We couldn’t imagine our life without smartphones in modern world .While the number of applications increases every day, hour and even minute the main question is how to design a mobile app in the way that it will make people not only use but also truly enjoy your app?
App design is an essential part of the mobile application development process. All of us understand how attractive and good-looking mobile apps usually look like, but this process is much harder than anyone might think it is. There are lots of examples of mobile app design, that do not meet the quality standards, and here we will talk about : app design specificity, app design tips, creating wireframes and prototyping your app Hope this article helps you to understand how to create mobile app design for yourself or for business.
The main steps to create attractive app design is:
- Understand the specificity
- Use app design tools
- Create a wireframe
- Visualize your app
- Prototype your app
- Use beta version
MOBILE APP DESIGN PLANNING
Design of a mobile app is a long and complicated process. The key aspect of your app is planning. Especially new designers of mobile applications underestimate these points, which later can play a trick on them. Foundation of your app design process should be understanding of your overall business strategy. Successful mobile strategy should technically and logically begin with an understanding of the company’s strategy market conditions, competitors, customers, threats and weaknesses.Your business strategy should combine your business goals, mobile opportunities, and user needs.
Talking about app design planning and strategy you should answer this two main questions:
- What is the purpose of the app?
- Which benefits will the user get from using your app?
You should concentrate on the target audience next. Who will use your app? Whom are you planning to focus on and why? Will it be for homemakers, students, businesspersons or grandmothers in retirement with nothing to do? Proper identifying and making a research of your target audience is one of the key aspects of success or failure of any organization. Common misconception is that developing an app for the mass market is the best option, in some ways it can be your benefit, but looking at the niche market might be even more profitable and successful, because there are fewer competitors.
MOBILE APP DESIGN SPECIFICITY
Designing an application is really hard work and sometimes even an exhausting job. You need to understand some features of the work as a designer. You should have a clear vision of what is the purpose of your app and also understand the goals which your application should achieve: what exactly do you expect from it? How will you involve users to your app?
Do you want to create it as entertainment or as an application for business or study, for example? Will it be different from your competitors’ analog applications? Will your app has something new or precious that your rivals don’t?
The key aspect of app design specificity is understanding not only the functions and goals of the application as such, but also the ability to look at the future interface and all the visual content as the user of this app.
Consider the purpose and objectives of the application from a customer perspective. Decide for what purpose will the audience install and use the app. Find tasks that achieve this goal. Remember that if the user is happy then you have achieved 90% of success so you MUST construct a point of view based on customer’s needs and wants.
IOS and ANDROID UI DIFFERENCES
The next point will be choosing between the iOS or Android. An application for iOS or Android will require different specialists, different technical, design and marketing decisions, and therefore pre-thought out common details are the key to the success of the project. All this platforms have advantages and disadvantages so there is no ultimate or better platform.
Depending on the reasons you want to create mobile applications, you may already know what platform are you going to work with and why. We all have preferences. However, if you are not sure which platform to choose, try the one you’re most familiar with.
Now let’s have a closer look at the differences between iOS and Android UI design. Nowadays the market is roughly equally divided between these two platforms. But in navigation patterns iOS and Android have different recommendations for application design and development:
The first UI difference between iOS and Android is that there is a special navigation bar at the bottom of Android devices. Using the back button on the navigation bar is an easy way to return to the previous screen or step, and it works in almost all Android applications.
Apple though has a completely different approach to design.There is no global navigation bar, therefore, in applications with native iOS design, we cannot go back using the global “Back” button. This affects the design of iOS mobile apps, as they have a universal “home button”.
Other difference is that IOS uses the Human Interface Guidelines, and the Android uses material design, but what is the difference? HIG is more about a straight, light and friendly design, while the material uses more grid-based layouts, responsive animations and transitions.
A different measurement system is also used for iOS – pt, and for Android – dp. This is actually all significant differences between the iOS and Android.
Here is one of the tips that might help you to choose a proper mobile platform: if you are using an Android phone then design for Android. If you are using an iOS device, start there. Alternatively, you can create app design for both, but overconfidence could be your weakness as well. According to statistical data from different sources, ⅔ of Android users do NOT pay for apps so if monetization is a key aspect for your app, then it is another point for you and your team to discuss.
MOBILE APP DESIGN TOOLS
When you know which platform you are designing your app for, the next step is to choose the right tools to do the job. Despite the chosen platform, you can use the same tools for both the design and development of applications in general. There are many great app design tools that are available right now. No matter what you are trying to do, there always will be a tool specifically designed in order to help you. It is completely up to you to decide which of these or many other tools to use.
Everything is started with Photoshop, but unfortunately, it was not created specially for app design.Its interface was more suitable for retouching, but it was the only player on the market until Adobe XD was created. Adobe XD is the program which was invented directly for designers, in fact its functionality is the same as in the Sketch (which united all the special features of Photoshop) the only difference is that Adobe XD does not support working with multiple pages yet. Figma is another tool used in design. It is an online software, which is its main advantage.
It is completely up to you to decide which of these or many other tools to use.
Next step is to move to design creation itself. There are 2 extremely important aspects such as the app UI and UX design. Whereas developers make system elements work properly, app designers are responsible for making an app look great and giving future users the best experience possible in terms of comfort and aesthetics. Therefore mobile app design include both the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Despite the fact UX and UI design are different terms, it is better to look at them in complex.
