Mobile design business is definitely on the wave and most of us are seeing how many amazing apps are coming out every day. I am digging into the iOS design myself and wanted to know what are the best tips form the industry leading creative minds.
I’ve asked 13 extremely talented and experienced designers to share their best advice with Despreneur readers who are interested in this quickly changing business field.
Previously I have posted an article on why it is a good time to get started in mobile business.
Think about your application’s goals, what features are important and try to simplify everything as possible to create easy to use environment. Use all similar apps so you can try to come up with better and new solutions and when designing always test everything on your device.
Creating a product requires perseverance and getting from idea to launch is anything but straightforward. It’s easy to get started but hard to finish. Along the way, don’t forget to have fun and celebrate the smaller milestones. Getting caught up in the process and the details is a natural thing, but when in doubt It helps to think of the people who are going to use what you are building. Focus on making something that you’ll have fun creating and they’ll have fun using and you can’t go wrong.
Don’t be afraid to innovate something outside the box, also don’t be afraid to take an existing idea and improve it to fulfill your own needs. Then if it fails, it still fills your needs. What you create doesn’t have to be complex, people love simple apps that has a limited amount of options that gets them the satisfaction they were looking for when they first searched for your app. Your users are human just like you, create something for yourself.
The most important thing to remember is that coding on mobile is hard. Very very hard. A simple list style that could take 2 minutes to code in CSS can become a multiple week nightmare for developers with multiple asset preparation on the design side. Knowing that here are my advices:
– Always try to stick the maximum you can guidelines. Those are made to fasten things up on developing side. Breaking those rules can generate extra work loads.
– Try to use pre generated components and not redesign them. i.e. in iOS the lists (like the list in settings) are pretty hard to break design wise. You’re better off concentrating on custom pages of your app and leave those simple list pages with a default look and feel. Then later, if you have time, come back to those.
– Have a very good communication with your development team. Talk to them. Show them what you were expecting as effect, slides. Help them nail that weird looking shadow. Prepare assets for them. Help them, make their life easier (they’re already having the really hard part of the job).
– Have fun, enjoy the process and be proud of your final result.
Working with mobile apps is easy. But you should ever keep in mind, that the viewport is much smaller than on other devices. Placing the content right and following mobile design pattern would be very helpful.
Design and design-oriented development is the key to success so keep it real, clean and analytical also be honest with your design decisions. Stop wasting time on redesigning current popular apps or talking trash about new iOS or flat vs. skeu thingy, get out there and find problems, analyse, destroy, erase and improve. Landcam is a great example. Tons of camera apps out there but only those guys got it right; dead simple UI and a fluid UX. This is for designers, entrepreneurs and recent startups; the key is “common sense” and believe me if you are doing A/B testings and lost in numbers there’s something going deadly wrong, just start over. And if you take a look at this GoodUI and tell yourself “I already know these” afterwards, you are on the right way, keep going.
Angel Jiménez Lopez
Create a simple and intuitive interface flow keeping in mind the different design patterns across mobile platforms. Select a hero screen that is memorable and defines your product, iterate on the visual style and simplify the interactions. Always be looking for improvements and new opportunities.
Research – insvest some time on finding out about similar competitor apps. Might be and most likely your app idea already exists. But it doesn’t matter, because you can make it better! Just get to know your “enemies” and their features.
Start small, grow big – don’t shoot for the moon from the first start-up launch. Target the crucial features for an app and make it happen first.
Test – as much as possible in any stage of your app project. Working on the same thing for a long time makes you blind. Also your users know better what they actually need.
Try to find the right balance between the innovative design and the features that people are looking for.
Denis Pakhaliuk (Ramotion)
Since 2009, it has been the goal of every member of our team to get insight into the clients’ business needs, spare them the trouble of managing the development process and deliver high-quality mobile software products with outstanding design before a deadline. We started as a design agency back in 2009 and later we moved towards full-service mobile app development approach.
And this background allows us to see everything trough the lens of design. I think this is our main advantage in comparing to other mobile developers.
When it comes to iOS app icons, we use classic design approach and start with pencil sketches, brainstorming ideas. We draw dozens of ideas and try to come up with something great. You can take a look at this icon design case study of Official Behance app icon.
It means that you have to do your work a very long time and do your best to become #1 in your niche. It took decades for Apple to become the most valuable company in the world. And all this time they were consistent and they had very strong set of values and beliefs that united and inspired the extraordinary group of people under their roof.
There is no doubt that you will be noticed by thought leaders or big clients in your industry but it takes time and very hard work.
I think each designer should be obsessed with his work in good sense of this word :)
Never stop learning and be hungry, because trends change all the time, technologies evolve so we have to be up to date.
Building a Great App in 13 Uneasy Steps!
1. Take time to fully understand the idea of the app
2. Think about the users – who are they, what do they like, when and where will they be interacting with the app.
3. Get to know the device it will run on – what’s its size, resolution and functionality?
4. Make use if it’s many interaction points when appropriate – sensors, accelerometer, GPS, etc.
5. Build the wireframes and test the usability and intuitiveness of the app.
6. Simplify functionality. (It is always possible to make it simpler. )
7. Create a beautiful, pixel-perfect design.
9. Develop the app. Never publish a half-done or untested product.
10. Focus on details. It takes time, but it’s worth it.
Evaldas Kalinauskas on Twitter.
Know your users, but if your mom understands it – you’re golden.
Secondly – design it with less design as possible.
3. Read the guidelines.
4. When you think that you’re done – ask yourself, ‘would I really use it this way’, if not – start from scratch.
Smartphones have changed the way we interact with content and while the web is so much longer out there, compared to the first smartphones, we must stop simply copying established desktop behaviours to the mobile world. Each platform has its own paradigms and becoming familiar with them and the Human Interface Guidelines of each platform is eventually crucial to the user experience of your app.
You won’t succeed out there anymore and ultimately please and delight your users, if you haven’t had your audience and established behaviours for the platform you’re designing for in your mind, while crafting the UI and UX of your app. In the end it’s not only about how well you know the HIG’s and existing patterns, but also about how much you believe in what you do.
To summarise the answers on designing mobile apps we can clearly see that analysis of your users, clear core functionality and simple user experience are the keys to success. What do you think it takes to be successful in mobile business?
Featured image: Simpler BOM Weather by Jamie Skella.
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