Designing an App: What’s Involved?

There are a wealth of reasons why businesses nowadays are increasingly looking toward dedicated apps to achieve growth, improve profits, and establish a brand identity. When you look at how companies like Amazon have grown from humble beginnings, it’s easy to understand why! However, this doesn’t mean that just anybody can make the perfect app; you’ll need to work with the best developer for your company, and learning a little about the process behind making an app certainly doesn’t hurt.

If you’re new to the world of app development, you might assume that all it involves is a few mood boards that lead up to making flashy animations and sleek graphics. In reality, there’s much more that goes into making an app – which is why we’re here to help break down this important process, and make sure that you come away with the right business app for your company.

Designing an App- What's Involved

The Initial Discussions and Workshops

Once you’ve found an appropriate developer, you’ll want to start by having plenty of detailed talks that nail down the concept of your app. The developers will most likely be able to give you some valuable insight here – after all, they spend all day making apps, and have a solid understanding of what people tend to value in them.

These talks will also involve discussions around target audiences and what you want your app to be able to do for consumers – this will shape pretty much every design decision you and the developer make together.

Breaking Down Your Ideas

Once the big concepts have been laid out, the team will want to break it down into manageable chunks so that they can start delegating work and planning their next move. This is also where you can get an idea of the scale of your app, and scale up or down depending on your requirements.

The Wireframing Stage

‘Wireframing’ is a technical term that refers to a designer mocking up a basic design for what the app will look like, with each screen of the app being presented as a ‘wireframe’. You won’t see any fancy graphics here – this exists to establish a basic idea of the structure and user interface (or UI) of the application, and make the most essential elements of the app crystal clear, without the distraction of other design decisions. Think of it as the skeleton of your app: the bones upon which all of the other important features can rest.

Reviewing Your Progress

Once you’ve had a thorough look through all of the wireframes, you’ll have the opportunity to feed back to the development team and let them know any thoughts or changes you want to make. This is part of the reason why the wireframe images are so basic – it’s much more cost effective to make big structural changes before other design details have been nailed down and other work has to be thrown out entirely.

You might end up going back and forth between this step and wireframing until you have the perfect design – at this stage, you need to make sure that you’re completely happy with every important decision that has been made about your app, or you’ll be massively inflating the price tag down the line.

Adding Visual Flare

Finally, we get to the colourful part of app design! Now, developers can use the final wireframes as the basis of the user interface design features, including colours, fonts, shapes and styles that all fit your desired look and feel. Feel free to experiment with ideas at this stage – after all, you never know if you might find the next aesthetic trend for apps! However, it’s important to listen to the UI designers at this stage too; they know how to make an app look appealing, and likely have some tricks up their sleeves you may not have thought of. 

This stage will be more straightforward if you’re an established business with a fixed brand identity, in which case you can just carry over the same design elements; if not, then you can work with the designers on the perfect look for your app, taking other elements of your business plan into consideration.

The Testing Stage

This is maybe the most exciting part of the process, as well as arguably the most important: the testing stage of app development where you can finally see something resembling a finished product! When the design features are completed and the UI has been finished, a designer will create a high fidelity simulation of your app, letting you test it out and give feedback. You’ll want to make sure you gather as much feedback as you can from a range of people at this stage – there’s still time to make some alterations, and you don’t want to miss any potential bugs or mistakes!

When you’ve settled on the design, you’ll even be able to keep the simulation to use as a demonstration for any investors or stakeholders interested in your app – perfect for pitches and presentations.

Your Perfect Business App

At this late stage of app development, there isn’t much to do except to get your app out into the world and wait for the customers to come rolling in! You may want to synergise with a marketing campaign here if you’re an established business – the app store is a vast wilderness, and you want to make sure that yours stands out amongst the crowd, and that your loyal customers don’t have any issues with finding it. App store optimisation is an art unto itself – and it’s potentially something that you’ll want to track down a dedicated agency to help you with.

As a final comment, here’s another piece of advice for the whole process: make sure to get feedback from a variety of people throughout, not just at the testing stage – while lots of little fixes can be made, noticing a significant structural problem at this point can be a big time and money waster!

Sanjit Dhabekar

Sanjit Dhabekar is a passionate Digital Marketer and Blogger. He loves to explore new opportunities to rank websites and earn money online.

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