The main word of the early 2020s is “pandemic”, a phenomenon that turned the lives of many and influenced literally all areas of business. This concerns mobile development to the greatest extent, because due to the fact that people are switching to a remote work format, observing the self-isolation regime, leaving home less often, the time they spend online has increased. Despite the softening of the covid restrictions, according to the e-marketer forecast, in 2022, on average, people will spend on mobile applications 90% of their daily time spent on the Internet – this will amount to almost 4 hours. The development industry should respond to this with a corresponding growth, because the statistics of demand for applications is as follows: according to a study by the Statista.com portal, in the first half of 2021 alone, the number of downloads of various applications in the Apple App Store and Google Play reached 72.5 billion.
We thought about what areas of mobile app development will be relevant in 2022, what trends await us and what features will be in the top. We do not expect innovative solutions in the coming year, it is worth focusing on what is already in demand in the market, or on those trends that are just beginning to appear in the industry, but show their promise.
1. Low-Code and No-Code Development
NCDP and LCDP platforms are gaining popularity due to the growing popularity of the mobile application development industry itself. These solutions allow even companies with limited resources to create new products. No- and low-code technologies are also good for testing a hypothesis – whether an idea will enter the market or not. The development process is greatly simplified with a variety of drag-and-drop tools, flowcharts, user-friendly visual interface. According to forecasts, revenues of the low-code development market by 2030 will reach $ 187 billion and will demonstrate more than 15 times growth in 10 years. 45% of customers already give preference to low-code development due to the fact that this solution reduces dependence on highly qualified specialists.
2. Cross-platform applications
We’ve already written about the benefits of both native and cross-platform development and which industries are suitable for both technologies. Many representatives of the global mobile development industry argue that it is cross-platform applications that will be trending in 2022, and that Flutter is the future of application development. This allows you to reach a large audience of users, optimizes the costs of launching a product, and shortens the time for its creation. And since the winner in the market is sometimes determined by the time of appearance on it, cross-platform development is increasingly chosen for developing MVP and testing hypotheses for its flexibility and compatibility. Such a giant in the market as Alibaba is also being developed using Flutter, without losing either the quality of the interface or the set of available functions.
3. PWA applications
Progressive Web Application is a technology that allows a user to install your site as an application. It has a lot of advantages – at least a significant reduction in development and support costs, the application is very small, works faster than the site and can work offline. PWA works well for brand memorability – if the application is left on the user’s device, then he will regularly see an icon with your logo. Push notifications will help you keep in touch with the customer – notifications about the status of orders or any promotions that can stimulate repeat sales. In addition, according to the study, the conversion rate thanks to PWA increases by 36%.
This is a trend that is likely to come to the fore – multipurpose services that combine the maximum of functions. Traditionally, an application is developed to meet a specific user need: logistics, pastime, communication, education, etc. Now mega-applications are gaining popularity, covering a much wider range of tasks. Here we are talking about an environment in which all the needs of the user will be met. After all, it is much more convenient to use one application for a dozen of your tasks than to install one for each specific task.
In general, this phenomenon is not new at all, the term first sounded in 2010 from the founder of Blackberry Mike Lazaridis, who called the ecosystem of many applications a superappa. However, the new phenomenon gained popularity later, with the arrival of the Chinese WeChat on the market: the service replaced other applications from smartphones of Chinese residents. Using just one system, they were able to communicate, pay bills, order a taxi and delivery, read and watch films, and from February 2020, they could even see cities infected with coronavirus. Billions of monthly transactions conducted through WeChat and other Asian supers have pushed the trend of supers to the west.
An example of the development of such a superapp in Russia is Yandex.Go, which combines the functionality of ordering a taxi, delivering food and groceries, shopping on the marketplace, information on public transport and car sharing. However, this is still not the level of WeChat, but VKontakte is trying to get closer to it, which almost monthly adds new functions, giving its users more and more opportunities to perform actions without leaving the service. In addition, the social network is an open superapp, in which some small function (mini-app) can be launched by any developer (which, for example, Yandex does not have).
