My process for creating mobile apps
This systematic approach is something that we have successfully been using on all of our projects, large and small. It helps guide us down the right path and it's a way to ensure everyone is on the same page. I want to make sure that you not only love my work but also love working with me.
Believe it or not, this starts the moment we meet. You would be very surprised what you can learn by having some casual conversation with potential clients. The main goal is to learn about your business objectives. Why are you building this? What are the goals? What would be the one thing that would make this project successful? While you ponder those questions we will be looking into past statistics and performing basic user research. Together we will also come up with user stories and personas. All of this will help us better prioritize the features you have requested.
Now that we have the why and who out of the way, we can start to focus on the what, where, and how. We start this step by laying the information architecture. This will act as a guide throughout the entire project. With this in hand we can start the discussion of the navigation and build out a site-map. If we have this down, we will start planning the project milestones. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and we can start to head down the path to a successful relationship and project. At this point we will start to map out a launch plan.
These will be the broad strokes. The goal here is to build a solid foundation based off either the HIG or Material Design. By using guidelines we don’t have to worry about custom views and the possibility of creating something that will confuse the people that will end up using your app. We also don't want color, typography, textures, and other high-level details to distract us from what's important at this stage. We need to focus on UX and flow. Once we have these rough sketches and base wireframes complete, we will review with everyone, including other designers, developers, and business people. Before we move on, the UX must be confirmed. This is imperative to ensure that we don’t waste time and money down the road revisiting this step. After we are on the same page with the UX we can build flows based off user stories. All of this will give us the ability to develop screens for the next step.
Now that we have the base foundation built, we can start the process of making it custom and unique. This is the part where we get a sense of the product becoming real. We are now focused on the details and will integrate the colors, typography, images, and copy in the different views. Please remember, at this point, we are designing these screens based off everything we have discussed and from our years of professional experience. This stage is crucial to have the entire team on the same page. We will review with everyone, including other designers, developers, and business people. Before we move on, the UI needs to be confirmed. Once this happens we will update the existing flows with the latest UI. Something to keep in mind is the question we asked at the very beginning. "What would be the one thing that would make this project successful?” Our goal is to get you what we promised, whatever that original goal was. That will always come first, but don’t worry everything else will soon have it’s time to shine.
Build & Test
This is where the project starts to feel alive. Now that we have a solid foundation that looks and feels like your product it’s time to start building it and testing it out. The developers can start coding the app. Something important to note is that the developers should be involved from the very beginning. The reason we wait to start coding at this point is we don’t want to waste time and money. Building apps is not always a straight path, things change. We hate when developers have to delete code they spent so much time on. It’s better to have them start off on the right path. During this time we will also be building out basic prototypes to get a better feel for the app. This is to catch anything we might have missed. Once the code is in a good spot to test we can start alpha testing the app to better prepare to beta test it.
It’s time to release it into the wild and set it free. We have all worked very hard on this project and we should all be proud of this moment. By now we have planned out how we are going to launch it. We will execute that plan which may include advertisements, social media, and press. For the parts that we don’t normally deal with, we have trusted partners that can assist you where needed. During this time we will be on the sidelines overlooking how the app is doing.
And you thought this project was over. Now that the app has been used for a while we can look at all the data. This is where we believe the app will start to really take shape and grow into something wonderful. We will have a better understanding of what people want, what feature they use the most, and what items they don’t care about. We are not a fan of subjective design, meaning that everyone has different tastes and we may not agree on everything. We love data driven design. Why argue over the little details when you can just have the people tell you what they want or don’t want. From here we can also start to experiment with the design by using methods such as A/B testing. The last part is after we gained all of the knowledge we need to establish a roadmap for improvements.
We want to ensure that your app is the most successful that it can be. Creating an app is not just a thing you can build and leave alone. It’s a living thing that needs to be constantly looked after. It needs love and care. As time goes on we will learn a lot about what we created together. Because we put our heart into everything we do, we want to make sure that it continues to grow and be successful for you. We can help fine tune it to maximize everything as we execute on these improvements.