Updated: Aug 17, 2022
The process of designing an app is not a mere grouping of steps. Rather, it involves a series of meticulous processes that enable the creation of a user-friendly interface (UI). The UI is key to the success of your app; it determines whether users will take the time to learn your software and use it on a regular basis. Good design can make an application intuitive and easy to use even for people who aren't tech-savvy. If you're thinking about developing an application for yourself or your company but aren't sure how to proceed, here's how you can design one:
Research is a crucial part of the design process. It’s your job to research users, their behaviors and pain points, as well as competitor products. Once you have all this information, you can use it to inform your design decisions.
There are two parts of research: qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative methods help us get a sense of what people do; qualitative methods provide insight into why people do things in certain ways or how they feel about something.
Qualitative research consists of interviews (also known as focus groups), surveys or other forms of data collection that allows for more open-ended questions and answers. These methods tend to be more time-consuming because they require more effort from participants but they can also be more revealing than quantitative analysis since they allow participants to express themselves freely without being constrained by limited response options provided by a survey tool like Google Forms or Survey Monkey (although these tools are great!).
Discover and Prioritize
Before you even get started, do some research and discover what users want from your app.
● Figure out how much time you can dedicate to this project.
● Decide on a goal for your app, then write it down. (If you're still unsure of what that might be, don't worry—we'll talk about that in the next section.)
● Think about what problem or challenge someone would like to see solved with this app before moving forward. For example, if someone has a fitness goal but doesn't know where to start, maybe they'd find an app that helps them plan their workouts helpful!
Paper prototyping is a low-fidelity technique for creating a digital interface. It’s ideal for quickly testing and getting feedback on interactions, as well as whether an interface makes sense to users.
Paper prototyping involves making paper models of the screens in your app, including all the components you want in your final design. Then, you can test how people interact with these paper versions of the screens to see if they understand what they are supposed to do (or not). This process helps you figure out how people will use your app before it’s built.
Wireframes are a low-fidelity way of representing the structure of a website or app. They're simple, rough drawings that help you think through the structure of an app and focus on how content will be organized before you start designing it.
Create a Style Guide
A style guide is a document that defines the design elements and their usage. It's a living document that is constantly updated as the product evolves.
It's used as a reference for developers and designers to make sure they're on the same page when it comes to app design details, such as color scheme, typography, spacing and more.
A style guide also serves another important purpose: communicating decisions about how you want your app designed across teams working on different aspects of it (front-end vs back-end).
Design High fidelity Mockups
High fidelity mockups are the final design of your app. They look more realistic and are more expensive to produce than low fidelity mockups, but they can be time-consuming to make and difficult to change.
High fidelity mockups include:
● The colors (and fonts) of text and other things like buttons or boxes
● The size of items on the screen (buttons, icons, etc.)
● How big everything is in relation to each other, including spacing between words/lines of text
● Usability testing is a method for evaluating the ease of use and learnability of a product. You can do it in-person or remotely, but whatever you choose, it's best to test with people who are likely to use your app.
● You should conduct usability testing before and after the design is complete. This will help you identify issues with navigation and layout more easily as well as get feedback on whether or not users understand what they're looking at when they first open up your app.
Once you're happy with your design, it's time to deploy. Remember the more devices you test on and the more browsers, operating systems and screen sizes that you test on, the better prepared you'll be for any eventuality!
If your app is going to be distributed via the App Store or other third-party app stores then it will need to go through a review process before being published. This can take up to a few weeks depending on how busy they are at the time so don't forget this step if you want your app ready as soon as possible.
Introduce users to the UI before they try to use it.
You'll want to familiarize users with the interface before they try to use it. This helps them become familiar with how it works and how to navigate through it.
You can do this by providing a style guide that outlines design principles, visual language, interaction patterns and other important details.
If you’re still new to the world of design, these tips are a great place to start. They’re not just for UI designers—they apply across many disciplines and can help you make better designs in whatever medium you work in. The key is to think about how people interact with your product or service, and how it will affect them.