Google did a fantastic job of promoting Material Design standards to app developers, which simplified the Android aesthetics, but also made apps so much easier to navigate for users, and less resources spent on UX design for developers.
Of course, the development community will always find ways to improve upon the standards, as change is the only real constant in life. While some developers debate over the usefulness of some Material Design practices (the “hamburger” button – love it or leave it?).
Material Design has also promoted cross-platform accessibility, as developers are able to easily apply MD practices to iOS apps as well, easily pushing two apps to separate platforms without worrying about opposing design standards.
In this guide, we’re going to look over some of the best Android UX design trends to follow in 2020, so that you can follow the standards set out by Google, while adding some real vitality to your apps.
Neon Gradients and Dark Mode
We’re putting these two trends together because in 2020, they’re really going hand-in-hand. Dark Mode in apps was always a kind of “fan service” put in by caring app developers, whereas global brand-name apps (YouTube, Facebook, etc.) seemed to insist on white backgrounds for the longest time.
But many global brands have started to “see the dark”, as YouTube released their Dark Mode for Android in 2018, and Facebook finally released theirs only earlier this year. Now Dark Mode is becoming a standard across many Android apps, as it offers too many benefits (reduced battery drain and night-time eye-strain) for app developers to ignore.
As for color gradients, they have been around for several years, typically seen in warm, cool colors such as subtle and soft shades of blues, pinks, and purples, or earth tones. However, many apps are starting to use much bolder, stronger color gradients, such as neon blues and lightning purples, as these have a much more futuristic feel, and are overall more striking and vivid when paired with Dark Mode menus and buttons.
Rounded and Organic Shapes
Buttons and elements have gone through many shape phases – from sterile squares, to beveled ovals, and perfect circles.
The latest trend is soft, round shapes that can’t quite be described as circles, but almost feathery and organic, like drops of water, or throwing a sponge at the wall. Watercolour blobs, to be precise. A good UI agency should be able to help you design natural organic shapes that fit your app UI.
Liquid swiping is a bit difficult to explain in words, so you’re better off checking out a YouTube video of what it’s all about. But essentially, if you’ve ever used an ebook reader that emulates turning pages, it’s a bit like that.
Only more liquidy and colorful. It’s a growing trend that adds a bit of life to apps where users swipe between screens, giving a cool transition effect between slides.
With the recent advancements in AI tech, many retail and service apps are including more sophisticated chatbots.
But aside from smarter language cues, app devs are also making chatbots more aesthetic, with avatars, typing indicators, and even emoji usage.
Tools and Resources for UX Design
It’s often said that programmers aren’t exactly known for intuitive UX design, as programming is more of a mathematical skill, and UX design is more of an artistic skill. But that doesn’t have to be the case, as there are some great tools for streamlining the UX design process. I’ll list a few for you to check out.
- Mockplus: Offers a drag and drop interface for putting together components and prototyping the UX design process.
- Sketch: Similar to Photoshop, but primarily intended for UX design. It supports multiple resolution graphics, infinite zoom controls, and an “Export All” button which saves all files in your selected formats (PNG, JPG, etc).
- Marvel: Another tool comparative to Photoshop, but intended for both UX design and prototyping. It also supports team collaboration through cloud storage.