A web designer knows that User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) create a visitor’s first impression of a website. Users have high expectations for responsiveness, and reward good UX/UI with conversions and a low bounce rate. The mobile revolution has ported these high expectations onto the mobile platform.
Mobile usage no longer happens just because a user can’t access a desktop computer. 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work. Smartphone usage, though, comes with a built-in sense of immediacy. According to a Google study, 70% of mobile users take action within an hour of their search, with 61% going so far as to call the business. Users expect instantaneous results on mobile, and they reward great UX/UI with quick conversion. Seamless UX/UI for mobile, then, is even more important than for traditional websites. Here are 3 UX/UI trends that will keep your firm on the cutting edge of mobile design.
Related Content: Web Design Trends Guesstimates for 2014
#1 More Intuitive Wireframing Tools
Any mobile site begins with the wireframe. As mobile matures, there are more tools available for intuitive wireframing. In short: less coding, more drag-and-drop. UXPin or Axure are prime examples of the sort of tool that makes mobile UX/UI easy. Both tools also has a very clean design.
Sketchy Mobile Wireframe Elements
While you’re at this stage, you can also choose a wireframing tool with a heavier emphasis on design. For another intuitive wireframing tool, there’s the flat Free Dark UI Kit for mobile apps. For a more organic, simple look, you could choose Sketchy Mobile Wireframe Elements. Although these tools approach simple design from two different places, they share the elements you need: mobile-friendly vector and design elements for fast, easy prototyping.
#2 Access to Lots of Simple Design Elements
Sleekness and simplicity are both trendy, in a big way. 2014 has been a big year for flat design, and in addition to its aesthetic qualities, it looks good on mobile platforms. When working on UX/UI for mobile, you’ll want to work with programs that make simple flat and layered design easy.
It’s worth drawing a distinction between flat design and layered design. Flat design is more 2-dimensional than layered design, while layers preserve some sense of depth by utilizing the Z-axis. Whether you choose to go totally flat or use some layers, make use of the many free UX/UI tools online that have simple design elements.
A site like Premium Pixels will give you a good idea of how many freebies are online and ready to use in your work. The site has hundreds of free PhotoShop Documents (PSDs) available, enabling you to design everything from icons and buttons to maps and fonts. When you find appealing elements online, you can use a tool like PNG Express to fine-tune them. The tool breaks the dimensions of everything on a selected site, giving you an idea of why good design works.
#3 Streamlining the Collaboration Process
As any designer knows, the process of creation is –for better or worse—a dialogue. Creating a site or app involves aligning the goals of the customer, the designer, and the future user. In practice, this often means long email chains and overflowing spreadsheets.
With all this going on behind-the-scenes, the mobile design process is long overdue for a simpler way to prototype. Enter InVisionApp, a free tool with an easy drag-and-drop interface and the ability to leave instant feedback that’s easy to follow. InVision is currently BestVendor’s highest-rated wireframing app, and it’s easy to see why. In addition to its qualities as a design platform, InVision’s real-time collaboration feature lets creators and stakeholders comment and annotate easily. Remove the step of parsing long email chains from your workflow. The future of mobile UX/UI design is in programs that streamline this process—and that, of course, have all the tools to make a great, responsive website.
These three trends are going to make mobile design easier. Designers working on mobile sites and mobile apps will do well in 2014 and beyond to look for tools that fit these trends. Have you found any tools that you’re fond of? Or noticed trends that are making your design work easier? Let us know in the comments below.