Western App Re-design

On the left is the current Western App’s menu on the right is my re-design

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Week 3: App Design Process

Article: What Everyone Should Know About The Process of Building an App

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/11/what-everyone-should-know-about-the-process-behind-app-design/

Both app designers and developers have been through a lot of trends while the look, functionality and the tools to develop apps have changed. The process in which we develop and design an app has stayed the same.

The design process in broad strokes

Idea

  • Everything starts with an idea
  • Ideas should be able to change
  • You should allow your idea to grow so it can become the best version of itself that it can be.
  • Make sense to talk about a circular process within this phase.

 

The idea process

 

Questions you must ask

  • Is this idea financially viable?
  • Is this idea technically feasible?
  • Is someone already doing it?
  • Could this be made simpler/differently?

Once you feel satisfied with your idea it’s about time you put things into writing.

Spec

  • Specification or a Spec is the piece of paper that declares what your app does and how it is accomplished.
  • You must always do a spec
  • It’s surprising how much an idea can be refined, change and developed.
  • List both functional and non-functional requirements.
  • Explain what your app is, and not how it needs to be done.

Wire Frame

  • Wireframes, can be either part of the spec or built from the spec.
  • Draw on your experience of the platform conventions, knowledge of controls and interface paradigms.
  • Wireframes are then brought into a tool to be digitised, shared and revised.
  • Wireframes will be your first deliberate design made in a project.

Link to a helpful wire framing tool

Prototype

  • The ultimate goal of a prototype is to create a bare-bones version of the app so you can test your hypotheses and get early feedback.
  • Some designers tools such as InVision or Marvel  to create mockups. These allow you to convert wireframes into interactive apps.
  • While others use native prototype writing in swift.
  • How you choose to prototype depends on many different factors.
  • A bad experience with a prototype might cause you to uncover issues with your wireframes, your spec, or even the very core of your idea.

Visual Design

  • Visual design deals with the appearance of the app.
  • It is not just making things look nice, but also making sure that there’s a consistent and identifiable visual language throughout.
  • Visual design is not just a coat of paint applied to make things look pretty.
  • Visual design should create a coherent and consistent experience, tell an engaging story, and differentiate your product from others.
  • Supper overall ethos of your idea, goals from the previous stages you underwent.
  • The Visual design shouldn’t end when you hand it off to the developer. It should be continued and constantly evolving process.

Development

  • In an perfect world, the developer should have worked alongside the designer throughout the design process.
  • There is a desire to separate development from design. The best products are usually built by teams made of multiple professionals from various disciplines who have a mutual understand of each other.
  • Development should not be devoid of design presence and design should not be without development know how.

Iterate

  • You’re never actually done designing
  • While the tools, as well as the products, have changed a lot over the past few years the underlying process of making apps remains largely the same.
  1. Get the idea
  2. Write it down
  3. Build a prototype
  4. Enter into the dance between design and development until something comes out of it.
  • App design is more alike composing a symphony, each profession being a separate instrument.

I feel like this article is good for people looking into the process of designing an app the reasoning behind each step. as an up and coming designer, I think we should try can help people understand that design is about the continual process, not just making things look nice. This article helped me better understand the design process behind the development of an app. I also found it helpful in my own process of developing my app.

User scenario

User Scenario

Joey:

Joey has been going to the gym the past few weeks because he wants to get fit. However, when he goes he never has a set plan of what he’s going to do when he gets there. He really wants to create his own routine so that he can get in and out instead of walking about and hopping on whichever machine that he feels like going on at the time.

Joey looks for some apps that might help him with this problem and he finds “Workout” he installs the app on his phone to try it out. He presses create own workout. The app suggests machines to help him in create his workout routine. He selects treadmill 10 mins and rower 5 mins and as a warmup. After his adds different weight machines and sets the amount of reps and rest period for each as well as the weight limit. After doing this the app shows the estimated amount of time that this workout will take 1 hour.

He goes the gym and does the routine following with what’s displayed on the app. He presses done after completing each (exercise?). when’s he’s finished Joey decides that he enjoyed this routine and decides to keep it for next time.

Week 2: App Design Process – Prototyping

Designing apps requires a deep knowledge of devices. As new devices such as smart watches come out, it is important to be aware of changes in the industry, and the potential to make new apps with those devices.

