MOBILE DEVELOPMENT TRENDS 2021: WHAT NEEDS TO BE IMPLEMENTED TODAY TO BECOME A LEADER TOMORROW?

Mobile development trends 2021: what needs to be implemented today to become a leader tomorrow?
Mobile development trends 2021: what needs to be implemented today to become a leader tomorrow?

Sergey Balakin, head of mobile development department of IT integrator AWG.RU

Standards in mobile development sometimes change faster than they can be implemented. To stay one step ahead, it is important to focus on emerging trends, methods, and approaches. We’ve decided to save you time searching to help your business grow faster, and we’ve compiled some of the top trends you need to know about if you want to be a pioneer in your niche and be head and shoulders above the competition.

In this article, we divided the trends into two categories: global (long-term), which concerns IT giants and are designed for a mass audience, and short-term (short-term), which need to be implemented already in 2021. Let’s start with the second.

Mobile commerce

This trend dominated in 2018, 2019 and continued to flourish in 2020. More and more major businesses are utilizing mobile apps to generate revenue. From large retailers to individual personal brands, apps help you make money.

According to research by Criteo, in 2021, Russians will make more purchases on mobile apps and omnichannel platforms. Every second Russian during the pandemic installed at least one online shopping application.

Now we have almost come to the point when the presence of a mobile application will become a prerequisite for maintaining the competitiveness of companies in the market.

What do I need to consider?

Mobile traffic will grow, and for your business, a mobile application can become an additional opportunity to develop and increase profits. However, this is not relevant for everyone – before deciding to develop a new service, you need to analyze your business goals and requests. In this case, the starting point can be an audit of the IT architecture, which will help to identify areas of growth and draw up a road map of improvements.

Mobile wallets

Mobile payment methods are also evolving. Mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are on the upward trend.

The ongoing pandemic and the proliferation of NFC-enabled devices have boosted the popularity of contactless payments in brick-and-mortar stores. So, in October-November of this year, the share of free payment assistance in the total money turnover of card transactions increased to 23% against 18% a year earlier, that is, now about every fourth payment on cards Russians make through a smartphone.

Wallet mixture should become a standard feature for every application that processes transactions. And in the coming years, the penetration rate of mobile wallets in applications is expected to grow significantly.

What do I need to consider?

In our experience, it takes several months to implement a mobile wallet and to do this, you need to foresee the budget and time for this function in advance.

Creation of mobile applications for internal use

Increasingly, companies are developing applications for internal needs with different goals:

● business automation (logistics processes, communication and informatization, document flow, personnel management, and work processes, communication with the client);

● improving the quality, convenience, and speed of employees’ work (for example, creating shared access to files, connecting instant messengers, social networks, and trackers for internal communication, as well as project and task management systems).

The use of applications improves the stability of workflows and minimizes the number of operational errors. Also, mobile services can quickly improve productivity, which is especially important for actively growing companies.

What do I need to consider?

The development of mobile applications for internal use is needed by large and fast-growing companies that need to automate processes and increase productivity. If your business is not focused on scaling, the application will not provide you with significant benefits.

Motion design

The trend of introducing elements of motion design into mobile interfaces continues to show dynamic growth. Users are excited by the opportunity of interactive communication with web services, and companies are actively using various techniques in application development, for example:

· 3D elements;

· Complex visual effects;

· Background animation;

· Animation of logos;

· Smooth transitions.

In terms of graphics, designers continue to stick to minimalism, while using new visual techniques. Among the trends are the use of:

· Kinetic typography;

· Thin lines;

· Fragmented texts;

· Morphing;

· Isometric design;

· Gradients.

These and many other elements will help you convey a unique style and entertain the user, improving behavioral factors and increasing the rating of the mobile application.

To increase engagement and improve the UI / UX for your mobile app users, try refining it using motion design techniques:

• guide users through your application with animation showing which steps to take next;

• react to user actions with a catchy animation;

• Demonstrate the relationship between different components of the application.

What do I need to consider?

If a business is interested in the visual component (fashion, accessories, sporting goods), then the use of new design technologies will become an additional effective way to attract attention.

Augmented reality (AR)

Augmented reality technologies will continue to evolve in 2021. Already, AR functions are increasingly being used in mobile applications for a wide range of tasks and scenarios.

For example, furniture retailers, household appliances and electronics companies, cosmetic and fashion brands like to use augmented reality technology. With the help of a mobile application, the user can understand in advance how the table in the living room will look and whether the new refrigerator will fit into the kitchen interior, as well as “try on” a virtual costume and try a new make-up. An example of AR use is the Live View feature in Google Maps, which adds cues to real-life images captured through a smartphone camera and helps users better navigate routes.

AR can also be used in educational applications and for web services for creating graphic content (by analogy with face filters in Instagram and Snapchat).

What should be considered?

