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How to Make Mobile App Design Easy. Few tips for newbies

by Petr Kudlacek on 22 January 2015

mobile application design The biggest challenges at the beginning of a new app for the designer is the gap between the moment of signing the contract and the presentation of real design. That is why designers sometimes guess work at the primary stage of the app developing.

The biggest challenges at the beginning of a new app for the designer is the gap between the moment of signing the contract and the presentation of real design. That is why designers sometimes guess work at the primary stage of the app developing:

  • Designers often start working without sufficient general information about the customer or the app. This may lead to multiple variants of design and feedback. You should understand that each app and each customer is unique. Previous solutions usually will not solve current problems, because every new app introduces new challenges.
  • Also, you and your customers have different knowledge about the company, its culture and company’s own customers. That’s why the view on the app and the expectations from it might be different.

 expectations vs. reality

 What is the secret of successful app design without any guess work? First, you need to ask your customer the following questions to better understand his needs, and also the users’ needs:

Describe the app briefly. — Of course it’s difficult for those who are well aware of their to collect them together and make a precise definition. This question will promote them to think the app over again that will eventually be useful for the project.

Is there any logo or your own understanding of the app we need to comply with?  This question shows that you worry about the brand of your client. In such a way you are showing them your desire to develop something that corresponds to their company’s brand and policy.

What makes your app competitive and attractive to the users?  Competition is in people’s nature and usually such people start their own companies. And your client probably has a lot of information concerning their competition that they’re ready to share.

What will be the keywords to find your app in search engines? When you ask your customer to describe themselves as if they were common users you help them extract their ideas. You’ll further use these metadata for the rating of their app in app store.

Describe your target audience. Focus on their revenue, gender, interests and age. This person who will use your app do not resemble either you or your client. Discovering your intended audience provides an efficient way to from your ideas around the right type of person.

After understanding the demands let’s move on to concepts developing and workflow creating.

As soon as you know the basic requirements to the product and goals of the user, you can concentrate on designing an app that match to these aims and demands. On the second stage of designing the product, start gathering the content and write a workflow that corresponds to user goals. The workflow shows in what order the users see the information and content of the site. On this stage, you need to focus on the succession of steps and any related details. Maybe you would like to concentrate more on the features details and the facilities of the app. Instead of that, don’t distract your attention from user goals. The workflow gives the information that will help you to understand the difference between your vision of the workflow and the users' one.

The next stage is arranging content on the screen.

content on the screen

On this stage, arrange the elements on every screen. Check if the components are organized in a sensible way that is user-friendly. Also check the position and behavior of each element and how it allows the user to do tasks easily and quickly. The information collected on this stage can be helpful during development and implementation stage.

After that, go to integrating visual design.

On this stage, concentrate on building an app that is captivating and motivating to users. Add brightness to the design. Add such elements as:

  • icons and colors: these will be the branding elements of your app
  • animations: animation is inseparable from great information systems, it helps to organize data and logical relations between them, and also adds diversity into the interface. Use simple animation where it is necessary - animation overload prevents the user from interpreting the given information, and that leads to negative user experience.
  • action sounds: this is quite important part of the general experience. Sounds, as animation, should be used only when they can help to improve the user experience. It’s significant that your sounds are also well recognizable – you need the sound that will be immediately associated with your app.

 visual design

And finally, don’t forget to beta test the product and carry out the design review

  • Remember that as a designer, you’re responsible for how the application works, therefore, the more involved you are in the development stage, the better it is for the end product. Speed, size, algorithm design - all these and many other development aspects are your concern, as much as of those of the developers; these features will affect the user’s impression.
  • It’s totally necessary to involve a designer in the testing of the product. As the designer was the one to create the image of the application, he will be able to instinctively feel, if the users are responding in the intended way. Moreover, designer might see some product faults, those which even developers wouldn’t notice.
  • During the product testing stage, you should compare the application to the design at least a few times - developers might implement things in a different way- by mistake or due to misinterpretation of your designs. Every pixel counts, so take screenshots of each screen and compare them to the original (compare margins, fonts, colors...etc.) Final tests should be especially accurate, so your app is shining and ready to be used.

Conclusion

If your app design is still based on guesswork you should definitely pay your attention to all these stages of app design.

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