How to build an effective mobile app design
Here are useful tips on how to get a quality result from a designer which will meed your goals. In this article, we will discuss the process, price, and approaches.
We all have seen how the design became the main reason for one or another application success. Around middle projects, you could see a real smash because of good design, but other pretty nice ideas disappeared due to awful interface design. In this article, we will sort out the process of mobile application design creation. So, what to begin with?
1.DEFINE YOU APPLICATION AND BUSINESS GOAL TARGET AUDIENCE
As a company director or a team lead, you are responsible for answering those key questions before starting the application development. What is your target audience? What does it like? What application does it use daily? What for? Think about your goals. How you will monetize the application? What business model to choose?
Do not start the application design development when you have no answers to those questions.
2. FIND A DESIGNER
In case you read this article, then you have no designer in your team. Freelance designers can be found on Dribbble and Behance. You need to choose a specialist whose portfolio really meets your tastes.
It will be a good solution to hire a complex team consisting of designers, developers, QAs, and PM. This way you will get not only design but a whole working application. Hiring a company instead of a freelancer, you will get additional skills: analytics, UI/UX design, mobile and web development, and so on. They are the team with a formed business process so that it will save your time in comparison to unknown freelancers. Such teams are also stored on the platforms, so you can try Upwork.
Also, pay attention to the customers’ reviews and rating. The rating’s absence does not definitely mean that you face a bad team, as they could just have registered on the platform. Surely, there will be a higher risk in this case.
3. TELL DESIGNER EVERYTHING
It is a simple but pretty crucial point to tell your designer everything about the future application. All your thoughts about the target audience, what image you want to create, what will be the monetization strategy, what applications do you like from a design point of view, what are you going to stand out among competitors and so on. You need to share inspiration and listen carefully to feedback from the designer.
Try to agree on all points preliminary. In case a designer abandons to follow the principles of flat design for an Android application, you need to wish goodbye and search for another specialist. Moreover, do not forget to give the designer all relevant style guides used in your company. Even if they are useful for the web, they may also become useful during the design process.
4. GET A PROTOTYPE
A qualified designer always starts with a prototype – a working model of your future application. They create all the application windows, place elements and create its connections. With the help of such a prototype, you can try this future product, find and remove the mistakes in UI/UX. Share this prototype with your friends and focus group in order to understand whether they use the application in an expected way.
Prototyping requires time and money but also stands for a crucial stage. With the help of the prototype, you can define the application design price, so you will definitely know how much money will be spent. One of the best prototype demonstration tools is InVision – there is an opportunity to comment design, which is pretty convenient.
5. GET THE DESIGN
When all the deadlines and prices are discussed, the designer can start creating. You need to agree upon watching the design screens when ready and then provide with feedback. In case you work with a freelancer, you need to pay attention to the way you get the material. All the sources should be sorted in folders according to the project’s structure. The folders should have comprehensive and proper names so that developers do not waste time on decrypting those names. Ideally, the designer should leave comments for developers, especially in complex moments, and create a file with a collection of all the elements behaviour (so-called interface guidelines, GUI).
For decades, the most popular graphics editor has been Adobe Photoshop and its friend – Creative Suite. Now, one of the most popular is Sketch, as it was designed especially for interface designers. Actually, we use both options in work.
6. TEST AND IMPROVE YOUR APP
You cannot actually create a successful project once for all. You will definitely need to provide the app with additional functionality, modify something, based on the statistics and the users’ feedback. Thus, while choosing a designer or a team, you need to discuss future application support and maintenance.
NATIVE OR CROSS PLATFORM APP – WHAT TO CHOOSE?
In case you have ambitious targets and a sufficient budget, you should always choose native apps. They work better and look really good. The users’ behaviour on iOS and Android are somehow different, so you need to take it into account. The application interface should be developed according to the set guidelines, for example, material design for Android. This way, you will provide a high level of user retention and will be satisfied with cohort analysis.
However, sometimes a cross-platform application will be a better solution. This can be so in case you need to create MVP (minimum viable product) shortly and with a limited budget. The main benefit cross-platform application is that you do not need to hire developers for each separate platform.
HOW MUCH DOES MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT COST?
Mobile app design cannot be a low-cost solution, but it is important investments in the product’s future success. The price of execution works completely depends on the country. For example, we are based in Ukraine and the price per hour for a designer starts form $25. Here are the prices for some of our works:
Aegle is a cross-platform application that helps the user stay in shape. With the help of it, you can plan complex workouts, watch video lessons with exercises and track what you have eaten during the week. There is also a calorie counter and a “breakaway” mode where you can record all the fast food eaten. We did the design of this application for iOS, spent 57 hours on 13 screens. The total cost is $1,430.
FlyMyCard is a service that allows creating attractive virtual postcards and sent it to friends, and also find new friends from other countries. You can choose a photo, add a frame and a text, and then send it to your friend or beloved. The customer wants to have both Android and iOS application versions. Thus, we spent 73 hours to create 18 screens, and the cost was $1840.
WaysGo is a pretty complex project: a social network which allows making new friends based on those things you use and those places you visit. The users have an opportunity to pick different roles, and the application has many features: you can search for restaurants and places, read stories about them and create your own content. We have created 32 screens for iOS and Android applications, spend 120 hours, and the total cost was $3000.
Here are the approximate prices for creating well-known apps:
Clear — A popular application for keeping a to-do list and creating reminders. It is very convenient and attractive, often falling into the lists of applications with the best design. 5 screens, $600.
PayPal is pretty comprehensive and easy-to-use, thanks to the efficient UX/UI design. 17 screens, $1765.
Pinterest has a perfect Android app, the users have highly rated the existing design. 25 screens and $2500.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND WHETHER THE HIRING DESIGNER IS A RIGHT PERSON
Here is a compact checklist which allows you to be sure that you are putting the project design in good hands:
the designer asks you about the target audience, strategy and goals;
the designer makes a prototype, discusses it with you and makes edits;
the designer takes care of the source code and helps developers figure it out;
the designer is ready to support the project in the future.