So what does it takes to design awesome mobile app? Is it the features of the app or is it the phrase making users life simple and convenient? Answer to this is combination of both though many may tilt their answer more to second point, which is making our life convenient, still I won’t call it easy to use.
Truth is some of iOS /Android features may be tougher at times, but what researchers feel is that people love to learn so much that even those who have very less knowledge on online stuff are very much eager to learn and use. Question is when was the last time you just loved to learn something which you are not passionate about? Mobile apps are the answers to this. Be it older generation, or younger, everyone gets super excited to surf their mobiles continuously.
Now then if you have a concept for designing new Mobile App, some questions you may ask:
• Do we directly jump to design visual designs and give it to developer to code?
• Do we just follow trending apps, like can’t you make it like FB?
• How do I test with my intended users on how they will perceive it?
• What are criteria for a usable concept?
Some common mistakes that we do which can be avoided:
• Do not directly jump to visual design (Mockups) as most of the apps fail as people blindly follow some of the favorite apps and try to replicate it and by doing that they forget to analyze the real need
Well to answer these questions lies in the appropriate approach as listed below
STEP 1: Analyze the requirement
• List out all features for the App in simple word or excel (like signup, forget password, etc.)
• Take each of the features and build user story for the same, e.g. “user A comes to landing page and taps on signup icon to fill form”
STEP 2: Conceptualize
• Start with Sketching out screens (Wireframes)
• Brainstorm within the team and also with the stake holders on the concept, go back to drawing board and re-sketch.
• Finalize the navigational pattern and representation of the same in various platforms (iOS, Android, etc.), Make sure you are adhering to the native UI guidelines. This is very much essential to go with the common native features for UI, as all the users are very much used to the features provided by the platform. So do not reinvent the wheel when it comes to Native UI features
STEP 3 – Design Visual Interface and Interaction
• Start building visual designs for screens based on the wireframe flow, if possible take exact size of the mobile frame, so that it becomes easy to translate the UI artifacts to developers
• Design all the screens for different platforms iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android (Phone and Tablets)
• To get actual feel of the app on how it is going to look in device, have all the Mockup uploaded in Invision (register with invision website) and share the URL to people to open the same in the phone. Advantage of this is you can build links within the mockups and the App will allow users to navigate giving a feeling that they are accessing real app.
• Conduct simple usability testing of the (visual mockup) app with your end users even before it gets to development. You can give simple tasks like “how will you buy xxx computer? Can you perform the checkout?” During the task you can observe them on why and how they are doing the task. Also you can ask them some basic questions on what they are thinking to achieve the task. This gives a good feedback for you on how usable your app is. You can create a report of your findings and if needed based on the feedback you can go back and make some changes to your screens.
STEP 4 – Style guide and UI Artifacts
• Now that you are ready with all your screen mockups, start building UI style guide which will explain which colors, fonts you have used, icons and graphics used, etc.
• Lastly start giving UI artifacts like icons, graphical images, etc. Please note that for icons you need to again follow the UI guidelines for all device platforms (iOS, Android, Windows)
Final words your app should be very simple, with not much clutter and very precise (to the point) as people have very less space to find and react to it in mobile space. So if you have a good concept for mobile app, go ahead but follow some basic UX process which will help you in long term.