilities in vision, hearing, movement, and cognition tend to deteriorate. Misplaced glasses, musculoskeletal problems, bad illumination while reading a screen, and noisy settings while attempting to hear audio are all instances of temporary or situational limitations, therefore here are several inclusive and accessible designs to help all of us:

Low vision: Low vision refers to visual problems other than total blindness, such as those caused by age, diabetes, contrast sensitivity, and colour blindness. We can improve low vision experiences by designing with the figure-ground concept in mind.

  • Principle of Figure-Ground: One of Gestalt's Principles is that when we observe anything visually, our minds strive to separate the foreground from the background. It creates visual tension when neither the foreground nor the backdrop shines out significantly. When someone has impaired eyesight, this might be considerably more difficult.
  • Von Restorff Effect: When numerous comparable things are given, the one that differs from the others in size, colour, form, or other features is more likely to be recalled. It is critical to use this idea correctly to improve the experiences of persons with visual impairments.

Physical Disabilities: Physical impairments include reduced mobility, involuntary movements, and painful movements caused by conditions such as arthritis, amputations, repetitive stress injuries, tremors, and physical traumas. We can enhance experiences for people with physical limitations by designing with Fitt's law in mind.

  • Fitt’s Law: The time it takes to reach a target is determined by its size and distance. As a result, when buttons and links are smaller in size or farther away from the starting point, it takes longer to reach them. When someone has a physical limitation, this might be more difficult and time-consuming.

Cognitive Disabilities: Neurodiversity, intellectual impairments, autism, Alzheimer's disease, and ADHD are all examples of cognitive and learning disorders (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). We can enhance experiences for people with cognitive disorders by designing with Miller's and Fitt's laws in mind.

  • Miller’s Law (Magic Number 7+/- 2): Our short-term memory has a capacity of 7 sticks of information, plus or minus 2. This is why phone numbers and credit card numbers aren't just one long string of digits, but rather "chunked" for easier recall. Here's an example of a number that has been broken into pieces rather than gathered together.
  • Hick’s Law: People will take longer to decide if they have more options. This also applies to the amount of information that humans must digest to discover information and execute activities. Hick's law and Miller's law may appear to be similar, however, Miller's rule is about "chunking" material for short-term memory, whereas Hick's law is about limiting possibilities for faster decision making and shorter job completion times.

Brutalist design

Another trend that is on the rise is brutalist design. Brutalism appears to be a counter-trend to all of the designs that are filled with gradients, shadows, and happy 3D figures.

Flat style, powerful edges, contrasting colours, unbothered, raw, ugly, reactionary, bold, uncomfortable are some of the words one can use to describe a brutalist design. However, one of Brutalism's key distinguishing features is missing in this new form. It now employs all of the aforementioned characteristics, but adheres to a more traditional arrangement, as seen in other design styles.

This app design style is called from the architectural style that translates as “raw concrete”. These designs may elicit many of the same sentiments as a brutalist structure might. Similarly to how brutalist buildings stand out from the rest of the buildings in major cities, brutalist applications stand out from the rest of the modern ones.

If you're wondering what characteristics constitute a brutalist app design and how to recognize one in the wild, Matt Stewart of Creative Momentum has compiled a detailed list of characteristics which I'm going to borrow:

  • Black or white backgrounds
  • No gradients or shadows
  • Overlapping elements
  • Lack of symmetry
  • Crowded design
  • No distinct hierarchy
  • Monospaced typography
  • One font used throughout
  • Contrasting colour palette
  • Lack of animation
  • Sparse imagery
  • Simple or non-existent navigation
  • Single-page website design

Types of brutalist design:

Purists: If you're familiar with brutalist design, this one should come as no surprise. The purist brutalist design emphasizes employing as few components as possible, similar to how concrete and steel are utilized as major construction materials in brutalist structures.

UX minimalist: The colour palette remains relatively simple, consisting largely of black and white, and the links aren't blue, a departure from the pure design. The rationale for these variations is that the goal of this style is to focus on efficiency rather than strictly adhering to the core HTML components.

‘Anti-ists’ or Artists: a flawless marriage of brutalist minimalism and artistic self-expression In terms of programming, the artistic design differs from purist design in that it does not want to keep to fundamental HTML components. It frequently includes experimental JavaScript that is used to create a specific vibe or emotion. When designing insane epilepsy-inducing designs, it is critical to understand who your audience is.

Unique illustrations

An illustration is more than just an ornament: it is a medium of communication, compensation, a method of giving or improving knowledge, a means of strengthening connections, and a means of guiding people through circumstances. An illustration is more than just an aesthetic feature; it may take several forms and function as a visual aid to the user interface.

Illustrations have an important part when it comes to expressing ideas, whether in a presentation, interface, video, or simply illustrating a text. When utilized correctly, they can alleviate cognitive load, inform, and link ideas and feelings. Furthermore, graphics have a tremendous impact on the emotional appeal of the interface. They are also memorable and catchy, which helps to increase brand recognition, storytelling, and brand recognition.

Why use unique illustrations?

