In 2021 we’ll see the continuation of several trends that have been around in 2020. This is not surprising, since these trends have been gaining momentum in the last couple of months.
1. Voice User Interface
Personal assistants will continue to grow in usage on mobile devices. They come with more and more features and in 2021, 50% of all searches will be carried out without a screen or keyboard. This means that you’ll have to study the behavioral patterns of your customers and start to pay attention to voice user interface technology. Ask yourself: how, when and what do your customers search? What are the questions your customers ask?
2. Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web app technology has been embraced by big companies like Google, Epic or Nvidia. Even Apple has started to roll out their own Progressive Web Apps. These apps have many advantages over native apps like platform independency, app store independecy, automatic updates, no app store fees and so on. In case you want to reach your customers beyond the app store – Huawei is a good example here – there are your best option. They blend the best of web and mobile and you save money for the development. Google already provides very good support for Progresive Web Apps, with Apple lagging behind a bit.
Ever wondered, why some apps start to feel more “haptic”? The answer is neuromorphism, which is short for new skeuomorphism and was one of the hottest design trends of 2020. It means taking the style of the early 2010s and giving it a 2020 makeover. With neuromorphism, the cartoon-like simplicity of the flat design is retained. However, by giving the design realism with depth and similarity to actual physical things neuromorphism makes for a more lifelike experience.
4. Dark Mode
Apple has joined Android with the support of dark mode. Many apps already offer their users to choose between a light and a dark mode. Dark mode has several benefits: it saves battery power, it doesn’t overload the eyes and it’s unusual look makes it quite attractive.
5. Audio and Video Streaming
Streaming is a must if your business has anything to offer in this field. Be it a book review, a concert or tipps for wedding dresses: you can streaming about anything. It’s a superb engagement tool, because with a stream you have the undivided attention of your customers for a longer time. The optimal solution is to offer streaming in your own app. Because only with your own app you can collect valuable first party customer data.
6. Proximity Chat
The Covid pandemic has brought many of us homeoffice work with lots of videocoferences. Still, as social animals people strive for personal contacts beyond a wall of faces on a screen. This is difficult to achieve with videoconferencing platforms. With proximity chat platforms this is changing: they try to mimic those spontaneous meetings in hallways or watercooler conversations with the help of avatars and 2d/2d representations of meeting places. For businesses, shopping experiences in these virtual worlds are worth exploring if you want to give your customers a social shopping experience from their sofas.
7. First Party Data
Apple’s push for privacy has a huge impact on advertisers. By forcing users to actively accept tracking in apps (no one will) Apple basically kills the personalized advertising model where you can use data from third parties for advertising. Google will also kill third party cookies by 2022. This means, that you have to collect your own data from your customers and use it for advertising (and improving) your products and services.
8. Ephemeral Apps
A new trend exemplifed by Apple App Clips and Google Instant Apps are apps that do not require the installation before using them. These ephermal apps are discovered at digital touchpoints such as barcodes, nfc, bluetooth beacons or geofencing. The blend of Progressive Web App trechnology with App Clips and Instant Apps makes them extremely lightweight and versatile. Instead of dozens of MBs, ephemeral apps only need several 100 KBs and can change the services according the context in which they are used.
All these app trends are almost here, some more pronounced than others. Therefore, it’s best practise not to wait until all these become common for users and thus stay ahead of your competion. Your customers will appreciate this.
Of course, at the end of the day it’s a question of how much money mobile apps and mobile services cost and how much money you are willing to spend. To get an idea how much apps cost in 2021 check out this online price calculator – it gives you a good idea about the costs that you’ll have to face.