WIREFRAME APP DESIGN
Mobile app development is a multi-stage and complicated process. The main question is how to design an app and what should we start with. It often happens that you have an excellent idea for a mobile app but don’t know where and how to start.
First of all you should create a wireframe for your app. Wireframes creation is usually done by app UX designers. Only thanks to them we can enjoy the best mobile app ux design.Many designers always use Sketch software to create frames for both iOS and Android.
“Wireframe” in other words it’s a “skeleton” of your future app. It shows all the important elements of the final product.
A wireframe demonstrate:
- Page elements
- Possible actions
- Object categories
- Content prioritization
Your wireframe design is a draft for the visual architecture of your future mobile application. You will advance to your goals and visual sketches a step further and create a basic of how your application will look and how it will work.
At first, you can do it very simply on paper, try to focus more on flow and usability, in order to understand the structure of your future app. Your framework is more detailed and concrete plan of your mobile app design elements: how everything will work and what pages and features are needed. There are many easy-to-use wireframe tools that you can use to create your own.
When the wireframe is ready, you’ll have a good overview of what pages you need and how your application will work. To see if your frames are solid, you can create a click-through model using any tool you want. You can start doing the first tests here, as it is already a low-fi prototype. We recommend you to use Invision. This website will not only allow you to switch between scheduled screens and help you to check if navigation is comfortable to use but you can also find a lot of helpful things here such as prototypes and inspiration for your app.
MOBILE APP VISUAL DESIGN
Talking about app design process it should be mentioned that this part of mobile app design is UI designer work. Unlike the UX, app UI design is concerned with how every product overall look.
The UI designers first of all are in charge of designing each page and every parameter (colors, animations, illustrations, buttons photos and fonts) which a user may interact. Secondly, they should be ensured, that the UI visually communicates with the path that a UX designer has determined on the planning phase. Good products appear in such cooperation.
The core competence of UI designer is maintaining consistency in visual elements and defining behaviour such as how to display error or warning any other message.Mobile app UI design determines the colors and arrangement of objects in the interface: is it convenient to type, fill out the form, is it easy to read the text in your application.
Сreating beautiful, realistic layouts for your app is a very important step as visual app design will make an impression on your users, so do not rush in designing your application. Great, professional, good-looking design is what can make your app successful.
Which colors, fonts and design elements you should use, is an important decision, so try to focus more on these aspects. Colors are very important aspect of each application. It is necessary to find golden mean- you should use not too many colors but not just black and white as well.
You have several different variants of how to develop your application. It may be creating an eye-catching design for your application without any support, but if you are not a designer, we would not recommend it, as it might be too hard for a beginner to do everything by itself. It is better to rely on a professional to be sure that you will get an excellent result.
Show your app design to your colleagues, friends, relatives and gather feedback on the structure and navigation of your app. Ask them if your app is intuitive, and whether all screens and elements make sense to them. Did they like colors, design elements and fonts which you used.
If you find any obstacles in your navigation or want to change the screen layout, you can simply adjust the mockup and test again. Keep going back and forth until you are satisfied with your visual app design frames.
Make a little effort and you will definitely be able to create your dream app. You may have to deal with some problems at first, but we tried to explain everything as accessible as possible just so if you follow all the above points, you will surely succeed.
PROTOTYPING AN APP
App Prototyping is an integral part of any app design process. A connection is made on all screens, this helps you to see possible logical errors or missing screens, then you show the result to the client. Prototyping tools are the link between an idea and its implementation. The next step is to create a prototype that imitates the real design of the future program and the interaction between the user and the program. We recommend using cloud-based InVision software to quickly transform mobile projects into interactive prototypes. Then developers show a prototype to the customer to get their feedback so designer can make any necessary changes for the client’s request, and after approval, people move on to the next step – test launch.
RUNNING TESTS AND APP DESIGN BETA VERSION
Testing is very important step in creating an application. It’s better to start testing as soon as you can. You can test text frames (if you have them) on real users. You have to take every opportunity you can to get a feedback. Ask your colleagues, parents, friends and random people in your office to accomplish certain tasks using your mobile app prototype. Then look their reaction. Enquire if it is easy and comfortable to use your app. Share your interactive prototype with everyone you know. Keep collecting reviews even when you feel that everything is perfect.
When you get tested your app by everybody you know you can make beta version. Beta means that app is still in the development stages and not in the final version. The app developer releases the beta version to let the public test app design and then provide feedback to the developer. Beta testing will be helpful for the developers, who may not foresee all possible problems with the app until it’s tested by a variety of people before releasing the final version.
Summing up all facts mentioned above, we can come to a conclusion, that mobile app design is an extremely important process which gives a huge variety of opportunities and threats as well. Being an app designer means having an ability to adapt and evolve all the time, in order to get users the best app ever. Finally, you should always keep in mind that there is no such thing as “final design”, as there are always some aspects that might be improved or changed. Do not be afraid of experiments, try new things, new tools and ways of design.
Are you ready to conquer the world with your app and get a good-looking, creative and modern application? Then you can refer to our designer team and they will help you in creating your perfect application:)