  • It boosts brand identity
  • It’s a universal method of communication
  • It’s a valuable tool in your toolbox
  • It promotes clarity and understanding
  • It helps people feel good

Limitless imagery

App imagery, such as product shots, is intended to be viewed in a small size. Apps allow users to interact with graphics in a variety of ways to fit smaller screens on smartphones and tablets, including animations, panning and zooming. Products in eCommerce and retail applications no longer have to be contained within a square or rectangle. Instead, they look limitless and meld with the backdrop, as if they're floating amid the app's other design components. This provides the user with a much more unified app experience and unifies the app design.

This type of artwork is frequently exhibited in parts or cropped to reveal greater detail. If you want to take it a step further, you could pair this look with varying levels of interaction. For example, you might employ augmented reality in an eCommerce app selling furniture or houseware to allow consumers to visualize how the goods would appear in their homes.

Asymmetry in design and layout draws attention to specific aspects inside an app. People's eyes often go in a specific direction while processing visual input, therefore developing an asymmetrical design can run with the audience's visual motion. Designers are flexing their innovative powers in 2022 to escape the polished feel of symmetrical applications, particularly for apps with multiproduct galleries, such as eCommerce apps.

The asymmetrical design may assist to establish your brand's distinctive character while also bringing a fresh and interesting perspective to your menu or gallery. It catches your audience's attention by disrupting patterns and offering something distinctive in design from the ordinary.

Spherical patterns that are abstract

Circular and spherical designs are widespread. These forms may be found in both organic and manufactured things, Circular shapes are appealing because of their fluidity, and when employed in digital design, they are recognized to provide a welcoming, soothing experience.

App designs in 2022 will take this tendency for rounder curves a step further. Many people are using circles in their graphics and backdrops. By combining circles with zigzags and bright hues, they lean towards the abstract, whimsical, and nostalgic motifs of the 1980s style.

Play with abstract circular patterns to give depth to backdrops and brand individuality to your app. Another alternative is to animate your circular designs to represent state changes in the customer journey or advancement throughout a task flow.

Unconventional text alignment

Another app design concept that will be thriving in 2022 is experimenting with copy layout. Designers are producing unconventional designs with vertically and diagonally positioned text for those targeting left-to-right readers.

Creators are employing copy to mix into other aspects of the app, challenging how consumers usually view text in-app designs. Experimentation with space, case, and font is common when dealing with atypical text alignment.

Borders define characteristics

Borders aid in the management of data in app design. Borders work as dividers to construct a hierarchy to direct the viewer by placing a simple stroke around each piece. They leave enough room for each headline, graphic, or button to breathe.

Borders is also a bit out of date. Earlier GUIs in technology, employed borders to visually separate items such as scroll arrows, icons, and windows. Many applications connect with consumers through nostalgic overtones by quietly evoking this time of early digital design.

Multi-directional navigation

In terms of usability, the top applications and websites make using them feel natural. The use of multi-directional navigation is an easy technique to simplify complicated flows and interactions.

Instead of merely scrolling up and down among functions, these designs urge users to interact with the app more deliberately. Incorporating horizontal sliders alongside vertical scrolling displays results in a more fascinating and memorable user journey.

It's a particularly common tendency for apps that have many goods or profiles. Those who include podcasts, music, or social networking should leverage this as a jumping-off point to expand content and allow users to completely immerse themselves in designs.

Layered sheer screens

The use of drop shadows or blur effects on buttons and text boxes partially obscure the backdrop picture when stacking sheer screens over other design components. This method establishes page structure while creating a pleasant, warm vibe.

Using a glow or drop shadow to distinguish an element from the backdrop helps to direct the user's attention. The Fabulous, as shown in the image below left, is a health and wellness software that makes extensive use of overlays. To prevent the superimposed text boxes from merging into the backdrop picture, each has a drop shadow.

This technique is also utilized in other contexts, such as subtitling. Subtitles for films, tv series, and videos frequently utilize strokes, overlays, and blurring effects to make the text easier to understand. The layered sheer trend is not only attractive but also improves reading and utility.

Super apps

Super Apps are mobile apps that combine many services into a single app. These applications are immensely popular in Asia and are rapidly spreading in Africa. Super applications will become more prevalent around the world by 2022.

Designers are tackling this all-in-one app experience with a slew of bright hues and charming, detailed iconography. These app designs, which immerse users in gaming, retail, social networking, and banking, must show how much they can give. A clear framework, frequently in the form of a simple grid, with multi-directional navigation, is essential for managing multi-product galleries of this size, without being overwhelming which is hard for a startup, that is why you should definitely outsource for cost and time effectiveness, assistance and professionalism.

Does your mobile app need a brilliant design?

When you add them all up, the design trends of 2022 are a ragtag bunch. Motion and flat, brutalist and unique, asymmetric and abstract. It's difficult to picture any of these diverse characters meeting at a party, yet that's exactly what will happen this year. And it's precisely on these unexpected mashups that you won't want to miss out on this year, so create your amazing design, if it’s a bit too much for you then outsource it, and after it’s ready to share, here is a detailed guide on where to announce your work to the world.

If you need a great graphic design for your mobile app, let our talented team create something unique and limitless. Until the next one, stay awesome!


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