Desktop and Mobile Application Development Trends in 2023

With January done and dusted, we wanted to take a look at the year ahead and discuss some of the hottest trends of 2023 for desktop and mobile app development, as whether you're a seasoned developer or just about to set up your new app, it's always good to stay up-to-date with trends to ensure your apps are interesting, user-friendly, and keep up with the competition. 

For extra insight, I’ve roped in Tapio Haantie, our Product Business Line Director for Application Development, Desktop & Mobile.  

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Emphasis on the experience  

Whilst the importance of a satisfactory user experience, and subsequently user interface, is nothing new, there is a growing emphasis on providing the user with as smooth of a journey as possible. Whether you’re developing apps for desktop, mobile, or both, there is no doubt that the end-users' standards are on the rise, due to competition and high expectations. In short, it’s time to crack out all the bells and whistles (while making sure said bells and whistles actually work and serve a purpose).  

Chances are, that if your app is not at the very least easy to use, purposeful, and nice to look at, the end-user will not give your business a second chance, but will move on to a competitor, no matter how good your product might in reality be. Understanding the ever-growing importance of UX from the get-go can enable you to set yourself up for success, and to be able to evolve with the times and customer needs. Using a development framework that allows you to produce the best quality UX while allowing you react quickly to changes is of fundamental importance. 

Our recent article, Rethinking UX for the Consumer-Centric Erastates: The case of investing in UX has never been stronger, especially in the consumer electronics sector where consumers are cutting costs while simultaneously demanding consistency in user experiences.


Tapio Haantie: “The world of UI/UX has turned upside-down in the past decade. Previously, B2B applications were setting the standards for the quality of UI/UX. Nowadays, however, the UI/UX world is driven by B2C companies creating stunning experiences, and many B2B companies find themselves challenged as their users are expecting the same. 

 One interesting segment in UI/UX development is companion apps. These are apps that are created as complementary offerings to companies’ main products. The main product could be an embedded device, such as the computer in their car, and the companion app the mobile app through which the user interacts with their car. Or, it can be the car configurator where users can create the car of their dreams. The element that all these apps have in common is the company’s unique UI/UX, which has been expanded across all devices. This, in the end, creates brand loyalty and customer stickiness.”  




Need for safety & security  

As unfortunate as it is, data breaches of all sorts are becoming more common. With the rise of do-it-all applications that may be storing and processing large amounts of sensitive data, it’s of paramount importance that your development framework can be trusted. Whether you’re working in the security, aviation, banking, or any other sector that has these specific considerations, knowing that your application’s and potential end-users’ data is safe can help you on keeping stress levels low, and productivity high. 


TH: “4.35 million USD. That was the average cost of a data breach in 2022*. Attacks are getting increasingly more advanced with the development of AI, and this needs to be taken into consideration when creating applications and their infrastructure. 

Another important issue is development framework security. We’ve seen application security issues when developers use code repositories that are loosely maintained, or even infected with malware. It’s pivotal that the developers can trust the tools and libraries they are using. And that the frameworks are supported throughout the application lifecycle.” 


Demand for cross-platform  

‘Cross-platform’ is the new ‘it’ girl (or guy). Having your apps perform on multiple operating systems, devices, screens, and other platforms is becoming the new norm. Gone are the days of single-platform applications – even if expanding your app is not a Phase One priority, knowing that you have the possibility to do so, easily, and seamlessly, should be an important consideration. The last thing you’d want is for there to be demand for your service on an operating system, but not being able to cater to it.  

Creating your desktop or mobile applications in a ‘software agnostic’ manner allows for them to be deployed wherever and whenever suits you, reaching audiences no matter their preferred device of choice. With Qt, your development doesn’t need to stop there, but can also be extended to the web, with the help of WebAssembly.  


TH: “The average household in the US has 20.2 connected devices, while the average in Europe is 17.4 devices. Japan is a bit behind with 10.3 connected devices. * Application providers need to be present on as many platforms as possible to gain enough mindshare from end-users to become one of the few applications they are actually willing to use.  

 The scale of different platforms and devices is so vast that it becomes challenging to create native apps for each target. And using native-only apps makes it more difficult to create that distinguished branded UI/UX.” 




Curiosity about Artificial Intelligence 

Whether we like it or not, Artificial Intelligence has been making its way in, with recent developments solidifying its importance in all things digital, including development and marketing. It may be tempting to use programs, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT to solve problems, write content, or even code, but as with anything that seems too good to be true, there needs to be governance and limitations when it comes to the use of AI in the workplace. Given how quickly the technology has taken over, it will be interesting to see how applications using AI will develop, and work to contain and check its contributions. 


TH: “AI is one of the hottest topics for 2023, if not the hottest. Especially with services such as ChatGPT crashing into the market, becoming the fastest service ever to reach 1 million users 

The main challenge with AI is that it is almost invisible to a service’s end-users. Users will obviously see the outcome, but not the reasoning or logic behind these results or actions. For example, developers need to see under which licenses the AI-proposed code belongs in order to avoid potential license breaches. Students need to know whether AI-proposed market information and research is coming from legitimate and reliable sources, and whether the content generated has been plagiarized.  

Visibility into how the data is being created, as well as clear limitations on the technology are needed for wider market adoption. This will inevitably lead to a need for new and intuitive UIs for AI applications. “ 


So, to sum it up, 2023 looks like a year of definite advancements in the world of desktop and mobile app development. With a growing emphasis on UX, the increased need for safety and security, demand for cross-platform compatibility, and curiosity around artificial intelligence, we've all got our hands full.

By being aware of the above trends (and many others), you can make sure your applications will not only meet, but exceed the expectations of the end-users. Whether it's providing a smooth user journey, ensuring the security of sensitive data, or using AI for problem-solving (within limits!), the opportunities for growth and innovation are definitely there.

 🖥️ Interested in developing apps for desktop, mobile, or web?

📱Check out Qt for Application Development for more information on how to get started. 

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