2023 is here. Innovation is on the horizon, and competition in the app development arena is fierce. So what will change this year? What will app developers need to implement or maintain to remain competitive?
Another year passes, and the app development industry faces new challenges and more interesting competition levels as the demand for more, better, and faster mobile apps reach an all-new high. Similarly, the number of smartphone users worldwide has grown to reach a whopping 6.8 billion. Moreover, smartphones are the most popular of all the devices we use today, with 95.8% of all internet users leveraging them to go online. These numbers are a testament to the undeniable love we have for our mobile devices, and they also mean that mobile app usage, which is also on the rise, will likely skyrocket by the end of the year with no sign of slowing down. As a result, app developers have a binding obligation to keep up with the demand and ensure that mobile app usage statistics are always on the rise. But how can we make sure to keep our products relevant and innovative while matching this year’s market’s demands? One of the most influential and intelligent ways is understanding and adopting some or most of the top app development trends for 2023.
Things have changed, and mobile apps are not just for fun anymore. Now, we use them to track our finances, keep our health in check, streamline countless business processes, make purchases, and even find jobs, to name a few. So, to improve the usability and efficiency of mobile apps, keep providing stellar user experiences, and add value to users, app developers must abide by, or at least understand, the modern technological advancements that permeate development processes year after year.
As an experienced, innovative, and professional app development company, we know how important it is to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and innovations that take place every year and significantly affect our industry. That’s why we want to explore the top app development trends for 2023 and tell you how they are shaping the future of mobile apps.
App development landscape for 2023
For app development, 2023 is shaping up to be a year for the books. For one, as we mentioned earlier, the number of smartphone users has grown to reach astronomical heights, which comes as no surprise seeing that we use our beloved mobile devices for nearly everything. In fact, we spend over 3 hours per day on them, some of us going well beyond that figure on a good day. And what exactly are we doing on those hours spent looking at our phones? 88% of those 3+ hours are spent opening mobile apps. So, again, not that it’s any surprise, but yes, we use our smartphones almost exclusively to access mobile applications, which, let’s face it, have become an integral part of our daily lives.
Similarly, our demand for more of them shows no sign of slowing down, with the global mobile app market forecasted to reach over $935 billion by the end of this year! What this figure means is that, for the next 365 days, the app development industry will not only boom, but app developers will have to leverage every modern and emerging technology we can get our hands on to keep up with the demand.
Additionally, app development will likely start shifting towards personalization and customization this year as users demand more unique, unconventional, and surprising tailored experiences. Namely, these demands are leading to an increase in the use and popularity of AI and AI-powered technologies such as machine learning, and their implementation in most app development techniques is setting the pace for what’s to come. Moreover, modern tools, frameworks, and technologies such as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), 5G networks, and AR and VR will bring faster and more reliable and immersive mobile experiences driven by speedier connectivity, opening up new opportunities for more innovative app development. As a result, we will still see apps that keep providing real-time, personalized recommendations and services but with more capabilities for delivering increasingly user-friendly and engaging experiences. In that sense, modern app developers will likely start striving more to incorporate these newer technologies and address the security and privacy concerns that come with modernization.
But what does all that translate into? How are app developers supposed to keep up with all those demands and actually bring forth that immersive, user-friendly, personalized universe our users so desperately seek? One way is staying on top of modernizations and understanding and adopting these trends that pop up to help us deliver better products. These trends indicate a bright future for the mobile app development industry; thus, we need to shine a light on them and consciously pick which ones work for us and which don’t.
So, here are the ones that we consider to be the most relevant top app development trends for 2023.
Yes, we know; we’re not exactly discovering fire with this one. But, in fact, AI was already a trend in 2022. In our 5 Mobile App Development Trends For 2022 article, we predicted it would significantly outperform itself and go way beyond powering simple voice assistants and chatbots. And boy, did it ever. The AI market closed last year at a whopping $137 billion market worth. Not only that, but the average number of AI-powered technologies used by companies, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), doubled, going from 1.9 in 2018 to 3.8 in 2022, with robotic process automation (RPA) and computer vision leading the bunch as the most commonly deployed each year. So, it should come as no surprise that AI is one of the top app development trends for 2023.
