The Basics of App Design 101

By Donald Kim
20 Dec '16

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In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for mobile app design and development services. This increase can align with the growth of eCommerce amongst businesses and consumers alike. Since information is readily accessible and available with smartphones, tablets, and desktop PC's, more businesses and entrepreneurs are now getting into this mobile app action.


Using the best practices in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design is crucial to user adoption and connection as a result of app usage. The experience your app gives its users will dictate the look, feel, and overall brand messaging. In this article, we detail the basics of what one should consider before embarking on the exciting journey of designing a new app. Please be sure also to read our other related Blog Posts for App Development: "Best Practices in Developing Apps for Large Android Devices" and" Native Apps vs Hybrid vs Web Apps." At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials), we have a dedicated iOS and Android Mobile Development, Team.


1. RESEARCH: At its core, you should design your mobile app to be specific, focused, and unique. Make sure that you get very granular in terms of why you are developing the app. A few questions that you should ask yourself are as following:

  • What are the goals and objectives of the app?
  • Is the app going to be used for branding purposes, or will it provide you with an extra channel for sales revenues?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How will you market and drive awareness about your new app? Social media marketing, landing pages, email campaign marketing?
  • What's your budget and timeline?
  • Do you need it to work on all devices? Will it be a native iOS or Android app, or a web app?


2. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: It's always a good idea to analyze your competition to help develop effective design strategies. Conduct a thorough SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to determine areas where you can differentiate and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It'll also be wise to read forums and threads of past user experiences of some of your competitors, as well as download a few of their apps to get an idea of what you can do differently concerning the design, feature development, and marketing.


3. UX DESIGN PRINCIPLES: After you have determined the vision, objectives, and goals for your app, you may begin the design process. The quality time spent on detailing out all aspects of the app design will result in saved time and money in the future. We recommend using design tools like InVision, an online iterative feedback tool that enables UX/UI designers to create prototypes and mock-ups.

  • Sketch out the designs: Begin from the bottom up, with the user experience of the target persona in mind, and be clear with what you want to offer to your prospective customers.
  • Select the features: When identifying your desired app features, keep the process simple and deliver on the promises of what your app is supposed to do.
  • The Pareto principle: A good rule of thumb to follow is the Pareto principle, where typically 80% of app users will not use more than 20% of its intended features. Ensure that with your design, you focus in on that 20%.
  • Navigation: Navigating through your app should be seamless, and users should be able to find what they are looking for easily, or else they may not get the full enjoyable experience of the app. Having an intuitive navigation design is a must.
  • Typography: Be sure to choose typography that matches your brand, and that it is easy to look at in contrast to the background.
  • Colour Scheme: When it comes to colours, less is more. Choosing the colours of your app design can be a fun task, but be careful, too many colours can be distracting or confusing. Try out a couple of different colour schemes to ensure that they complement your overall design well.


Once your app has been fully designed, developed, and launched into the respective app stores, it's important to get constant user feedback. This way, you will be able to improve the overall user experience iteratively. Be sure to measure your performance against your original plans and key performance indicators, and don't forget to update your app as necessary concerning market demand.


Need a Mobile App? Webilize specializes in iOS, Android, and Web Apps. Email or call us.





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