As a relatively new industry, iPhone app development is constantly on the move, and at times can seem unpredictable. With so many new apps being launched all the time, and with the constant developments in smartphone technology, it sometimes seems like app design and user interface techniques are entirely different from one day to the next. But through the noise of all these developments, clear trends start to emerge, and we can start to see what this industry will look like in 2013 and beyond. Here are a few things to look for in the future.
Get Used to “Flat” Design
An emerging trend in web design in 2012 was “flat” design. This type of design is well exemplified in Windows 8, which employs a series of “flat” icons free of shadows and gradients sitting on a two dimensional surface. In contrast to what many Apple users have gotten used to in recent years with interfaces like Safari and iOS 6, many iPhone apps are now going “flat” to keep up with this emerging trend.
Say Goodbye to “Skeuomorphism”
Another design trend to look for in 2013 will be the end of “skeuomorphism,” or apps that look like physical objects. Instead of designing a virtual notepad that looks like a paper notepad, for example, many app developers are now eschewing this design principle as old-fashioned and unnecessary. Contemporary designers are now embracing a wide variety of displays that throw off the shackles of skeuomorphic design and allow them to create apps that move beyond the limitations that come with physical objects.
Look for Hidden Menus
In addition to looking different, many 2013 apps will also start to “feel” different. With so much value being placed on clean interfaces these days, designers are beginning to find clever new ways to “hide” menu items out of plain sight. Some feel that even though this type of menu will involve more tapping, users will appreciate the clean feel that this type of design brings. Look for all sorts of new ideas in menus and navigation tools in 2013 as users get used to more tapping, and apps start to emphasize looks over usability.
Get Ready for iOS 7
This July, the biggest bombshell to date in app development dropped. iOS 7, which was released to developers on July 8th, introduced a huge range of new features that look very different from what was available in iOS 6. The new mobile operating system could totally change the way that iPhone apps are made in the future. Developers are still catching up to the changes that iOS 7 will bring when it is publicly released this fall, but one change that users can definitely expect to see is the use of – you guessed it – “flat” design, so get ready to say goodbye to those bubbly 3D icons that have become so familiar. Look for the design and user features in iOS 7 to dictate any major app trends that come out past the fall of 2013. Those interested in iPhone app development should also be sure to pay attention to changing trends with other devices as well. Because of recent advancements in cloud-based technology, users are now able to transfer information between devices easier than ever before. Look for cross-device usability to be another dominant trend in app development as this industry continues to evolve.