Mobile is here.
Mobile has become the most important device category.
As a result, new mobile design trends are booming.
Many companies have moved beyond simple responsive Web design and instead are creating user interfaces designed to polish the brand's image and maximize conversions.
Google is a great example of this, recently launching Rich Cards and testing a variety of other new mobile design trends weekly.
Here are 10 strategies that are prevalent in mobile design right now.
1. A Diffuse Background
To make things look a little slicker on a mobile platform, some designers are putting a diffuse background behind the user interface.
In this context, "diffuse" is just a high-tech way of saying "blurry."
The popularity of a diffuse background originated on Twitter, with some users opting for diffuse coloring on their background images. Since then, the concept has gained widespread acceptance and worked its way into the mobile space.
2. Less Is More
Although there's a lot you can do with modern mobile technology, some designers have ignored the bells and whistles and instead opted for a simple, easy-to-use look and feel.
The motivation behind that design is simple: A simple design improves conversions. That's why it's especially useful for websites in the e-commerce space.
3. Bigger Is Better
It will come as a surprise to nobody that mobile screen sizes can be very small. That's why designers are opting for easy-to-read, large fonts.
Simply put: It's user-hostile if a mobile user has to enlarge the font manually just to read what's on the screen. It's also a bad idea to ignore users who might not have perfect vision.
That's why large, bold fonts are a favorite of modern developers. They offer a better user experience than what some people are seeing on other websites.
4. Subtle Colors Win the Day
It was once the case that mobile designers preferred bright, almost noisy colors in their designs. That era has passed.
Now, mobile developers are opting for subtle colors that do little more than provide an accent to the user interface. That way, the screen doesn't appear too "busy" and users can find what they want easily.
Another trend is emerging along these lines: Mobile designers are using colors consistent with the brand's image and/or logo. For example, a website designed for a female audience might use pink pastels while an environmental site would opt for subtle shades of green.
5. Context Is Everything
Here's a contemporary design buzz-phrase you should know about: "context-aware user interface."
What does that mean? It's about more than just where the user is on the website at any given time. It's also about where the user is physically at the time that he or she is using the site.
You've probably logged on to a site on more than one occasion and have it ask you to enter the zip code of your location so it could provide you with information relevant to your area. A context-aware user interface already knows the user's location and provides that information immediately. No input from the user is required.
It should be noted, though, that the user will have to grant permission for an app to access geo-specific data on his or her mobile device.
Context-aware design goes beyond just geography, though. It also checks the time, the identity of the user, and other activities that the user might be engaged in. That's how it provides the richest possible user experience.
6. Single Sign-On With Social Media
Single sign-on is already here. Many people just don't realize it.
Great designers make it easy for people to log in to their website with social media "Login" buttons. Those work great because anyone with a social-media account can quickly log in to the site without the hassle of filling out forms and going through email validation.
For those few users who don't have a social-media account, well-designed sites still allow them to log in with their email address.
7. Wearable Is the Next Mobile
Thanks to the appearance of the Apple Watch, it's almost certainly the case that wearable technology is here to stay.
Designers who care about the future are already anticipating that and designing their sites to look professional on wearable devices. That means they're producing user interfaces that are easy to navigate and likely to convert even on very tiny screens.
8. And Yet Mobile Is Getting Bigger
Although wearable technology is certainly going to gain traction going forward, there's another mobile trend that's moving in the opposite direction. People are opting for bigger screens on their mobile devices.
The emergence of the phablet (a cross between a phone and a tablet) makes it clear that there's a market for mobile devices with large screens. That's why designers are ensuring that their responsive development accommodates screens of various sizes.
9. Swiping Is the New Tapping
We can probably thank Tinder for making swiping so popular. Users of that dating app swipe right or left depending on whether or not they like somebody's profile.
Now, designers of non-dating apps are implementing more "swipe" input in their user interfaces as users seem to gravitate towards swiping over tapping.
10. Pop-Ups Are Gone
You've probably visited more than one site on your smartphone that used a pop-up that simply didn't fit on the screen. In many cases, when the pop-up does fit on the screen, the font is so small that it's difficult to read.
Nowadays, mobile designers are looking for alternative means to reach people and ditching pop-ups.