Mobile App Design Trends 2018

Published: January 16, 2017

10 min read

Last updated: May 2, 2022

Mobile is the trend. More and more internet users all over the world switch to the mobile devices. Desktop apps and modern websites look more like mobile apps. Mobile app design trends are trendy everywhere! Or will, at least, be in the nearest future.

Mobile overtook desktop in the global internet consumption

Mobile overtook desktop in the global internet consumption (source - Zenith's Media Consumption Forecasts)

This internet consumption statistics speaks for itself. Mobile overtook desktop already in 2014 and keeps growing.

You definitely need to follow the stream!

Trends in mobile design change all the time. So we decided to tell you about the most important ones.

The Stormotion team analyzed the most common design predictions. That's what we can expect of the Mobile Design Trends.

🤖 Artificial intelligence

Does The Terminator movie scare you? Then be ready to panic now! Smart machines are coming into our lives. Forbes experts say that we will see more artificial intelligence technology in mobile design.

Virtual and augmented reality

One of the most remarkable events in the mobile world in 2016 was the Pokemon Go release. It had the boom effect in the industry. The enthusiasts will definitely try to surpass its success. So augmented reality will be one of the new mobile UI trends for sure.

The Pokemon Go app

The Pokemon Go app

The evolution of the virtual reality technologies will be the fastest in the gaming apps area. On par with the increase of devices tech capacity, the apps can have more complicated features.

The improvement of the virtual reality devices has a huge impact as well. Nowadays, they can be easily connected with a smartphone to explore bright virtual worlds anywhere.

The virtual reality devices are developing fast

The virtual reality devices are developing fast (image by Ramotion)

Conversational UX and chatbots

Conversational UX development is a part of the design evolution.

It seems that a huge number of tasks like ordering pizza will be available through voice command interfaces.

A good example of chatbots usage would be banking apps where you can check your balance or block the card when it’s lost.

Conversational UX

Conversational UX (image by Jackie)

The technologies like chatbots and voice commands have lots of flaws at present. They are often blamed for the lack of empathy and misunderstandings. Hopefully, they will be improved in the near future.

The necessity of the improved Conversational UX will definitely stimulate the evolution of voice recognition technologies.

📽️ From static to dynamic

Videos instead of images

Mobile users prefer watching videos on their devices over other functions. Just take a look at the statistics below.
The video content sharing via mobile traffic data will definitely grow.

Share of video data in the mobile traffic

Share of video data in the mobile traffic (source - ISPreview)

Of course, the mobile internet became faster and more qualified and as a result – it’s easier to download the video content. And it’s not the only reason.

Video allows visual storytelling. It’s always more efficient and interactive than text. That's why many companies go for streaming app development services.

You could say that images are a visual tool as well. But there is a huge difference - images are static. The video gives you a dynamic experience. That's why users prefer videos. And we predict that they will do more in the future.

Video in a mobile app

Video in a mobile app (image by Krijn Rijshouver)

Full-Screen Experiences

With the latest release of the most advanced iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9, it became clear that we may expect frameless design among newest mobile design trends. Borderless displays combined with additional screen space offer users full immersion in content. So should apps!

Offer your users full-screen experience

Offer your users full-screen experience (image by Happy.)

The ability to meet your audience’s video quality requirements will directly impact the UX. It would be a crime to stream pixelated videos or images on borderless displays, so make sure that your content is in the HD quality.

Also, it’s important to make sure that screen is clear from any excessive navigation elements that may distract users’ attention. Actually, this is the main idea behind the full-screen experience: nothing should stand between the user and the content.

Read Also

How to Update Your App for iPhone X


Static pictures are less appealing for the users than videos. They are still used in the mobile design, though. Traditional photos are now frequently replaced with illustrations.

An Illustration is more personalized and unique than any photo. It demonstrates the nature of the product or brand and puts a user in a good mood. Using illustrations gives designers more freedom for experiments.

Illustration in a mobile app | One of our client apps

Illustration in a mobile app | One of our client apps

Custom Illustration Interfaces

The desire to be unique and stand out of the crowd affects UI design trends as well. About 20-25% of users abandon an app after the first use, so you only have one try to impress them. And it would be difficult to do only with cliche UI solutions.

The best mobile app design always includes something custom and eye-catching. For example, this may be hand-drawing, paper-cut style or simple style illustrations.

Custom illustrations attract users and make your application more memorable

Custom illustrations attract users and make your application more memorable (image by Studio–JQ)

It not only makes your application more distinctive and attractive but gives it some personality and uniqueness.


Updates in the mobile coding technologies allow the use of more animation in the mobile experience.

Through animation, UI designers can direct the user’s behavior. It also makes the application more interactive and entertaining for the users by creating a wonderful user experience.

Animation in Text a Letter | By Stormotion

Animation in Text a Letter | By Stormotion

See Also

Text a Letter: Our Case Study

✌️ Gestures

There are two basic gestures for the mobile users - swiping and scrolling. But there are so many gestures we use in our day-to-day life. They could become a part of our mobile experience too!

