Recently we sat down with one of our design gurus who kindly agreed to shed some light on what it takes to create mobile application UI/UX design that delights users.
What is the first thing to do when starting to work on a new design?
The first step is business analysis. Usually, I start by collecting information about the customer to learn as much as I can about them and the possible features of the upcoming product or service. As a rule of thumb, customers provide documentation about it, but if not, I turn to my own library of images and solutions that I have hand-picked over the years in the industry.
They help to create first drafts and display projects’ frames. But frankly speaking, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in UI/UX design for mobile application and there is no unified technology for making universal designs that would suit all projects.
So, how do you choose one specific UI/UX design to work on?
A lot of things depend on customers. Sometimes, they do not have a clear vision. In this case, I take initiative and suggest designs by creating “dry” wireframes for approval because the design may get rejected or changed. So, there is no point in creating detailed visualizations as they take a lot of time. We discuss available options.
Sometimes customers come with their design ideas ready. They can be adamant about what they want to see in the application. And, sometimes customers want to see detailed screenshots of the final product before agreeing on a design. In any case, before starting to work on a design, the key is to make sure that we are on the same page.
After you and the customer have agreed on a design, what would be the first thing you draw?
That would be a wireframe of the first screen. Usually, the main screen. There I can set up a general design concept that sets up the rhythm for the whole future application. It also makes sense to start there because even if I have the vision of navigation I am not the one who finalizes it. Thus, I cannot make other screens first.
But a single monochrome scheme of only one screen is not enough to create a positive impression on a client who expects to see more material. So after the main screen, I compile presentations that include several wireframes.
How do these presentations work?
Presentation is a highly-effective business tool. And I need to explain why the chosen design will work. Presentations help me not only to display designs but also to comment on different elements of it. In this way, I can clarify why I have chosen specifically these elements. I can link designed screens and wireframes using, for example, MarvelApp. I am able to deliver realistic mockups for better visualization. Whenever possible I try to add animation through After Effects.
After the presentation clients give their feedback. It is quite usual that about 20% of the design will be changed. These changes help me realize clients’ expectations better and adjust the process.
Then I can start working on other screens because I already know the limitations and the development vector. I draw them in accordance with their predefined priority order.
Does it take long to fully complete the design?
If it is a small application, it may take 3-4 days before showing screens to the client. If the application is extensive, then I divide the design into so-called entities, small groups. The delivery time varies according to the size of an entity.
Sounds like it is a well-polished process. Have you ever had any roadblocks in it?
Sure. Sometimes customers insist on their preferred solutions. But from my experience, I know that the proposed design may bear risks. In such a case, I have to communicate these possible pitfalls to clients. I have to highlight both disadvantages and advantages and make sure that the client is open to discussing alternatives.