Mobile app UI/UX design - what customers need to know

views 661date 09-08-23 Read Time: 9 min

There is a perception that a mobile application designer simply creates beautiful images: place buttons on the screen, play with fonts and colours, add some effects – and the design is done. But no – the designer’s role is much broader and more complex. This specialist (or a whole team) makes the application comfortable and ergonomic, creates an intuitive structure, optimises the functionality for the audience’s pain, creates a simple path for the user from the entrance to the target action. And visual interface design is just one component of UI/UX design:

  • The goal of UX (User Experience) development is to improve the user experience, to provide a comfortable interaction with the application functionality;
  • UI (User Interface) design is the same attractive interface visuals, but created with previous UX research in mind.

UI/UX development can be done by a single specialist or by separate designers: one working on the structure and functionality, the other creating stylish visuals for the interface. It is important that those involved in the process interact, discuss their solutions and work as a team. This is the only way to achieve a complete design in which each element fulfils its function – to attract, interest, guide, encourage the desired action.

How these processes take place, what the work of UI/UX designers consists of, why high-quality design requires a lot of work and teamwork – this is what we will tell you in our article. This information will be useful for those who plan to Order Application Design Development and wants to get to the bottom of it.

Step 1 – Analyse the UX design

Working with the UX component requires prior analysis:

  • The designer studies the requirements in the brief completed by the client;
  • Reviews competitors, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses;
  • Analyses the target audience – their characteristics, needs, roles, expectations;
  • Dives into business processes and sales funnels.

Analytics gives the designer an understanding of how to build an app that is useful to the audience and profitable for the customer. A general concept is formed, which the designer gradually fleshes out:

  • Develops the structure of the application, determining the number and nesting of sections;
  • develops the navigation system, creating a convenient and intuitive relationship between sections;
  • Thinks through different scenarios of user interaction with the functionality to simplify the path to the desired action as much as possible;
  • optimises functionality to solve audience problems and help customers achieve their goals.

Step 2 – Build user flow

A mobile application should solve specific customer tasks – to sell, to attract, to monetise. Therefore, when designing the interface, the main focus is on the user, or more precisely, the user’s path from entering the application to performing the desired action. Ideally, the visitor should not only enter the application, but also buy, order, pay for a subscription, leave a request, etc. If they don’t, you need to remind them with a push notification, offer a discount, make a special offer to get them back into the app.

All this happens according to clear scenarios developed during interface design. Algorithms and paths are created along which the user can make a purchase, order or request. There can be several variants of the user’s interaction with the application, for their processing block diagrams in User Flow format are formed, where rectangular elements are application screens, diamonds – conditions, arrows – user actions. User flow is processed for all possible user scenarios. This method allows

  • Visualise the visitor’s path;
  • Eliminate complex “maze” actions;
  • To shorten and simplify the path, to make it interesting and attractive;
  • Incorporate marketing techniques that incentivise users into the scripts;
  • Identify problem areas, dead ends, confusion;
  • Eliminate unnecessary screens, optimise application structure;
  • to add functionality where necessary.

Step 3 – Sketch the interface design using wireframes

The UX designer proposes several conceptual solutions for the client to choose the best one. The agreed concept is sent for detailed elaboration. At these stages there may be a lot of revisions, adjustments, searching for successful ideas – all this should be done before the moment of visual design of the interface, so as not to correct the finished layouts later. That’s why the interface is represented schematically in the form of sketches, without detailed drawing of visuals, in the form of simple black and white figures. Wireframe format:

  • form the “skeleton” of the application;
  • to create a navigation;
  • Harmonise the nesting of sections;
  • Determine the number of screens and the structure of each screen;
  • Place menus, buttons, forms, headers, content on the screens.

Since there can be many variations in the structure and arrangement of elements, sketches are created in special programmes with the possibility of editing. Wireframes are the basic material for discussing, proposing ideas and finding the best solution. Once agreed, the sketches are passed on for more detailed work – the development of the UI design and the creation of a realistic prototype.

