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A fundamental part of a successful app is great design. On top of appealing to the aesthetic part of our brains, a well-thought-out (and well-constructed) app design will really set your app apart and help you win over investors and capture your target audience’s interest.
Ready to learn about the app design process and why it’s so important? Throughout this blog, we’ll focus on the app design process and provide an overview of what you need, why you need it, and what needs to happen when you invest your time and resources into successful mobile app design and development.
Let’s get started!
The Basic Mobile App Design Process
Mobile app development needs plenty of time for planning and app designing. Whether creating your app or developing one for a client, developers need a clear roadmap and blueprint for the app before they can start creating anything. Having a proper mobile app design process achieves this.
Here are the basic steps for mobile application design and development:
7 App Design Steps
- Planning You App
The planning stage can be broken down into two steps: pre-planning and writing an action plan. Pre-planning is all about establishing your goals and vision for the app. It includes talking to potential investors about their business goals and identifying potential limitations and needs you want to meet. It’s also important to determine the app’s scope in appearance, capabilities, integrations, etc.
After deciding on these critical matters, you can start writing an action plan. It is more detailed as it includes potential timelines, end-user guidelines, key performance indicators, app design and development cost estimates, and more.
- Researching Your App
After putting your plans and design goals on paper, the next step is polishing them and checking whether your goals align with your target audience’s needs. More importantly, you need to check if there is room for your app and whether it can satisfy a need or solve a pain point that no other app has done so far.
The research stage includes surveys, focus groups, and competitor analysis to study the strengths and weaknesses of existing comparable apps. This stage is also an opportunity for UX (User Experience) technicians to understand how competitor apps work and what users expect from them. Ideally, your team should develop competitive features that will make your app better than the rest.
- Drafting Specifications of Your App
This is the part of the app design process where your plans become more concrete. After getting more insights from your research, you’ll decide what tools to use, what UX to build, and other technical aspects of the app. Developers will later refer to this list of specifications when they start creating your app.
- Wireframe Creation of Your App
A wireframe is the skeleton of a mobile application. It shows an app’s structure and how it works. Designers spend a lot of time on wireframes because designing them reveals things that aren’t apparent in the planning phase. For example, an approved layout may prove too bulky or plain once it is adapted to a wireframe.
This stage gives developers time to adjust technical and on-screen specifications. It also makes the app’s structure as close to perfect as possible. As such, some developers even recommend bumping wireframe creation higher up in the app design process.
- Prototyping Your App
Building wireframes is mainly for the benefit of the developers and investors: to prove the app’s feasibility, show its potential, and provide developers and engineers with a guide for creating the app. In contrast, prototyping focuses on the users and their experience using the app. Developers follow UX design notes to build prototypes with basic functionality so that people will know what the completed app will be like.
Mobile application design prototypes are meant to be tested and explored by members of the target audience so that creators can get helpful feedback to improve the app further.
- Polish Your App’s UI Design
Not to be confused with UX, which pertains to the overall experience with a website, the UI or user interface is about the visual elements that affect how users interact with an app or website. It encompasses typography, color schemes, menu, layout, and CTA button styles. These may seem minor, but they make a big difference in satisfying users and convincing them to keep using your app.
Some app interface design elements will surely be discussed early in the planning stage. Still, it’s only after prototyping that developers can fully decide if the layout or color scheme they chose works for the app.
This is also the perfect time to test the interface animation for your app. Animations like how pages transition to the next or how a window pops up on the screen are visual touches that enhance UX and UI and are, therefore, a feature you may want to explore.
- Planning Your App’s Software Architecture
While designing, wireframing, and prototyping, you might realize that your app has enormous potential, and you’ll have excellent ideas for scaling its features and expanding from its core functionality. So consider carving time out of your timetable to plan software architecture and put all those ideas into paper in the middle of mobile app design and development. Doing so will ensure your app is built such that it can be scaled up easily or branch out to include other services.
After finalizing your wireframe and UI, testing your prototype and incorporating valuable feedback into the design, the development stage can begin. Coding an app can take weeks or months, depending on its complexity and scale. Remember: the design process can continue until the app is finished. So anticipate the need to make quick adjustments and be flexible to improve your app.
Why You Need a Mobile Application Design and Development Team
If you have entrepreneurial motives for launching an app and wish to launch it as quickly as possible, then hiring a design team is a must. You may assemble a team and put them on your payroll or hire the services of an app design and development company. Both have pros and cons, but if you want to hit the ground running, hiring an experienced product development team is ideal. It relieves you of the burden of recruitment, setting up an office, and taking a chunk out of your capital to pay the overhead for an in-house design team.
If this sounds like what you’re looking for, then consider a company like Jackrabbit Mobile. We offer value to all customers with our user-centric approach to application design and lean methodologies. Our team has developed mobile apps for organizations and companies in transportation, wellness, finance, healthcare, and more. Take a look at some of our work and when you’re ready, contact us for a consultation and quote. We’ll also be happy to sign an NDA for your peace of mind.
Let’s Make Your Idea Reality
We deliver value to partners through mobile strategy expertise, user-centered design, and lean methodology. Take a look around our work portfolio and drop us a line, we’d love to chat.