The Future of Mobile: Top 10 Mobile Development Predictions For 2015


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10 things you can expect to see in the world of mobile this year.

With huge improvements to mobile devices and wearables in 2015, app developers are having to evolve in order to navigate the new landscape and stand out among the competition. Just last week, a number of hardware and software providers made waves at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, setting the bar high for third-party apps and developers for the year to come. Even more recently, Apple’s Watch announcement changed the game by staking a whole new category.

We sat down with Amol Sogal, mobile product manager at StumbleUpon, and Greg Isenberg, Founder & CEO of mobile video app, 5by, to hear their predictions on the future of mobile. Both StumbleUpon and 5by overhauled their mobile apps this fall including adding all-new core experiences, new navigation paradigms and transitioning to more interactive user interfaces. According to them, here are 10 trends you can expect across the mobile development space in 2015.

1. Rise of “Engagement” as a Service

We’ve already seen third-party providers like Leanplum, Optimizely and Appcues emerge to help platforms with powerful analytics, A/B testing, and marketing automation. Startups are pressured to show growth in retention and engagement, so companies will continue to enlist niche services for their expertise.

2. Smarter Deep Linking

 As app developers, our goal is to provide the optimal user experience based on context. More and more we’re looking to establish user control on how to link into apps vs. mobile web via cookies and other tactics, which enables us to guide our users farther down the engagement funnel.

3. Convergence of UI & UX

Now that Google’s Material Design has taken a foothold, app developers have clearer platform benchmarks on the principles of straightforward design. As a result, many will try to innovate with simplicity and evolve these design frameworks to keep their app-specific experiences relevant. For instance, in StumbleUpon’s latest redesign, the team was able to leverage Material and iOS designs standards to develop an experience that highlights the best of both while remaining familiar to the respective platforms.

4. Anonymity Apps

The address book is the original social network, and we’re noticing a major shift in communication where people are increasingly moving away from broadcasting everything on Facebook and Twitter in favor of more private environments like with Kik and Whisper (which is being called “dark social”). This goes back to the core of the Internet, which started out as this weird, private community-oriented place before Facebook changed everything. On some level we are reverting back to that disposable world where people value anonymity.

5. Local, Temporal Apps

Years ago Foursquare disrupted the space, paving the way for  real-time location apps. More recently, there’s been a revival in local and temporal apps that are only interested in your immediate surroundings, right here, right now. Yik Yak and Snapchat’s “Live Events” are good examples of this, where you can contribute if you’re within the geographical confines.

6. Mobile Video is the Future

Video has become one of the hottest, most dynamic storytelling mechanisms. A few years ago people were saying that consumers wouldn’t watch video on mobile because of bandwidth and latency, but thanks to new-age technology and the surge in good content, we’ve become accustomed to constantly consuming whether we’re on-line for coffee, waiting for a doctor, or just have a few minutes to kill. We know that YouTube already reaches more U.S. adults ages 18-34 than any cable network, and Facebook alone contributes to 1 billion video views per day. Because of this, additional niche video platforms like 5by will take the stage.

7. New News Platforms

There’s a slew of news sites and platforms that have taken off in the past year hoping to break through the clutter and meet the demand of consumers craving content. PlayBuzz, LifeBuzz, The Mid, and Bustle among others, are all re-imagining “news” and experimenting with fresh formats and editorial styles, which has paid off with record-breaking traffic numbers.

8. Digital Media Becoming ‘Traditional’

Streaming is not a new concept but nowadays you can watch anything and everything online from live events like the Superbowl and Oscars, to full episodes of late night TV shows (some through subscription models, that is). We will see a more advanced representation of traditional media take on app form this year.

9. Internet of Things

In many ways, mobile phones already act like a remote control but “the Internet of things” might finally make it to the mainstream in 2015. The latest innovations around this concept include adding connectivity to offline objects. Edyn, for instance, makes your garden “smart” by tracking environmental conditions, whereas the Vanhawks bike directs you to any address with its blinking handlebars.

10. Emphasis on Snackable Content

Content is everywhere, competing with other content for a reader’s very limited attention span. The shorter it is, the more likely it is to get digested.

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