You’ve had a great idea for a mobile app and now you need to build it. The design of your mobile app will be one of the most crucial factors in its usability and success. The design process involves making your app design not only look good but ensuring that the user experience and user interface are consistent with what users expect from today’s mobile apps.
Before designing the app’s look and feel you need to decide on its flow control and structure: essentially how it will perform the task it was designed for. Wireframes enable you to mock up the screens and buttons of an app without actually having to code them – it is similar to drawing them on a piece of paper. The goal is to show in simple form how the user will navigate the app and the flow of its functionality and usability. There are applications that can help you to create wireframes of your app and even mimic basic functionality to help visualize the final product.
Once you’ve finalized your wireframes and are happy with the way they function it’s time to turn them over to your development team to create mockups and prototypes. If you’ve used a design application to create your wireframes this step can be made much easier. Many tools, for example, provide methods for associating notes with the wireframes to help provide detailed information to the development team about how you want the app to function.
The design phase in app design is responsible for determining all the visual elements that are used within the app. This can include background colours, logos, fonts, buttons and so on. It is important that the app has a consistent theme and look throughout all its screens and elements and that’s why you should not leave this up to the developer but decide it all in advance. Having a graphic designer cast an eye over your work is also a good idea to see where you can make improvements.
The development phase can lead to some of the most frustrating parts of the app creation process. While you may have a clear sense of how the app should work the developer is tasked with actually making it work. As a designer you need to be sympathetic to the technical challenges which a developer may face – while it may seem easy to you, technically it may be far more challenging. It is a good idea to become familiar with the tools and OS the developer is using to better understand implementation issues and how to overcome them.