Today’s essential app design trends for CIOs

By Jonathan Crowl

Today's chief information officer has a lot on his plate — managing not just the information technology supporting an enterprise but the customer-facing applications as well. Mobile technology has supplanted traditional desktops as the primary device for both consumers and businesses, and CIOs are under intense pressure to make sure their products are up to par.

Design is a critical element of a finished product, and emerging app design trends offer guidance to CIOs directing app development within their organizations. But for the VP of apps in any organization to meet these goals and deliver cutting-edge mobile solutions for the company, he or she needs the support of a CIO who understands the resource requirements and promotes a workplace conducive to continued app innovation.

Here's a look at the top app design trends, plus strategies to help CIOs support this app development within their organization.

1. Animation

Looking strictly at the front-end user experience, the top design innovation trending at the moment is animation. As Devsaran points out, using animation in apps delivers significant results in terms of interactions and engagement. The feature helps users understand the design scheme and its usage more easily; plus, movement within the app improves the speed of message delivery. That's in addition to the sleek appearance, which benefits the user experience and can create a greater experiential reward for using the app.

2. Storytelling

Designers are also finding themselves much better equipped to build storytelling capabilities into an app's front-end experience. The ability to build a storytelling interface can have a big impact on the interactive and engagement scores of an app, and stories have proven to be much more influential than straight facts delivered to consumers. Designers use media-rich features, such as high-res images, animation and interactive text to create an engaging storytelling experience. The development of this feature can be time-intensive, but the resulting experience is hard to beat.

3. Microservices

Meanwhile, the back end of applications are still a hub of innovation. Microservices are commonly used to build applications, instead of writing code from scratch — a process that is both time-intensive and unnecessary, given the accessibility to smaller services. But new open-source projects like Docker are making microservices even more accessible as application building tools become even easier to track down and deploy in an API-accessible app. Developers are flocking to microservices as a design tool because of their ability to speed up app development and upgrades.

4. Multi-cloud management tools

InfoWorld reports that as developers wrangle assets and information strung across multiple cloud servers, multi-cloud management tools are becoming a valued design tool. Enterprises use those tools to spread their assets across multiple clouds, thereby mitigating a potential loss if one cloud server goes awry. Developers can easily manage these assets to streamline workloads across clouds and optimize resources.

Ensuring apps are implemented

CIOs can call for new strategies and better performance from the app development side of an operation, but it's empty rhetoric unless that CIO understands how to support the VP of apps to facilitate this progress.

That support can come in many forms, depending on the design goals being tackled. According to the Enterprises Project, most enterprises will want to begin by looking for an effective implementation platform that both the CIO and app developers can use. Cloud-based ecosystems can facilitate collaboration in an efficient manner, letting CIOs oversee app implementation, communicate with their teams and support the VP's work.

Within the organization, CIOs should seek to build a suitable environment for app development. That means talking to the VP of apps about what they need to succeed and building a framework that supports those needs. This could include the ability to handle diverse technologies instead of single-platform solutions, or it may require handling other requests according to your design goals. Enterprises should also build more support for shorter iterative development cycles, giving developers critical tools that accelerate app versioning. Last but not least, CIOs should make sure that developers have the right measurement tools in place to analyze and understand their app usage and user behavior.

CIOs are not app developers, but there is plenty they can do to support app design innovation and contribute to a winning enterprise application suite.

This article was originally published on Mobile Business Insights.