This year, AI will likely keep taking center stage in app development, primarily owing to the popularity and increasing demand for personalization, uniqueness, and automation. Because users want products tailored specifically to them, app developers will have to leverage more advanced AI capabilities to improve the interactions, and app features, such as search results, to deliver highly relevant experiences that add value, drive engagement, and deliver a better user experience to our users. As a result, mobile and software apps that stem from AI implementation will be able to effectively analyze user behavior, process user data, and translate it to provide personalized insights and tailored recommendations.
And not only that, but AI is also becoming increasingly popular as the driver of more innovative and intuitive chatbots, which seem to be growing in popularity, with almost 70% of users preferring them over human customer service agents. So, we’re pretty confident that this year, we’ll see chatbots increase those numbers and become one of AI’s most acclaimed children, which is, in fact, already happening. Take Amazon, for example. The e-commerce behemoth took its already outstanding customer service to the next level with automated chatbots that can hold entire conversations, offer tailored recommendations, handle returns and exchanges, solve claims, and much more. Other more sophisticated AI-powered tools, like the newly popular ChatGPT, can even handle complete human-like tasks such as creative writing and critical thinking, making AI one of the most promising and capable tools app developers can leverage to bring forth the evolution of mobile app development. Through AI, we can start creating more unique, personalized user experiences.
Again, you might be thinking: ok, what’s new here? Just like AI, Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have both been on our radar as two of the most promising technologies for app development since last year. Of course, they’ve been favorites for app developers worldwide for a couple of years now. Last year, both technologies shot up in demand and popularity, closing 2022 with a market value of over $30 billion. That’s a pretty promising figure, making us think that AR and VR will become staples for app developers this year.
Also, even though adoption isn’t widespread yet, we’re starting to witness promising advances in AR/VR technologies that are driving the transformation of various industries. For example, we’re seeing both technologies becoming staples in gaming, travel, and entertainment. Companies are building software and mobile applications that leverage the immersive nature of AR/VR to provide meaningful experiences to their users. In addition, we’re already witnessing virtual fashion shows, AR-powered home improvement apps that let users use their phones to try different styles, virtual training programs, and even virtual medical procedures, all of which some years ago were unthinkable, especially the latter.
As we mentioned earlier, since users are demanding more personalized, meaningful, and immersive experiences, AR/VR technology is an obvious choice as one of the top app development trends of 2023. So, app developers will have the chance to use these incredible tools to enhance product usability and create never-seen-before interfaces and experiences. And, with 5G networks adopted worldwide, AR/VR technologies are advancing. Although their mass adoption isn’t widespread yet, we hope that this year will be the year when AR and VR will become household items for most modern app developers.
Cross-platform app development
In line with the two trends we discussed above, and keeping in mind the rise in the demand for personalization and customization, cross-platform app development seems to be the next obvious choice as a top app development trend for 2023. Long gone are the days when most app developers targeted a single platform or operating system and shipped apps that did thrive but only on one OS. With the advent of modern technologies like 5G, AI, AR/VR, the Metaverse, and many others, it is now impossible and unintuitive to keep building apps with such a limited scope. Yes, native apps are usually better looking and more sophisticated. Still, with the current advances in app development technologies, we can now build cross-platform apps that are just as beautiful and robust as native ones.
Cross-platform app development is quickly gaining traction because applications that work on all platforms are typically more cost-efficient, productive, and robust and can help your mobile product reach a broader audience without extra time or monetary investments. Moreover, with cross-platform app development, mobile products have a shorter time to market because you’ll only need to write the source code once and use it on all platforms. And, if that weren’t enough, you can also offer your users a much more consistent UI/UX, which is not only vital to increasing brand recognition and awareness but helps you deliver more personalized experiences across different platforms without a lot of extra work.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have been a buzzword in the app development industry for a while now. Still, this year, the need for better, more personalized, native-like user experiences has brought PWAs to the forefront and placed them on our list of the top app development trends for 2023.
PWAs are web-based applications that work like cross-platform applications but provide users with a native app-like experience within a web browser. The beauty of PWAs is that they sit on the sweet spot between the benefits of both websites and mobile apps. That is, they run in a web browser, which makes them more accessible, fast, and quickly developed while also providing all the features inherent to mobile apps, such as offline functionality, push notifications, and instant updates, among others. The best part? They’re not tied to any app store, so your users don’t need to download them, and you don’t have to go through the approval process, which can be time-consuming and restrictive.
