Designing a mobile app brings many benefits, and it can be a daunting challenge for new designers.
With over 1 billion smartphones worldwide, an estimated 179 billion mobile apps are downloaded annually. Mobile app development is one of the growing sectors. Mobile app technology is one of the fastest-growing areas in the industry today.
Many business giants use a mobile app for branding purposes, while others use it to increase revenues, improve customer engagement, and strengthen brand awareness. Google apps, social media apps, and gaming apps dominate the mobile app market.
A mobile app would enhance your SEO strategies and create product and brand loyalty. Mobile apps usage will keep increasing this year, according to Cisco. Cisco reported on the increasing number of internet users and mobile device users and predicts that in the mobile revolution trend, the majority of users will own more than one mobile device in 2020.
Source: Cisco Annual Internet Report, 2018-2023
Mobile search is redefining mobile apps, along with SEO and mobile trends. Mobile app developers need to look into mobile searches to know what is trending, so they can create apps that people need or will add value to their lives.
Now is the best time for your website or product to have an app. Here are nine steps that could help you design your app like a pro.
1. Get your idea on paper.
Your mobile app design starts as an idea. Document your ideas clearly so the rest of the team can run with it. What do you need to get on paper? Here are some examples:
- What is the problem you are trying to solve with your app?
- How will your app solve that problem?
- Who are your intended users?
- Why will users choose your app over the apps in the same niche?
- Where do you want to make the app available?
- Is the app going to be free, freemium, or paid?
Write the app’s basic concept so your app designer will not have to guess what you want. Good planning leads to good execution of the vision. It helps your designers and developers design the wireframe and functionalities of the app. If the app concept is clear to the developers, it will show on the app’s interface and setup.
In this stage, also determine if your mobile app is free, freemium, or paid. If it is free, determine how you will be earning revenues or at least gain leads from the app. You can have in-app purchases, for instance, as a way of earning from the app.
Setting clear goals for any project is vital because good plans lay down tracks that the team can follow as one. It keeps the team in check, at the same pace, and you also have something to refer to if there are any questions or issues to troubleshoot along the way.
2. Market research is a prerequisite for mobile app design.
As with any product a company or business is producing, it should answer a need or solve a problem its target market is experiencing. It is crucial because nobody will support your app if they cannot relate to it, or it is not in line with the pulse of that target market.
It is in the details that you determine if your app will be a success or not. Where do you get these details? You get them from excellent market research.
In this stage, you can determine how many competitors you have, what is working for your competitors, and what is not. Leverage on the information, not so you can be a copycat, but so you can avoid the pitfalls and learn from the strategies and trends that are working. Go the extra mile and do better, since you have more data starting from where you are than your competition.
You must be able to add value to your targeted consumers, and so market research is crucial, so you get clear insights on what they need and how to respond.
3. Determine the design of your app.
Get professional designers and developers to help you complete this step. Yes, DIY is trending, but not with app design, please. You need to be able to produce the best possible product with fewer to no issues as possible.
Although having issues on an app is normal, a poorly-designed app will crash the moment it is launched. Get experts who can do the job well, and include them from the get-go, that means, from the planning process.
Make sure that the people you also hire for the design of the app will be there even for revisions, issue fixes, and other post-launch work that may be needed. Ensure that it is included in your contract with them. Also, see to it that they surrender all elements of the build, all passwords, and the like.
I remember I had a client before who could not get hold of the developer of his website, ergo, he could not even get his domain name and had to make a brand new website. Do not be that guy. Make sure you have proprietary ownership of the app and all elements about that app. Have that clear on contracts, permits, and the like.
Also, be careful you are observing copyright laws as you build your design. You would not want a hefty lawsuit filed against you just because you get accused of copyright infringement.
4. Create your app’s storyboards or wireframes.
Mobile app’s wireframes are the basic pages that will be seen as accessed by users. You need to map out how users will navigate through your mobile app. Navigability is one of the most critical factors in app design, along with load speed. It is the foundation for the different stages of the app build until you get to the final product.
When app navigation is confusing, users will not have second thoughts in uninstalling your app. It is a significant turn off for them.
Create a visual guide on how each wireframe would look like and function. Even after you’ve developed the app, test it over and over again with the team and a test group to make sure you overcome any bugs or navigation issues.
