Mobile development: the future is here! How modern technologies are changing the usual approach to app development

7 min read

According to a Pew Research Center study, more than 81% of adult Americans own a smartphone, and the average time they spend on their phone is about 5.5 hours a day. This makes mobile development increasingly important for companies that want to stay competitive and attract more customers. However, creating applications that are beneficial for users and profitable for companies implies an understanding of mobile development trends.

The purpose of this article is to review current trends in mobile development that will help developers create more user-friendly, functional and attractive mobile apps. Also, this overview will be useful to businesses and investors who want to learn how to navigate the changing demands of users and the mobile app market.

The “Mobile-first” approach

The mobile-first approach is a design and development strategy that prioritizes the creation of websites, applications, or digital experiences with the mobile user in mind as the primary target audience. It involves designing and building the user interface and overall functionality to optimize the user experience on mobile devices before expanding to larger screens such as desktops or tablets.

Traditionally, web design and development began with designing for desktop screens and then adapting the layout and features for mobile devices. However, with the rapid growth of mobile usage and the increasing number of people accessing the internet primarily through smartphones, the mobile-first approach has gained prominence.

The key principles of the mobile-first approach include:

  • Responsive design. Creating websites or applications that can adapt and adjust their layout and content based on the screen size and device being used.
  • Simplified user interface. Focusing on essential features and content to ensure optimal usability on smaller screens and touch-based interactions.
  • Performance optimization. Prioritizing fast loading times and efficient use of resources to accommodate the constraints of mobile networks and devices.
  • Progressive enhancement. Building websites or applications with a core set of features that are available to all devices and progressively enhancing the experience for more capable devices.

By starting with the mobile experience, the mobile-first approach helps ensure that the design and functionality are optimized for the constraints and capabilities of mobile devices. It can lead to better user experiences, increased engagement, and improved accessibility for a larger and more diverse user base.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (MO)  06.06 Mobile development the future is here img 2 development

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) play an important role in mobile app development, providing opportunities for automation, improving the user experience, and enhancing functionality. Here are a few ways in which AI and MO are being applied in this area:

  • Recommendation systems. AI and MO are used to create recommendation systems in mobile apps that analyze user preferences and behavior to offer personalized recommendations. This can include recommendations for content, products, locations, and other elements of the app.
  • Natural Language Processing. AI and MO technologies can be used to develop Natural Language Processing (NLP) functionality in mobile applications. This allows the application to analyze and understand textual information, process voice commands, recognize speech, and generate natural language-based responses.
  • Computer Vision. Using MO and AI techniques, mobile applications can process images and recognize objects, faces, gestures, and other visual data. This can be useful for functions such as automatic photo tagging, augmented reality, video surveillance systems, and more.
  • Automation and optimization. MO can be used to automate routine tasks in mobile applications, helping to improve efficiency and reduce user workload. For example, MO can be used to automatically fill out forms, classify data, analyze usage patterns, and optimize app performance.
  • Predictive analytics. With MO and AI, mobile apps can analyze data and predict user behavior, trends, and patterns. This can be useful for making decisions, providing recommendations, personalizing content, and optimizing app features.

These are just a few examples of how AI and MOI are being applied to mobile app development. As technology advances and new innovations emerge, their role in this field is expected to continue to grow.

Adaptive Design

Adaptive design is an important trend in mobile development that focuses on creating websites and apps that can automatically adapt to different screen sizes and devices.

The basic principles of adaptive design include:

  • Layout flexibility. The layout of a website or app should be flexible and capable of adapting to different screen sizes. 
  • Media queries. Media queries allow you to apply different CSS styles depending on device characteristics, such as screen width, resolution, and orientation. This allows you to optimize the display of a website or app for a particular device.
  • Content prioritization. In adaptive design, the emphasis is on providing the most important and relevant content suitable for different screens. Less important elements can be hidden or presented in a smaller format on smaller screens to improve the user experience.
  • Testing on different devices. When developing an adaptive design, you need to test it on real devices with different screen sizes and operating systems to ensure its effectiveness and consistency.

The benefits of responsive design include improved accessibility, usability and user experience across devices. It also allows you to reach a wider audience and increase conversions because users can interact with the website or app from any device without losing functionality or information.

AR/VR technology

06.06 Mobile development the future is here img 1 development

AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are innovative developments that create unique virtual and augmented realities. They are used in mobile development to create new scenarios of user interaction with mobile applications.

Augmented Reality (AR). AR allows you to blend virtual objects with your real-world environment, giving the impression that virtual objects exist in the real world. Mobile apps with AR functionality can use the device’s camera and sensors to determine location and orientation, and then add virtual elements, such as 3D objects, information layers, or interactive elements, on top of the camera image.

Virtual Reality (VR). With VR, users can fully immerse themselves in a virtual environment using a dedicated VR device or even just using a smartphone and VR glasses. Mobile apps with VR functionality allow users to interact with the virtual world, contributing to a unique and immersive user experience.

AR/VR in mobile applications. AR/VR technologies provide new opportunities for various areas of mobile development. For example, in mobile games, AR can be used to create game scenarios where players interact with virtual objects in the real world. In e-commerce, AR can be used to create virtual fitting rooms where users can try on clothes or accessories before purchasing them. VR can be used in mobile applications for education, training, tourism, entertainment, and other areas where full immersion in a virtual environment is important.

Examples of mobile apps that use AR/VR technologies include games such as Pokemon Go, homeschooling apps such as Anatomy Atlas, and augmented reality apps that allow users to interact with virtual objects in the real world. The use of AR/VR technologies in mobile development can lead to completely new scenarios of user interactions with mobile devices and change the way we look at mobile apps.

In conclusion, mobile development continues to evolve, and new trends and technologies play a key role in this process. Some of the major trends we looked at include Mobile First approach, which makes mobile apps a priority, artificial intelligence and machine learning, which improves functionality and user experience, adaptive design, which ensures optimal display on different devices, and AR/VR technologies, which open up new possibilities for user interaction and immersion.

The rapid pace of technological development and heightened user expectations make it important to follow and adapt to trends. Mobile app developers must constantly explore new opportunities, improve their skills, and integrate modern technology to create innovative and user-friendly apps. Ultimately, successful mobile development requires a balance between new trends and user needs to offer products that not only follow trends, but also solve real problems and create value for users. Read more about mobile development here.

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