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6 Innovative App Design Trends for 2021

With an eye towards crafting a compelling mobile app experience, check out these latest design trends for 2021. It’s essential reading for any forward-looking mobile developer or designer.

When your company plans on releasing a mobile app as part of its next digital venture, a fresh and modern design becomes essential. After all, an outdated looking experience makes keeping users engaged a difficult process. Whatever the reason for building an app, ensuring its users stay inspired needs to be an ultimate goal.


During the initial phases of a mobile app project, it helps to understand the latest app design trends influencing the iOS and Android platforms. The visual aspects obviously matter, but don’t short-shrift the app’s usability and other interface considerations. Remember, your organization wants to be known as an innovator, so an obsolete, cookie-cutter look and feel needs to be avoided.


With an eye towards crafting a compelling mobile app experience, check out these latest design trends for 2021. It’s essential reading for any forward-looking mobile developer or designer. Maybe your organization becomes a trendsetter with an engaging app that breaks the mold? 

Designing a Comfortable Viewing Experience 

Since mobile users tend to be tethered to their smartphones for hours a day, an app reducing eye strain provides some relief. Ensure the UI leverages a clearly-designed information architecture; making data and other visualizations easy to read and follow. Also select the color scheme wisely, focusing on soothing colors and an attractive user experience. 

Skeuomorphism in a New Wrapper 

Skeuomorphic design concepts highlighted the early years of the iOS platform. Back when Apple Books was known as iBooks, its primary interface looked like a real-life bookcase. Over time, those realistic UI designs became obsolete, although music apps emulating classic synthesizers, like the Minimoog and Moog Model 15, still use them effectively.


In 2021, a new version of skeuomorphism, called neumorphism, is gaining in popularity. This design concept leverages real world imagery, but in a modern wrapper rendered in 3D. As such, the days of flat buttons and other user interface elements appear to be over. Consider using neumorphism as a core principle of your app’s interface design. 


Ironically, even that “old-fashioned” traditional skeuomorphic approach is becoming trendy again. App developers increasingly use analog design concepts like paper textures, old school typography, and yellowed backgrounds. However, only leverage this technique if it fits with the rest of the app’s approach to graphics. 

A User Interface Providing a Sense of Depth 

With an eye towards crafting a UI with depth, app designers increasingly use shadows and layering; providing a 3D feel to an app’s interface. In fact, it’s a design concept highly compatible with neumorphism. Consider using both approaches on your organization’s next app to give it an attractive yet modern look and feel. 

Innovative Swiping Aids User Interaction Within an App 

The finger swipe remains an important interface gesture when using any well-designed app. It’s a key aspect of the mobile app experience on a smartphone or tablet. However, today’s app developers are making swiping more noticeable in a variety of ways. 


One method simply adds animated graphics to make the swiping event more noticeable. Also consider using finger swipes to access additional data or functionality depending on the app design. This approach is a growing design trend for 2021.  

Geometric Art Becoming in Vogue 

Another growing trend in mobile app design involves the use of geometric shapes and other forms of abstract art. It’s a graphical design style reminiscent of the 1980s, back when the Apple II dominated the home PC market. The key when crafting a design using this approach involves not distracting the user from the underlying functionality of the app.


While this approach works in concert with a design aimed at reducing eye strain, combining it with old school skeuomorphism might clash. Keep this mind when designing the wireframes and prototype graphics for the app. 

Providing an Immersive App Experience 

It seems like virtual reality has been on the precipice of critical mass since the movie, The Lawnmower Man, almost 30 years ago. Still, VR and AR continue to make inroads in technology, including in mobile app design. Any company providing home improvement products benefits from an app that includes significant AR features. This use-case generally requires the app to use AR for great visuals in addition to supporting relevant functionality, like seeing how a certain paint color looks in a room. 


Note that including these elements in mobile apps requires a significant programming effort to ensure a truly immersive experience. Still, it’s a great way to add interactive and immersive elements to an app, ensuring customers use it over and over again.


If your organization needs help designing and building its next mobile app, connect with the team at 923 Digital. As experts in crafting complete digital ventures for our clients, expect an experienced approach combining state of the art technical acumen with the hottest mobile design concepts. Schedule some time with us to discuss your future needs.  


Tim Ludy
April 23, 2021