If you run a small business or start up you are probably aware of what mobile development can do for your business (ie. a lot!). If you have an app for your business it is essential that you are aware of the basic rules of user experience if you want to maximise your consumer reach. With so many start ups on the market making your mobile presence stand out with beautiful design will be one of the strongest marketing strategies you can use to gain and keep loyal consumers.

In app development, apart from functionality and usability, the most important aspects for success are the app design and usability. We must always look at a mobile app from the point of view of the user. That is to say that, although it should function, we should bear in mind the opinion of our client if we want it to be successful. To achieve this we should pay great attention to the design and usability in app design and game development.

Operating system

Before we start considering the app design and usability we are aiming for we must take into account the operating system and the corporate branding of the business. A good design always helps to make the user experience better and helps to capture new clients if it embodies the ethos of the company well.

Integrated design

However we must remember that although they must be integrated, design and usability are different. Usability must never be conditional to design, it should always come first and the design should be constructed from the base of functionality and good usability of the app. Both are also linked to app development so the designer should work side by side with the developer.

app design - wireframes

Wireframes image by Anthony Lagoon

By drawing up the wireframes first in app development we can define the functioning of the app first without any type of design. This allows us to establish a simple navigation system and detect errors easily. Correcting errors in app development at this stage is essential to saving time and energy later once we have added the design.

Once the usability and functionality are covered we can set about with the design work. In this the tones and colours of corporate apps always have to have an intimate relation with the brand in question. As an example we can see the relation between the game Dots or the mobile version of Skype.

Trends in app design

Knowing how to combine the trends in app design is key. For example, flat design that is used as much in web design as in mobile apps. It uses the images of brands and transmits them to the programmer to integrate them in app development. Integrating so many variables is not easy but it is an essential and indispensable prerequisite for our app to be successful.

app design - flat design

Flat design image by Gal Shir

When we speak about app design we think about the colour we use, the style, the icon design and the other icons are seen in a simple way. But the design of apps goes much further than that and must respond to the necessities of UX, UI and ixD. We can see how each one affects app design.

UX, the user experience

When we speak about UX we refer to the experience of the user. We think about the user and what they are going to do with the app or on the screen. The experience before, during and after contact with the screen. It is one of the focuses that we have spoken about in app design; yes, the app has to be beautiful ad attractive but it also has to behave well for the user. It has to make the user experience better.

app design - UX

User Experience image by Ramotion

To achieve a good UX design we have to know the user’s branding very well, identify the needs and motives of the business and design in response. As much interface as interactions with the user.

UI, a beautiful user interface

In this case we focus on the design of apps but from the perspective of the mobile device; be it a tablet, mobile, wearable etc. We focus on what happens inside of the screen, where the can access and not.

Although this is often related to graphic design it doesn’t always have to be a synonym. What is understood by UI is the text, the content, the design consistency and other sources.

IxD or Interactive design

This is the part that we have not spoken about yet, but it is still very important. In IxD UX and UI converge. Interactive design consists of defining the operating interface that we design. The interactive flow and the responses. We define for example, if we include a single touch, a double click or a slide to access a screen. To conclude, we have to apply what we have discovered about the experience of the user and adjust it through the interface design.

About the Author

Rowena Soons, Business Manager at Yeeply, web & app development platform. She coordinates business development potential in the UK market and partnerships with digital marketing agencies, brands and start ups.