And the trend is that superapps will develop and occupy more and more market shares. Of course, it will take a long time and costly for small and medium-sized businesses to create and develop such a service in terms of financial and labor resources. However, it will be possible to adapt to the trend by integrating its services into the super-app of giant corporations, which, for example, Tinkoff said in the release of his application.
5. 3D graphics in applications
This tool will also not be innovative, it has been used for a long time in many areas of design, it is rather worth noting that in 2022 3D graphics will become even more diverse and inclusive. But the trend prioritizes the functional role of 3D and only then – the decorative one. Three-dimensional images have become much more accessible for use due to the fact that the download speed of frameworks is growing every year, and this allows the implementation of complex visual solutions. And 3D illustrations demonstrate the object much deeper and more informative, at least because they are closer to human perception than flat images. Combined with quality animation, this can be a win-win for a memorable interface.
6. Dark theme
After the appearance of dark Instagram, and after it a number of applications in development, they began to pay special attention to this, and now even the operating systems themselves have found dark mode. Someone just likes this theme more, someone it reduces the burden on the eyes, someone is comfortable to “switch to the dark side” when they use a smartphone in an unlit space, and more and more developers are introducing this mode into their products – this is almost a must-have element in 2022.
7. Voice control
In a world where people are faced with the need to do several things at the same time, voice commands are becoming indispensable, so more and more applications give the user this opportunity. Integration is possible with the voice assistant of the operating system itself or with Google voice search, for example. The advent of Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri has revolutionized user interface design. Even just taking notes using voice commands can sometimes be necessary. Moreover, voice control will be important for those who have vision problems.
8. Gestures and swipes
And this is a tool that distinguishes a mobile device from a personal computer, on which it is simply not available. Daily scrolling, scrolling of pages has already become a habit, and the less additional actions need to be performed, the more the user likes it. Some app developers even advocate not using buttons, as if they create a mess, take up a lot of screen space, and suggest replacing their functions with swipes (for example on Dribble), adding good animation. Many are well aware of this action for the most ordinary readers. And on some Honor models, the entire interface for navigating between applications is built on swipes, there are simply no “back” buttons and go to the open applications panel, and this is another trend that will only gain momentum in 2022.
9. Virtual and augmented reality
These two technologies open up very cool sales opportunities. Many brands are already using AR (augmented reality) in their virtual fitting apps (like Lamoda). And facial recognition technology lets you try makeup or accessory options from the comfort of your home. So, for example, Sephora in their application presented a virtual artist who helps to scan a face and demonstrate different images on it. IKEA has also long ago embraced augmented reality by launching an app that shows how furniture will look in different places in the home. Moreover, statistics say that 66% of shoppers will be very interested in using AR technology in online shopping.
10.5G is coming
By the end of 2021, about 692 million 5G connections are projected worldwide. The launch of 5G networks in Russia is supposed to be done only in 2024, however, in the global mobile development industry, it is assumed that next year this technology will be a new industry standard.
New speeds will provide an increase in the functionality of applications – new features will be added without sacrificing performance. Users expect fewer disconnections due to lower network latency (17-26 milliseconds versus 36 + 48 milliseconds for 4G). In addition, the 5G standard will be distinguished by more accurate geolocation, which is also important for many functions of the application.
What follows from all this?
The direction in which the industry is developing is definitely worth paying attention to. However, this is not the ultimate truth, and when developing your product, the most important thing is to offer a working solution to your user’s problem, think over how your idea will differ from others on the market, and choose a team with a sufficient set of competencies to implement it. It is quite possible that testing your hypothesis does not require virtual reality technology or voice control at all: the performer’s experience can help to determine which trend features should be present in the application: the Appcraft studio has developed and successfully launched more than 200 client applications and is actively developing 4 of its own projects. … We discuss each project individually, share with our customers insights concerning not only the technical implementation or design, but also the features of user behavior and various business models.