Mobile Application Design: Secret Ingredient to Success
Out of roughly 1,5 mln apps available on either Google Play or AppStore, an average smartphone user keeps 23 on his device. That means, chances for that awesome new app idea of yours to mimic the success of Instagram or World of Tanks hit the low of 0,0015%. Eager to beat this depressing maths? Start with design.
With new rules of digital game emerging, design is simply too important to ignore. An impeccable design for a mobile app not only influences customers’ behavior, but also impacts their perception, which, in turn, helps you get higher positions in stores’ featured lists. So, you are now ready to embark on an important mission of finding a perfect designer. Stay on the right track with these simple guidelines.
1. Do Your Homework
There is one fundamental question you should ask: what kind of designer do I look for? A community of professionals calling themselves this name is truly diverse. There are user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) experts, graphic and motion specialists, product designers. The boundaries between the knowledge base and functions they perform can be blurry at times.
A good way to not get lost in terminology is to sit and break down a particular role you have into specific skills you are looking for. It will then be easier to describe them in a job listing and evaluate during an interview.
List out every single point your company lacks to build an example of a great mobile app design. Here are some clues to what skills you might need and questions they help answer:
- Research: What do my customers want? Do they understand how to use and navigate what I offer? If you need ‘the big picture’, understand what sort of experience users are looking for, and define a vision for you future product, you are in search of a UX specialist.
- UI development: How should my product be laid out to provide the experience my customers are looking for? UI specialist is the one who develops tactics based on the strategy set by his UX counterpart.
- Interaction: What should happen to the interface after a user touches it? An interaction/motion professional decides how a menu should slide in or which transition effects to use. He provides visual clues about how to use the product.
- Product: What exactly do I want to build? What features shall I include or omit? A product designer is the most general specialist involved in the creation of the look and feel.
- Visual (Graphic) part: What feelings should we convey? Visual gurus sweat over small details that others overlook and provide beauty in every pixel.
After you prioritize skills according to the product you’re building, it is easier to see which of those you already have covered by your in-house team and which you lack. You might discover you are looking for some really specific skills to fill the gap, or you actually only have an idea and need a whole dedicated team to implement it.
With the list narrowed-down to several crucial points, you now know what type of designer you need to hire.
2. Go get ‘em
There are a number of online spots where you can look for qualified mobile app designers:
- Behance. Behance is one of the best-known portfolio website with an active job board. As soon as a designer applies for your job posting, you can access their portfolio immediately. So you can make a decision quickly and effectively.
- Dribble. Dribble is a site for creative professionals to show their portfolio, promote their skills and to find inspiration for a new app design. Users share screenshots of their completed projects. If posting a job, you can filter search by skills, location, availability and other criteria.
- AIGA. American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) is one of the largest and oldest professional membership creative organizations. Browse through their portfolio gallery for mobile app design best practices, or use the job board to find and hire a good specialist.
- Guru. Guru is yet another site for freelance creative, technical, or business professionals. You can compare statistics such as salaries and repeat business. It is easy to manage a project with tasks and milestones, and to communicate with a freelancer through the website.
- Scoutzie. A quality mobile-focused resource.
Look through portfolios before short-listing 3 to 5 candidates. Then interview them and see if they match the skills you’ve outlined before. Discuss the specific outputs you need, milestones and deadlines.
3. Think success.
Most executives fall into the same pitfall of looking for a universal all-round educated multi functional guy. It might seem a good strategy to save some money on design of a mobile app, especially if you are a startup, but will eventually cost you the ultimate price - success.
For example, combining the roles of UX/UI specialist means taking focus away from the two most significant areas, putting the overall experience the users have at risk. If you only can afford hiring one specialist, let it be a UX expert first. Why? Simply because, if no one wants what you’re going to build, you’ve failed before you even begun. A UX designer is the one who validates, through user testing and field research, whether or not the idea is even worth building.
Finally, remember that design is one stage of mobile app development. When your design stage is completed, make sure your mobile app designer works as closely as possible with the developer to ensure the guidelines are followed properly, and give the necessary assets to the developer. After all, these efforts are made towards one single goal - to come up with a successful product for your clients to enjoy and appreciate.
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