5 mobile design trends to look out for in 2016

Consumers are spending more time consuming media on their mobile devices. The CMO Council reports that mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop media time at 42%. User experience is the central focus of the most relevant design trends, and perfecting this experience is even more essential when it comes to mobile design. According to Invision App, 85% of adults think that a company’s mobile website should be as good or better than their desktop website. This year’s emerging mobile design trends aim to make mobile sites and apps more appealing, intuitive, and user-friendly.


Simplifying gestures

Mobile Design UX Google Material Design Gesture Touch Mechanics

Photo credit: Google

When designing for mobile, it’s important to consider how users interact with their mobile devices. Because of this, incorporating gestures into mobile design is necessary. According to Google, gestures in mobile design are divided into two groups: touch mechanics (how fingers interact with a screen) and touch activities (the results of these interactions).

Mobile Design UX Screen Size

Photo credit: Design Modo

As mobile design evolves, designers are working toward incorporating the most simple gestures, and adjust them to take into account the differences between interacting with mobile phones and tablets because of their sizes. Designers have to take in account comfort and a user’s range of motion on devices with larger screens. Swipes and taps, when precisely placed, are intuitive and allow for an uninterrupted mobile experience.

Streamlining for wearable technology

Mobile Design UX Wearable Devices

Photo credit: Marco.org

Because wearable devices are becoming increasingly popular, mobile design and UI have to adapt to these newer formats. Gartner, Inc. predicts that 274.6 million wearable electronic devices will be sold worldwide in 2016, an increase of 18.4 percent from 232.0 million units in 2015. Smartwatch usage will see the most significant growth, and that increase in popularity calls for streamlining. When designing for wearables, don’t just shrink down UI. Focus on showing the user what’s necessary, and what’s easy to assess when glanced at.

Material design

Mobile Design UX Material Design

Photo credit: Google developer’s blog

Google’s material design style language is becoming important for both web and mobile design. Material design offers a new dimension to the flat design craze by creating depth through the incorporation of gradients and card layouts.  “It’s serving to focus attention and maintain continuity throughout the user experience. The feedback is subtle and clear and transitions are meaningful.” said Nathan Streu, the Google Play UX lead.

Minimal fonts

mobile design trends, font

Photo credit: Type Wolf

When designing for mobile, fonts need to capitalize on the small amount of available space. Sans-serif fonts becoming even more popular because they are legible on various screen resolutions and can easily be scaled to create a visual hierarchy. Subdued color contrast between the background and the font color and intentional tracking between letters are two techniques that will be used to make sans-serif fonts even more legible.

Motion animation

Motion Design UX Motion animation Y Media Labs, The Ultimate Mobile Design Trends for 2016

Photo credit: Y Media Labs

The human eye is naturally drawn to movement. Because of this, expect to see motion animations used to bring attention to a focal point, and help tell a story. Motion animations on mobile devices should be used add interest while still having a function that enhances UX.


Mobile technology is constantly changing and becoming increasingly popular because it’s often the user’s most convenient option. With that in mind, design has to adapt to ensure that mobile apps and web pages are streamlined and take the user’s experience into account. The best mobile design trends highlight the interplay between form and function, ultimately putting the user first.

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Carine A.

Written by Carine A.