AR technology has a huge number of possibilities for application in various fields, and, besides, it works great on the most massive wearable device – a smartphone. However, to develop a high-quality mobile app with AR, you need to not only accurately define your business goals but also create good content (animation, realistic 3D, and 2D models), which is why it is so important to find experienced IT professionals who can offer a non-template solution. …

Voice search

We are at the beginning of the era of voice search. Every smartphone is now provided with a digital voice attendant (Siri for iPhone, Google Assistant for Android phones). Furthermore, smart talkers with synthetic knowledge are gaining a reputation.

Reasons for moving to voice interfaces:

• Ease of use

For example, children, the elderly and inexperienced users can interact with voice interfaces without the need for training.

• Availability

Digital voice assistants are already a common feature on smartphones. Smart speakers are not yet so widespread, but their price is becoming more affordable, and this is an excellent condition for expansion.

What do I need to consider?

This is a long-term trend, and, rather, it will suit giants and online platforms with impressive traffic. These companies should consider developing their smart speaker application – this will create another channel to increase audience loyalty and increase sales.

iBeacon service

iBeacon is a geolocation beacon design with Bluetooth Low Energy technology. When a client from iPhone (iOS) or Android approaches this device, a notification is displayed on the screen of his smartphone, or a mobile application is launched.

The first beacons for mobile applications were developed back in 2013. But there have been significant advances in this technology over the past few years. The main advantage of beacon technology is contactless marketing. Ultimately, this improves the customer experience on the mobile app.

Beacons can also help track shoppers’ behavior in stores – the iBeacon tag constantly emits a Bluetooth radio signal, and smartphones pick it up at a distance of up to 50 meters and determine the location. You can find out, for example, how much time a user spends in a particular place. The app can automatically initiate a push notification to attract certain items to purchase. When a user walks past a lighthouse, they can be instantly notified of a sale or special offer in that store.

What do I need to consider?

The development of iBeacon is happening very quickly – in a short time, the technology has advanced and established itself in a large number of industries. However, this service is more suitable for large companies and brands that are recognizable to the consumer. It is often unreasonable for developing companies to invest several million in their application and purchase expensive beacon equipment.

Blockchain for cybersecurity

For several years, Bitcoin and other blockchain-related topics have been at the top of tech blogs and reports. Many large companies and organizations are already actively using blockchain as a security tool.

This technology allows you to create a decentralized database, which means that information will be stored in different places, which will complicate the task for hackers.

The use of blockchain is most relevant for web services of financial and medical organizations, where the value of data is very high. However, the reliability of information storage must be kept in mind when developing any application. Keep an eye on the best practices and make sure the development team building your application is security-savvy and skilled enough.

What do I need to consider?

The advantages of blockchain are decentralization, ensuring data integrity, and transparency of transactions. However, the development and implementation of a blockchain-based platform require a team of experienced professionals, appropriate software, and system hardware. Only large corporations can afford this, so common means of security are still an essential component of information security support.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning

AI and machine learning entered mobile app development many years ago. But we are just beginning to understand how large-scale and powerful impact these technologies can have on our lives and how they can be used.

When we think of AI in terms of web service development, chatbots or virtual assistants like Siri or Alice come to mind. However, for building applications, the use cases go far beyond that. Today, AI is changing the process of building applications, from server-side development to user interface.

Examples of AI functions that can be implemented in a mobile application:

· Image recognition;

· Face recognition;

· Classification of text and images;

· Forecasting systems;

· speech recognition;

· Internet advertising.

Machine learning can help you facilitate communication with users and establish personal contact with the buyer, accurately and quickly satisfy his needs, which will lead to more audience engagement and higher conversions. For example, marketers can make the most of data by delving deeper into user behavior, creating dynamic content, and delivering personalization at scale. Thanks to this, it is possible to increase the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, target buyers based on their location, provide them with relevant content across all channels, linking their offline purchases with their online behavior.

What do you need to consider/know?

AI technologies offer significant improvements and can make applications smarter and ultimately improve their performance at all levels and attract additional customer audiences. But most technologies are still quite specialized and are created individually for a specific project, so often the development of a mobile application using AI is associated with significant financial and time costs.

super app creation

super app – mobile applications with an “ecosystem” of several services. They combine several functions, for example: ordering a taxi, delivering food, finding a hotel, taking out insurance. The aim towards producing such letters came to us from Asia, wherever the market was captured by such giants as WeChat, Gojek, and GrabTaxi. In Russia, Yandex, Tinkoff, VTB, Mail.Ru Group (VKontakte) have become flagships among companies using super apps. Today, users are increasingly choosing super apps, because with their help it is possible to receive services from different areas as seamlessly as possible without downloading additional applications to their smartphone.

What do I need to consider?

The trend towards rich application development is evolving, and more and more companies are striving to create services that satisfy several user’s needs at once. However, for now, super apps are available only to international companies and leading market players. When developing their strategy, average market players should consider how they will be able to compete with SuperApp – what unique advantage they have over the giants, for example, a unique service or technology.

Thus, the mobile application is not a parasitic sales channel. This is a separate self-sufficient channel for interaction with customers, which, on the one hand, requires a separate study, on the other hand, must be integrated into the overall development strategy of the company. To combine and build a single effective strategy, companies can seek help from experts to reach the next level.

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