Did you know the average person spends five hours per day on his or her mobile device?
This is exactly why the world needs creative, technical people like you to create the next big app. Of course, the potential payday certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
Designing an app is a great way to show off your technical skills while making life easier for thousands of people. But it isn’t always the easiest job in the world.
If you’re going to release an app, make sure you know what you’re doing. Here’s a quick guide to help you run through the ins-and-outs of designing an app and what to remember.
1. Keep It Simple
This might sound strange, but not every app needs to be an earth-shattering, revolutionary release. Sometimes, people just want something simple to fulfill a need.
When was the last time you looked at your alarm app and thought, “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this!”?
Odds are, you haven’t. But that shouldn’t discourage you when designing an app. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean bad. It just means that it’s usable, elegant, and manageable.
If this is your first time designing an app, don’t worry about setting the world on fire. That part will come with time if you follow the rest of our rules.
What you should concern yourself with is providing a great experience. Even if that means a little bit of text and some CSS, a simple design is better than nothing.
2. Plan Everything
We can’t stress this enough: app design is an extremely intricate process that requires tons of smaller details. And these details, if forgotten, can result is a buggy, horrible release.
It can be tempting to start coding, but you’ll likely see more success if you plan your app out beforehand. That means having more than a general idea, for that matter.
We suggest using wireframing tools like you would for a website. Outline every element of your site, including design and buttons, and how they’re connected.
The more outlined your app is, the easier the rest of the design process will be for your team.
3. Free Or Paid? The Age-Old Question
One of the first aspects of your app you’ll need to consider is how to release it. Should it be a paid app or a free app?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. Ultimately it depends on what you’re trying to do with the app.
If it’s a game or productivity app, free may be the way to go. But if it’s a service or something more premium, don’t be afraid to charge a dollar or two.
If you simply can’t decide, consider the freemium route, which has a track record of success.
Most mobile games use this technique as a way to get players in the door before they commit to a purchase.
4. Designing An App Requires Balance
Designing an app is a bit like plate spinning or juggling. There’s so much to balance on both the technical and creative sides.
Even if you’re not a particularly creative person, app creation requires a fair bit of creativity, not just technical knowledge.
Get creative, and most of all, have fun. Yes, the data and coding are important. But so is enjoying the process.
5. Flashy Doesn’t Always Mean Quality
Let’s say you download an app you saw in the app store. You click the icon and a beautiful splash screen pops up. Suddenly, music starts playing as the app takes you to the menu.
You begin to click on one of the buttons when you notice that the app is unresponsive. After a few seconds of freezing, the app is back, but pressing a button still doesn’t do anything. Finally, the app crashes and you’re out 15 minutes of your day.
How could such a gorgeous app turn into such a dud? Because the developers focused on aesthetics over usability. As the saying goes, not all that glitters is gold. Don’t get so wrapped up in making the app look nice that its usability suffers.
6. Stand Out
If you’ve ever aimlessly browsed through an app store, you know that it can feel like an endless ocean. Worse, so many of the apps seem like ugly, useless clones of other more popular apps.
This tactic is, unfortunately, quite common. Users feel that if they can jump on the bandwagon, they’ll get tons of clicks and generate revenue.
But none of those clones have any lasting power. They’re all just carbon copies of something better. Make your app stand out. It’s better to be unique, especially in a field with nearly five billion apps.
7. Plan To Update Your App
Even if you’ve spent weeks squashing bugs, there’s no guarantee that a user won’t find a problem with your app.
You’ll need to make sure you have a plan for updates. Consider how frequently you’ll update the app, how many team members are needed for maintenance, and how users can report bugs.
8. Be Realistic
Designing an app takes time, there’s no doubt about that. But if you’re a rookie designer, it’s too easy to get caught up in the excitement and make promises that you can’t keep.
If your app is going to take six months to create, but you told the public it’d be out in four, you’re going to see a lot of backlashes when month four comes and goes.
It’s better to overestimate how long a project will take rather than underestimate it.
9. Test Your App Before Release
Never underestimate the power of a second set of eyes. Or a third. Or a hundred.
Always test your app before its initial release. You’ve spent so long with your app that you may not have a realistic opinion of it. Testing apps is a great way to find out what parts of your app need improvement.
10. Don’t Forget To Market Your App
With release day fast approaching, you’re likely in celebration mode. But don’t become so relaxed that you forget to tell the public that the app is out.
Make sure to get the word out so people know that your app is finally ready for download. It can be on social media, your website, a bulletin board, wherever you think is appropriate.
Generate some buzz and make sure people are reviewing your app. Shout it from the rooftops, you finally finished designing an app!
Let Us Help
Designing an app is hard work, as you can see. That’s why we’ve created Designsrock! We want to bring you the best advice and most helpful resources.
Whether you’re looking for apps or web development, we can help. Get in touch today to learn more or let us know if you have any questions.