When you create a really well-crafted app, it can do wonders for your business. It keeps users engaged, turns them into loyal customers, and boosts conversions by enhancing users' experience. In fact, it can be the deciding factor between success and failure, especially for complex products or services.
That's why it's crucial to have a solid and proven approach when you're designing an app. A structured design process not only saves you time and effort on testing and improvements but also cuts down on development and maintenance costs.
So, in today's guide, we're going to break down how to design a mobile app in six straightforward steps.
To design a mobile app interface, you must be on track with some logical steps. Follow these steps to design it.
Step 1: Understand The App's Purpose And Target Audience
Despite being one of the key purposes, designers sometimes skip this step unintentionally or even intentionally. Without understanding the purpose of designing the app, you cannot effectively translate the development goals into the design.
Different purposes require distinct design strategies. For instance, the interface of a financial app will differ significantly from that of an eCommerce app in terms of appearance and navigation.
Furthermore, prior to commencing the design phase, a clear comprehension of the target audience is essential. The preferences and tastes of specific demographics vary, and failing to identify the target audience can lead to unmet expectations. Also, you need to do market research to find the purpose and target audience.
To grasp it better, you can pose the following questions to yourself:
Once you have answers to these questions, you are prepared to advance to the next step.
Step 2: Sketch A Design Following Design Principles
Now, it's time to sketch an idea based on your understanding of the purpose and target audience. While sketching, it's important to pay attention to the design principles as they play a crucial role in enhancing usability and user experience. If you are unsure about the design principles, you can refer to the what are the effective interface design principles.
In this phase, you need to make an information architecture. Constructing the information architecture begins by documenting a list of the pages and features intended for inclusion in the app. This step allows you to cross-reference and verify whether any necessary information or features have been overlooked. You can also check the navigation and interconnection within different pages.
By doing so, you'll better grasp potential usability issues and errors that might arise within different pages. It's essential to comprehensively sketch out all the pages as part of this process.
Create low-fidelity wireframing using tools like Figma, Sketch, etc.
Step 3: Design Visual Elements
Start designing visual elements when the low-fidelity wireframe is ready. Choose a color scheme that aligns with your app's branding and target audience. Select readable and consistent typography throughout the app—design icons, buttons, and other graphical elements that match the app's style.
Remember all the visual elements must align with the app’s target audiences and purpose.
Step 4: Make a High Fidelity Mockup
Once your visual elements are prepared, integrate them into the low-fidelity wireframe and convert them to a high-fidelity mockup, giving tangible shape to your application.
While crafting the mockup, meticulously observe alignment, consistency, and spacing, as these factors are pivotal in crafting an impactful design.
Following the mockup's creation, distribute it among the cross-functional team to gather their input. Additionally, consider conducting user research to gather insights from actual users, further enriching the design process.
Step 5: Create Prototype
Develop the design based on feedback obtained from the cross-functional team and actual users. After this, generate a high-fidelity prototype employing various prototyping tools such as Figma, Sketch, and Proto.io. This prototype will closely resemble the final product. As a result, the users can interact with the design.
Step 6: Do User Testing, Iterate and Validate the Design
Having prepared the high-fidelity prototype, the next step is to conduct a user test. Share your design with actual users through various communication channels. This stage allows stakeholders to engage more effectively and gain a sense of the final product's essence. Consequently, they can better grasp any usability issues present.
Upon receiving feedback from the stakeholders, proceed to iterate the design and address the identified usability issues. It's crucial to note that this is an ongoing process; continue iterating until the design reaches the desired standard.
Refer to the video below for a visual guide on designing a mobile app interface using Figma.
A good UX/UI makes the difference between apps that do well and those that don’t. Mobile users today expect a lot from an app: that it will load quickly, be easy to use, and be fun to talk to. If you want your design to be good, you should consider UX an important part of product management, not just a small part of the architecture.
If you want help with your UI design for mobile apps, we are here to help! If you have an idea, we would be happy to discuss it! You can contact us here!