Accessibility is always a trend, no matter what industry or year. But, with the pandemic bringing social distancing and increased hygiene to the forefront, the need for touchless devices and interactions is stronger than ever. Even now, with the pandemic well behind us, more of us now fear physically touching anything in public areas, let alone screens. As a result, gesture-based UI is quickly gaining traction, which is why it made its way into our top app development trends for 2023.
Gesture-based UI refers to using simple physical gestures as input to operate an app’s interface. These specific gestures include the ones we’ve all traditionally used, such as scrolling, swiping, shaking, pinching, and tapping. However, more innovative initiatives have been building UIs with gyroscopes or magnetic sensors that respond to tipping, shaking, and tilting the device. You might be thinking, however, that gesture recognition isn’t anything new. After all, your iPhone lets you interact with screen elements on your apps and phone by tapping, swiping, shaking, or tilting, right? Of course, but what we’re talking about here is the next generation of gesture-based UIs where app developers can leverage advanced camera and sensor technology and work simply with the user’s eye motion, meaning you can scroll or click by simply blinking or looking at the screen without ever touching it! These touch-free interactions are starting to take users to a whole new level of accessibility and engagement.
Additionally, gesture-based UIs are also starting to leverage the benefits of machine learning and artificial intelligence to not only broaden the scope of recognized gestures but also improve the accuracy and soundness of the recognition. For example, Google’s Fit app can measure a user’s heart and respiratory rates by using just their smartphone’s camera. All the user has to do is place their head and upper torso within the scope of their phone’s front-facing camera and breathe.
These technologies, and others, allow app developers to build applications that can handle more sophisticated gesture recognition, which can help users with physical impairments to enjoy their mobile products and will lead to the development of a more seamless, efficient, and enjoyable user experience.
Increased focus on security
Yes, we know, security isn’t a trend; it is a mandatory requirement, especially when the cost of cyber attacks is expected to reach $8 trillion by the end of 2023. Fret not, we know that security is always at the forefront, and it will remain a top priority for us and most modern app developers for 2023 and well beyond. What we want to do here is to highlight the newfound importance for app developers to keep an eye on the looming threats that, as we’re doing in this article, continuously innovate and stay on top of modern technologies and trends so they can become more capable at breaching IT-based products.
So, with that in mind, and knowing that app security should always come first and last, we can safely say that this year, we’ll see more robust security schemes set in place. With all the complex innovations and trends we’ve discussed in this article, and those that we didn’t, come unavoidable risks that are also becoming more complex and robust. Simple login credentials won’t cut it anymore. App developers will need to ideate security strategies that evolve along with trends and technologies. Some new and not-so-new but still very robust trends we can leverage to keep our apps safe are:
- Penetration testing: Simulate cyberattacks to pinpoint your weaknesses and address them accordingly.
- Source code encryption: You can make your app’s source code extremely difficult to read, helping you prevent it from being viewed and stolen.
- App sandboxing: You can use app sandboxing to isolate your app from other parts of the system.
- Use DevSecOps practices: DevSecOps, or development security operations, is a methodology where traditional app development practices integrate security practices to make them the responsibility of everyone throughout the entire development lifecycle.
- Encryption: Always use the latest encryption standards, such as FIDO, AES, and Triple DES, to name a few.
Needless to say, all of these recommendations, and others we haven’t mentioned, must be accompanied by robust testing and maintenance protocols. Otherwise, you’ll only be doing half the job and putting your users at risk.
Top app development trends for 2023: Final word
We all know that to succeed in this fast-paced world that is the app development industry, companies need to evolve with the trends and change how we work, design, and build applications. The rise of modern technologies such as AI, 5G networks, and ML and the increasing popularity, variety, and availability of mobile devices are driving the need for more immersive, personalized, and interactive experiences. So, by staying on top of the trends and innovations that unavoidably affect our industry and our users, we can make sure to deliver one-of-a-kind products consistently. And by following these trends, we can also easily incorporate novel ideas into our processes, promoting innovation and seizing the opportunity to establish ourselves as authorities in our industry.
These are just a few of the top app development trends to watch out for in 2023. If you have more that you’d like to discuss, if you have any questions, or want to work with us, make sure to contact us so we can talk!