Top Mobile App Trends in 2018

Written by Kevin Liew on 01 May 2018
10,657 Views • Mobile Apps

By 2020, mobile apps will generate around 189 billion U.S. dollars in revenue through app stores and in-app advertising. As a result, it is far more important now to design with the user in mind. While there are so many amazing app designs out there, these top mobile app trends are here to stay because they improve both productivity and usability.

Color Gradients

In the past year, many agencies and designers have adopted the choice of using gradient colors within their work especially when designing mobile app interfaces. White Noise+ is a perfect app that uses color gradients to create a dynamic experience for its users. The purpose of the app is to provide users with ambient sounds for relaxing, meditation and sleeping.

When adapting color gradients, designers often choose a single color then from there they can branch out to create different shades within that same tone. The use of color gradients stimulate creativity and innovative. Using this technique, designers can give mobile app designs a more modern and sleek feel. In addition, this style can be mixed with a flat aesthetic or muted color combinations. The colors can be subtle or a mix of stunning palettes that infuse together seamlessly to create a family of colors. This trend keeps audience engaged and can easily combine with other looks to create vividly beautiful tones making it one of the hottest trends to watch in 2018.

Custom Illustration

When we think of mobile app design, we often think of patterns created using computer applications such as Photoshop or InDesign; however, a new trend has emerged that is going to add more human touch into the world of mobile apps. Custom illustration plays an important role in shaping mobile app designs in 2018 because it allows mobile app designs for freedom of interpretation.

Quit Genius implement an interactive design that allow users to effectively interact with the app. Whether it’s using graphic design software or inspired by their own drawings, designers can create works of art similar to that of hand-drawn paintings or paper cut patterns. Custom illustration is intriguing, distinctive and alluring because it gives a touch of personality to otherwise static mobile apps, evoking emotions through their visual interpretation of the world.

Functional Animations

Humans are often visually creatures; therefore, when we interact with mobile apps, we often get distracted and forget why we were there in the first place. By using functional animations within mobile apps designs, we can improve human interactions and enhance user experience by using the animation to guide us throughout our digital journey.

Duolingo increases productivity by using functional animations to guide users through its features and allow them to learn a new language much faster. Functional animations can help users stay focus when making a purchase within an application or it can be used for online learning. Using an animated friendly approach, users can experience the full capability where otherwise they would have not been able to. By including elements of functional animations, mobile app developers can ensure that their app are useful as well as entertaining for all users.

Facial Recognition Design

Apple, one of the biggest pioneers in facial recognition technology, is constantly working to improve facial identification and security for its users. In recent years, the technology surrounding this concept has been steadily improving. Users can now use 3D interface to unlock their phones with ease and confidence. Facial recognition technology is so intricately designed that it can recognize up to 80 nodal points. In addition, biometric systems work in four stages: Capture, extract, compare, and match.

The technologies surrounding this concept is nearly perfect that even identical twins with the same genetics and similar facial features can’t fool the app. Identical faces of family members can be identified just through minimal alterations or through subtle differences from life experience. In 2018, facial recognition will be taking over due to possibility that Apple and other major mobile players are aiming to phase out fingerprints identification.

According to Financial Express, 1 in 50,000 people having similar fingerprints, which is a security risk for many mobile developers and users. Thus, many security experts believe that facial recognition is more secure than using fingerprints when unlocking confidential information through your phone. As worries over security increases, technology will improve to take this trend to a new height in 2018.

Linear User Flow

Inspired by the parallax design, linear user flow allows users to compare various options and make quick choices. For example, there are different prices for users to choose within the Uber app. As a result, Uber has taken advantage of linear user flow design to allow users to compare prices and pick whatever fits them the best.

By integrating this design, Uber allow customers to make decisions for themselves and empower them to make informed purchase decisions. This concept was certainly created with the users in mind by mapping out their journey and roadblocks. While this trend is fairly new, it’s definitely here to stay since it offers solutions to otherwise complex problems.

Instagram: A Well-Executed Mobile App

As one of the most influential and powerful social networking app, Instagram is always ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing the latest trends. Being the major photo and video sharing service, the app already has features corresponding latest trends mentioned above. Color gradients and functional animations are used to improve user interactions. In addition, stories are displayed in a linear user flow where content can be easily discovered as users scroll through horizontally.


When designs are created with usability in mind, you can be sure to find the best design trends to watch. As many mobile app designers continue to solve problems and improve user experience, we will see more design concepts that are both creative and functional.

A great design need to incorporate a customer journey map in order to truly understand their needs. These top mobile app trends incorporate functional designs and interactive user experience and are sure to stay relevant throughout 2018 and well into the future.  

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