3 things to consider before designing your first app
11th July 2019
There’s not much more to elaborate on the fact that app creation is currently one of the most attractive prospects for business growth. The saturation of apps and devices on the market is the reason it’s such a “die or ride” moment for designers, developers and marketers to jump ship into the User Experience (UX) pool.
Start-ups, agencies and creatives jumping on the app design rocket need to be aware of at least some UX rules from the rulebook before take-off. This is because only well-thought-out rockets (in this case, apps) will get you to the moon. A solid engagement plan, unique propositions and a detailed growth roadmap will get you there. Duct taping your spaceship will not make it airtight!
Cohesion between the User Experience and the User Interface (UX/UI) is about making sure that the user that you’ve designed for is able to achieve what it is they set out to do, effectively and efficiently. As a UX/UI designer, there is a want to create positive experiences and fulfil both the user’s and business’s needs.
For the product owner, this translates into user journeys that offer value and create monetisation models. For the end user, it translates into an app they find, at the very least, useful and at most, delightful, while getting the value that they were promised. This is alternatively known as knowing that the difference between “I like this” and “this works for my users” to create real value. So, to signpost the process I’ve outlined 3 things to consider before designing your app and I hope you find them helpful as you set about bringing your idea to digital life.
1. Define your goals
Consider what you actually want to get out of this venture. Mark yourself against the following goalposts as you conceptualise your project:
The content should be original and fulfil a need.
The product must be easy to use as well as functional.
Image, identity, brand and other design elements are used to evoke emotion and appreciation.
Content needs to be navigable and simple enough to be learned while the user is using it.
The user should be able to return to the product without having to relearn it every time.
Content needs to be accessible to all people, including people with disabilities.
The users should be able to trust and believe what you’re telling them at all times.
2. Address challenges
Designing elinaapp.com unearthed more challenges than we had scope for. This isn’t uncommon for a project. At Aerate, we design for purpose – scaling concepts which address social needs and have synergies across our portfolio. The question is, is how do we define, or single out that unique purpose? Then, on the flip, how do we address multiple purposes well?
Imagine the elina app, designed to provide support for individuals in the tracking and managing of long-term pain in collaboration with a team of doctors, professionals and close friends – their chosen ‘e-team’. The app provides a positive and engaging tracking experience, alleviating the impact for users on their professional and personal lives.
How do we design a positive tracking experience for people that have Arthritis as an application, which is downloaded on a phone which they physically have to use?
It’s OK to ask for support – especially around specialist skills and experiences which you may not have had yourself. Intuition will only strengthen your engagement with the concept, so be curious, stay hungry and ask questions. You don’t find answers hiding behind your desk. Aerate reminds people to be curious, make fewer assumptions and ask the user, target market and customers about their experiences.
3. Listen to users
As a Product Designer, it’s my responsibility to listen to the needs of the target market and apply these insights with creativity to build around the customer. Finding the balance between something that is technically complex with simple, intuitive design can be challenging – but with your customers and your development team close by, you can make that happen. This is what we strive for at Aerate. Start with the user in mind and trust in the creative process.
At Aerate we design for purpose, we won’t waste time building applications and platforms which no one uses. We want users to engage with the elina app regularly, it’s beneficial to the user’s health, but because elina app is also a business and we need to drive growth. This is why we’re building a mobile application and not a responsive website. We want elina in the hands of our users. Actively listening to users feedback helps filter out the needs from the wants, and supports our rationalisation of the UX/UI.
One of the real goals of listening is understanding sticky behaviours which bring your users back day after day, making your app a habit which people can’t put down. Engagement is attractive to investors and knowing that you’re in conversation with your audience will create the fans and friends of your product, who will rally around to support you.
If you define your goals clearly, conduct curious and robust user research to unearth challenges and apply these valuable insights to the functionality of your designs, you will meet the user’s needs – and by doing this you will also meet your business needs.
Aerate is a social enterprise that creates and develops scaleable concepts that connect and support people through online platforms and applications. The Elina App provides support for people in the tracking and management of chronic pain.
The Aerate concepts are managed by Aerators, and a network of experienced and trusted partners. We support collaborations! The team comprises of dedicated and passionate people, with in-depth experience and skills in branding, design, research, user experience and interface, product/project management and infrastructure technology including security. If you’re looking for entry to market or consultation, please be in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org