Yes, Your Mobile App Needs UX Design
While working on a Minimum Viable Product or a Proof of Concept it’s tempting to cut the costs of product development on user interface design and user experience design. One reason for that is an assumption that before putting an MVP on the market and testing how it works, it’s not worth it to invest too much in its creation. Another reason might be that testing a specific technology is more important than the UX design of the mobile app. But how do you know if anyone is interested in using this technology? Do you know why people are using or not using your MVP? Design can help you achieve your business goals, build the right products and understand how people perceive them. Let me show you how!
What you’ll learn from this article:
- The process of UX design and the role of designers
- Why you need prototypes
- The benefits of thorough user research
- The importance of cooperation between designers and engineers
At the early stages of product development, you have to define what problem your product is solving. To make sure there’s space for it on the market and that people would be interested in using it, you should identify this group of people and what kind of product do they need. That’s a part of the design process already!
We start every project with design workshops during which we get to know your idea and together we shape the scope of your mobile app, the customer journey map, and basic user flow. We base that on competitors analysis and target group description. To define the target group we use either the knowledge you already have or we can conduct user research to talk to people that might be interested in using your mobile app.
After the design workshop, both us and our client have a clear understanding of the expectations and a clear vision of the product.
UX Designers walk you through the process of prioritization and cutting the scope. We make decisions together keeping our target users and the business context in mind. A long list of features to implement might be a constraint to start the development—first because of the price but also because of a long decision-making process. When the purpose and vision of an app are clear it’s easier to say “Okay, this is a must-have but those are just nice-to-haves for our users”.
During the user experience design process, at the early stage, we deliver an interactive prototype. A prototype is a representation of a product. It’s the most efficient way to experience design before a product is built. And it’s done by designers!
We usually build prototypes based on wireframes—that way we don’t spend too much time on it before gathering feedback. Having it in your hand, you can go through the main screens of your app and see if it matches your expectations. What’s even better—you can show it to the stakeholders or even future users and see how they react to it. It’s the best tool for communicating concepts, generating ideas and user testing before building the actual working mobile app.
UX research is a process of learning about people who are the intended users of your mobile app. It can and should be conducted at every stage of the mobile app design process and after the release. UX research is based on observing and talking to people who will test your app. They are in your target group, meaning they’re your future customers. It allows us to minimize the risk of building something those people don’t need or are not willing to pay for.
To conduct usability tests at the early stage of the process we can use the prototype described above. By defining user scenarios for testing we ask people to go through the application with a described intention. We document their insights and observe usability issues. That way even before proceeding to UI Design (and development) we can make sure that—considering interactions and features—we designed a usable application.
UX and UI Design are connected—one influences the other, and for a successful mobile app, you need both. We design mobile apps in Sketch which allows us to create a design system and easily hand it over to the developers. That way our collaboration is more effective—we have the same names for UI components and defined styles that make the mobile app UI consistent. Moreover, when we need to implement a rebranding (changing fonts, colors, buttons styles, icons) it takes incomparably less time because both us and the developers change the design system and apply it to the whole app, not modify it screen by screen.
In every project, we provide our development team with the mobile app structure. It speeds up our collaboration and makes the interactions clear for the whole team. We update the app structure on every stage of the project, also with final screens after UI Design. Later on, after the project is launched, this tool serves customer care team or product owners to get the big picture and understand the user flow. Designed information architecture makes it easier for developers to understand how the app should work—they simply don’t need to design it themselves.
We are a design & development studio with 10 years of experience in the tech industry. We work together with our clients, in interdisciplinary teams to boost efficiency and build successful products. The value of good design in digital products in undeniable and our team at Polidea can provide you with the holistic product development process—from design to development. Get in touch and let’s talk about your project!