Nowadays developers will likely be adding new gestures to UI. This will improve usability and retention rates through great user experience. It will become one of the new mobile UX trends.

User's gestures

User's gestures

Facial Gestures

Undoubtedly, face recognition becomes more popular with every coming year. Think of iPhone X. Nowadays the face recognition technology is already used for entertainment (for example, animoji or Snapchat lenses) and authentication purposes. Yet, it’s potential isn’t fully discovered yet.

Face recognition has the huge potential

Face recognition has the huge potential (image by Peter Main ✖︎)

During the next years we expect the increasing number of apps that will interact with user’s facial gestures. Replacing touch and swipe gestures with facial ones (where it’s possible for now) is going to improve the UX and shape the way we use our mobile applications.

🎨 Design approach


No surprises, minimalism is still trendy in both iOS and Android development. The complex reduction is still a primary task for designers. The content on the screen matters more than an impressive UI design.

Minimalistic design in combination with good usability can turn a simple app into a strong communication or marketing tool. So it'll rule the mobile design world this year.

Minimalistic design of a mobile app

Minimalistic design of a mobile app (image by Ghani Pradita)

Material design

It seems that material design isn’t going to lose ground this year in the app UI.

Material design

Material design (image by Shourav Chowdhury)

However, it’ll face the challenges of adopting the augmented/virtual reality technologies that are going to be the trend of the year. So the material design is going to evolve.


We can’t say it’s a completely new trend in the mobile design, but it’s still going to be actual. Cards are the best way to represent information on the screen. They help to organize and display data on the screens of the different size.

We predict them to be a part of the app design trends for at least one more year.

Cards are the best way to represent information on the screen.

(image by Aurelien Salomon)

Bright colors and cool fonts

Mobile interfaces are going to become more colorful. Feel free to experiment with hues and color combinations, but make sure they work for the good of your content.

Bright colors in the mobile interface

Bright colors in the mobile interface (*image by Arcangelo FioreCards are the best way to represent information on the screen. *)

Typography has been underestimated for a long time. Designers were more concentrated on the content and navigation, layouts and colors. But now fonts will be taken into consideration as well.

Fonts matter for the mobile interface

Fonts matter for the mobile interface (image by Nimasha Perera)

Colors For Delivering The Functional Experience

Colors will be used in the mobile design not only for aesthetics. They will mean even more as a part of the functional experience.

By using different color schemes, designers will be able to guide a user through the app or separate different features and activities. Also, designers will continue to use colors to provide visual feedback and hints - this mobile app design trend isn’t going anywhere.

Designers will continue to use color for functional purposes

Designers will continue to use color for functional purposes (image by Zhenya Rynzhuk)

🤳 Interactive design

It's not a secret that the successful apps are interactive and always dictate trends. Interactivity increases the retention rate of the app as the users become more engaged in it.


Microinteractions will remain a trend in the modern mobile app design. They give users visual feedback from an app and create the positive user experience.

A microinteraction

A microinteraction

The sounds in a mobile app

An app can interact with the user not only through visual feedback. The audio effects, even small and tiny, will have a great impact on the user that will increase the retention rate. We believe that sound will be more widely used in the mobile apps.

📲 Changes in navigation

Hidden navigation

Hamburger menu won’t be on our apps anymore. We will have more creative navigation - the hidden menus. It only appears when you tap on a particular area of the screen or use a particular gesture.

The Chrome app already uses hidden navigation.

The Chrome app

The Chrome app


Modular scrolling is going to be the trend for the content-heavy applications. It allows reading separated columns or rows of the information, therefore the interface is clearer.

Modular scrolling

Modular scrolling (image by Wojciech Zielinski)

Another option would be an infinite scrolling. You are familiar with it if you use the Instagram app.

The Instagram app

The Instagram app (image by Joy-Vincent Niemantsverdriet)


Parallax scrolling has its own charm and gives a user the feeling of dynamism. It’ll definitely stay in the mobile app design trends 2018.


Parallax (image by Jardson Almeida)

🙋 User-appropriate design

Failure mapping

While creating UX, designers usually consider perfect users, who follow the designed path on the app. But what if the user goes astray from this path? The need for failure mapping appears here to make sure that even a non-ideal user will have a positive user experience.

Failure mapping considers a non-ideal user's actions on the app

Failure mapping considers a non-ideal user's actions on the app


On the other hand, there is a huge number of experienced mobile users who don’t need their handheld while using the app. We are sure that this year we will see more applications with non-linear interaction. Navigation will become more divergent giving the users more freedom for making decisions in the app.

For example, The Amazon app. It has many functions and users can choose which ones to use and how.

The Amazon app

The Amazon app (image by Traver)

✅ Summary

So the latest mobile app design trends 2018 are:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality technologies application for the mobile devices.
  • Conversational interfaces and chatbots.
  • Video and animation instead of traditional photos.
  • Fresh and bright design.
  • Interactive UI.
  • Smart navigation.
  • Design adapted for a user.

Fresh ideas are coming!

Contact us!

Read also

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