Step 4 – UI design development

This is the most enjoyable stage for the client as the application begins to take on original design content. Black and white sketches and schemes become original colour layouts – it becomes clear what the finished application will look like. The designer visualises the image:

  • Chooses the colour scheme, fonts and backgrounds;
  • Details Buttons, icons, navigation elements;
  • Creates animation effects and transitions;
  • Coordinates the style with the client, making revisions as necessary;
  • Produces full colour, detailed mock-ups of each screen.

The design style is chosen according to the purpose of the application, the needs and interests of the target audience, and the features of the functionality. The arrangement of elements and the structure of the application correspond to the decisions made in the UX design development phase. Until the project is submitted for layout and programming, you can make changes, correct errors and adjust UX components. And to make sure everything works perfectly, the next stage is for the designer to develop a prototype of the application.

What is the difference between native and hybrid app design?

Designing native applications for a single operating system takes into account the separate requirements of iOS and Android. There are specific guidelines with recommendations for Google Material Design for Android and Apple Human Interface for iOS, aimed at creating user-friendly and intuitive interfaces for users of the respective devices.

The guidelines cover various components: design, layout, visual effects, button animation, icons, transitions. By following these requirements, the designer ensures user-friendliness and facilitates further promotion of the product in the stores. When developing a cross-platform application for both operating systems, the designer looks for compromise solutions that do not contradict the requirements of Apple and Google.

Step 5 – Prototyping

So you’ve thought through the logic of user actions, created user scenarios, worked out the structure of the screens and developed the design style – now it’s time to test the result. This is done by creating a prototype – static or interactive, but as close as possible in structure to the finished application. Prototyping highlights problem areas – complicated navigation, awkward functionality, illogical links between sections – helps to make final design decisions and minimises revisions in the next stages.

Static prototype

Suitable for applications with simple logic and projects of medium complexity. The designer designs each screen with placement of the main elements – menu items, catalogue, buttons, forms and others. The logic of the application should be clear when viewing the layout of each screen. Text explanations and hints can be added in complex areas. The advantages of this method of prototyping are speed and relative simplicity. The disadvantages are that a static prototype may be more difficult for customers to accept during approval. However, if the logic of the application is simple and clear, it is best to choose a static prototype.

Interactive prototype

Screens are linked by navigation elements, buttons and forms are clickable, and the prototype mimics the logic of the application. This is a more labour-intensive method, but it can simplify the design of complex applications. The interactive prototype is particularly important when testing solutions with the customer – the customer can test scenarios, flip through screens, evaluate the convenience of location and the interaction of different elements. The interactive prototype is created in the programmes Figma, Protopie, Invision, Framer, Principle.

  • Once a UI design is agreed, the prototype is built in full design – this is the most informative way of prototyping.
  • If design decisions have not yet been made, the interactive prototype can be created in a simplified form with a schematic representation of the interface elements.

How to help create cool UI/UX design: tips for clients

  • Be patient and pay close attention to the stages of filling in the brief, developing the TOR, coordinating sketches and prototypes. It is better to make all the conceptual decisions at the stages when the interface has not yet been designed. Then there will be fewer adjustments and the process will go faster.
  • Do not separate UI and UX. If the customer asks you to just make a picture because the functional part of the interface is well thought out – this is only suitable for small applications with simple logic. For a serious mobile product, the structure and functionality should be worked out by experienced specialists – in close cooperation with the customer, of course.
  • Communicate confidently, but do not impose a subjective opinion if it is not based on the results of analysis and research. It is worth trusting professionals – they will certainly share ideas with a client if it benefits the project. But they will never implement a losing solution proposed by the client.
  • Keep your finger on the pulse, stay in touch, actively participate in consultations, offer ideas and engage in dialogue. Trusting specialists is not about indifference and complete isolation from the process. It is about constructive communication and collaboration.
  • Don’t expect “cheap and fast”. The original design of a mobile application is a complex team effort that is not done “for yesterday”. If you are in a hurry and on a tight budget, you can use template solutions. And then, when you have the opportunity, give the redesign enough time and attention.

We hope that this article will help customers to set the right expectations of the design process and establish a productive collaboration with the developer to get a really cool result.

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