5. Test mobile app backend.
After creating the wireframes, you need to put functionality upon them. You must establish the servers, APIs, and data diagrams. Different tools are available to help you. You also need to ensure a way to collect data about app usage.
Make sure that whatever you do on any stage of the build, document it, so the entire team is aware. Point out on your wireframes the changes you have made as well, so teammates involved in this phase of the build can follow the changes.
6. Make a well-designed landing page for your mobile app.
Having an app is not enough. It is best to have a website for your app. It establishes consumer trust and increases engagements around your app.
Consumers appreciate it when they can go to a website to learn more about the app, engage with the developers and your app’s community of users. It also gives them the security that they will get customer support when they have issues or queries about your app.
So, you need to make a well-designed landing page for your mobile app. It needs to be appealing, navigable, user-friendly, and engaging. It should contain the information required by your consumers right away, like your company’s contact information.
Also, it provides an easy way they can subscribe to updates or blogs, which is an efficient digital marketing strategy. However, do not get too much information, because people are wary of that now. Just a first name and an email address will initially do, so you can personalize any email you send them. If your landing page cannot generate leads, revise it right away. Also, conduct an A/B testing of your landing page, so you know which version is more successful in generating leads.
7. Test the mobile app version or model.
It is time to critique your model. At this stage, you will need people that will test the model and provide truthful criticisms upon the design of your mobile app. While providing observations and criticisms, keep in mind the needs of the users, and follow that train of thought.
The aim is to ensure that the core functions work before adding other designs. You will be able to test whether the navigation of the app works and how the navigation functions concerning how different people use it. You will also be able to check the needed revisions.
8. Use App Teasers
Optimize website and social media platforms by launching teasers for your mobile app, either through compelling images or through short, memorable videos. Gaming apps use this strategy a lot. These kinds of apps post video teasers on YouTube, IGTV, Facebook ads, Twitter native videos, Tiktok, and the like. The views and engagements these teasers get can improve the success of your app’s launch.
A video advertising preview is one of the most compelling promotional tools before launching your app. It could even rekindle viewership, Including inactive users who once visited your website, or downloaded previous apps you have made, if any. Video is highly effective in communicating your message in less time, but with a more significant impact.
9. Launch your app at reputable mobile app stores.
To launch your mobile app at the AppStore, you will need to register for an Apple Development Account (available for around $99/year), prepare the metadata and app title with App Store Connect, and upload to the AppStore the most recent version of your mobile app by using XCode. You also need to review the App Store review guidelines, prepare for Apple’s review, and publish your mobile app once you get approved.
For Google Apps, you can use the Google App Development Kit for your mobile app or its Android App Pack. It’s quick, and you’ll need to refer to these throughout the entire process. For Google Apps, you can use the Google App Development Kit for your mobile app or its Android App Pack. It’s quick, and you’ll need to refer to these throughout the entire process.
10. Leverage feedback, reviews, and ratings.
A feeling of accomplishment comes when you build something from the ground up, like designing your mobile app. The thrill accelerates when your app starts gaining a global presence and trending in app stores.
But once your mobile app is released and available for download, reviews and feedback are the cues for more hard work ahead.
Be ready to review and revisit the initial goals you have set, to see if you are hitting your brief. Repair issues right away to improve the app and keep it excellently running. Check feedback, reviews, and ratings and put them to good use, whether they are positive or not.
When you see negative comments or complaints, engage with the consumers right away and give your commitment to resolving the issues as much as you can. Get to work and address issues and concerns, and inform users about the changes with each update. It is crucial because users trust peer reviews more than what you would say about your app.
Put feedbacks and reviews where visitors can see them right away. Those good reviews, if they come in loads, can offset a few negative reviews here and there, which no app is immune to. If you handle feedback well, that is a point for credibility and trustworthiness. Good reviews also serve as free ads for your app. It attracts more consumers to download your app.
Conclusion: Designing a Mobile App is a Commitment to Consumers
Listen to your consumers. They are the ones you desire to serve, so do not ignore their feedback at all. Loyal consumers are like free advertising channels and voluntary spokespersons for your brand and your app. They also act as partners because trough their insight, feedback, and comments, you get to know the very nature of your target market and adjust your app as needed. The more you listen to what users have to say, the better the consumer experience you give to people.
Update yourself with top mobile app development trends as well, to stay in the loop as you keep improving as a mobile app designer.