You probably know this already, but the number is so big that it needs reiteration – there are over 2 billion smartphone users worldwide.
That number is growing daily, especially when it comes to increased use of portable devices such as tablets and wearables. This penetration of mobile devices has naturally led to the explosion of app development, with many startup businesses and enterprising bodies providing specialized services through mobile applications. The new technologies, ideas and data that continue to form each year are grouped together and called ‘trends’. So here’s looking at some incredible (and some obvious and expected) trends to keep your eye on in the app development field this year.

2017’s most important mobile app development trends
1.Cross-platform app development is on the rise
A modern lifestyle calls for uninterrupted access to the internet, instant messaging and the comfort of an on-screen portal. Since so many users these days have laptops, desktops and smartphones, developers have realized that there is a need to transition from using desktop applications to portable ones for their users. As a result, options such as app syncing, cloud storage and even UI settings for the same app on different screens will be given a high priority in 2017.

smart iot apps- source- zdnet

2.Functional app animation for enhanced UX
Without compromising on the efficiency of the apps, developers will focus on making the User Experience (UX) more engaging through functional app animation. For example, when touching to open a photo album on the phone, the resulting transition before the photos appear could be the turning of a page. Using creative-yet-logical animations like this one makes the app feel more interactive and fun to use. For this very reason, app developers will look to incorporate this into their UX in the near future.
3.Smart IoT apps that can manage and visualize big data
The growth seen on the Internet of Things (IoT) front, though still in its nascent stages, is not slowing down any time soon. Fields such as healthcare, road safety and agriculture have already began to make use of IoT devices such as sensors that send live data to servers that can perform live changes. However, with so much data floating around, IoT app developers have found it necessary to sort this data into a useful, readable format that even the user can understand and interact with. As a result, visually-collated Big Data is touted to be the next big trend in 2017.

screen size based navigation source- flickr
4.Screen size based navigation – the next step in UI
The launch of the Apple Watch in April 2015 became more successful than anyone expected with 4.2 million initial sales. It wasn’t long before more tech companies began rolling out their own wearables. In addition, there is now increased usage of ‘phablets,’ which are smartphones slightly smaller than tablets but larger than regular phones. Because of this, app UI needs to be designed in a way that users can easily navigate through it without confusion and clutter. A good example of this is Google Keyboard’s one-handed mode.
5.Location-based services
Heard of Tinder? In the dating app niche, Tinder is an LBS that allows you to meet potential partners in your current geographical location. But LBS have a wider range of possibilities, including the usage of beacon technology for targeted marketing in retail stores, roadside assistance, traffic updates and even credit card fraud prevention. Companies are sure to take advantage of a simple GPS location in order to provide users with useful services and perks. While this is not an entirely new trend, it will pick up and become stronger this year, thanks to the success of existing location-based services.

phone security source - flickr
6.Built-in mobile security
Increased mobile phone transactions, users depending entirely on portable devices for email and business correspondence, storage of passwords and contact details – all these things make a smartphone and its apps incredibly convenient. But with convenience comes a great concern over security. Even the simplest of apps require access to your information. So app developers will have to provide protection in their apps to ensure users will trust them to handle their sensitive personal data. It won’t just be banking applications that advertise their security anymore. Some experts in the field claim that security will be the biggest trend to watch out for this year.
7.Integrating mobile apps into marketing strategies
Businesses will never stop looking for better ways to market their products/services and mobile apps have opened a huge host of clever and far-reaching campaign possibilities. For example, a café or food app on one’s phone can use LBS to get the customer to ‘check-in’ online in order to receive discounts, freebies or coupons. This means that the user’s check in data appears on the user’s friends’ and contacts’ feeds, giving the café free advertising.

app animation - source- pixabay
8.Material design
When it comes to mobile apps, User Interface plays a pivotal role in the app’s success rate. A bad UI for a useful service could cause users to immediately uninstall and look for a better option. This is why the current app trend leans towards a clean, basic UI that the user can easily navigate. However, solid color is perceived as static and boring – and hence, in 2017, transparency, subtle shadows and highlights will make an appearance in the surface design of mobile apps.
Technological trends advance, improve, change and even die out. But what remains constant is the development and testing of new concepts that come up in the field. Because of this, you can be sure that an app development, career holds many opportunities in the coming years for an eager professional. Several educational institutes across India have started realizing this potential and offer certificate and diploma courses to train young individuals with the essential skills required to step into this field. In fact, some colleges and programs, like Seamedu’s mobile app development course, also offer degrees in the subject.
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