In order for an app designer to adapt, they must consider the following:

Change the way you work

‘Lean UX cycles’ or prioritising mobile devices by designing the phone version before the pc. Most app designers will start without a computer and instead will start with paper and a pen. Mobile first is also a buzzword in the industry as starting with a smaller screen is always more effective when adapting to larger screens.

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 12.12.06 pm

 

Understand development

Success of an app depends on both the designer and developer. They must work in parallel, they must both be conscious of the complexity of the design as well as the implementation. Learn to use development tools to build screens that can be transferred quickly and faithfully while communicating the design intent.

Use a variety of operating systems

You need to have access to android, ios, windows Phone and you need to be used to using them. Getting to know each device you can help you see interaction patterns, which are established solutions to problems of design. These are different on each system for example the location of the tab bar.

Prototype everything

Prototypes help you work out an apps usability. This must include more than just a flat still design and instead it must have images, transitions and gestures.

Prototypes help us work out an apps usability this must always be more than just a static design and must include images, transitions and gestures. For example the pop prototype took enables you to take pictures of paper designs and build interactive designs in minutes.

links to some helpful prototyping tools:

Proto io Prototyping tool

Pop prototyping tool

What you see is not always what you get

Apps must be tested on a mobile devices rather than a pc.

Apps are never finished

As app designers we need to abandon this concept of designing something that is finished. An app is never finished as it is a digital product which changes over time the same as websites and phones.

The core ideas of this post is that designing apps requires a new way of thinking and let’s leave web design for computer screens.

This post should give you an overview of the different ways of thinking app designers must have. I myself find it hard to have the thought process that nothing is ever finished. Because I aim to complete things not continually focus on one design.

Unpacking an App exercise: 1

Western

Information Architecture:

What is included in the app?

List of tools/modules in order

Screens:

IMG_3558IMG_3559

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First page:

  • Maps
  • Directory
  • Events
  • Emergency
  • vUWS
  • MyIT
  • Students
  • Central
  • Shuttle
  • Library
  • Help
  • Services

Second page:

  • Wellbeing
  • Careers
  • Gradlife
  • Videos
  • News
  • Residences
  • Books
  • Social
  • Food
  • Summer
  • Clubs
  • Sports

How do you think they are clustered/ organized?

events, emergency and other important links are placed on the first page, as they are probably used the most. Other than that it isn’t really that organized at all. Some possible categories getting around campus, help, study and social.

Site flow:

Site Flow

User experience (UX) flow:

User flow

User Interface (UI):

How do you describe the visual Design?

The visual design of the Western app is very simple and to the point. It offers everything in 2 clustered pages and nothing is really categorized.

Does it match the university’s brand image?

Yes it matches the university’s brand image.

What improvements could be made?

The 2 pages could quite possibly be cleaned up and categorised to fit 1 single page Other than doing something like that I can’t really see any other room for improvement. It does what it sets out to do, provide students with information which they might need.

Week 1: Introduction to App Design

What is an app?

App is and abbreviated form of the word application. An application is a software program designed to perform a specific function for the user or for another application program.

There are three types of apps

  • Web Apps – Stored on a remote server and is delivered over the internet through a browser interface.
  • Hybrid Apps – Combines elements of both native and web apps. Often mentioned in the context of mobile computing.
  • Native Apps – Developed for use on a specific platform or device.  Doesn’t need a web browser to run and potentially it doesn’t need an internet connection. It’s single platform, so for example either ios or android.

Web Apps, Hybrid and Native

Web Apps

Pros

  • Quick option for making existing content available on mobile.
  • Only needs to be built once and can would be useable for every device.

Cons

  • User experience inferior
  • Performance inferior
  • Its an app world – a mobile website would limit the users ability to deeply engage with a brand. Because people spend most of their time in apps while on their phone instead of browsing.

Hybrid

Pros

  • Gives space on a users phone to bridge gaps between native apps and a mobile website.
  • Useful for internal teams that have web skills

Cons

  • Low/no bandwidth an issue – people can’t use the app without a good internet connection.
  • No unique mobile functions

Native

Pros

  • UI and UX smooth and engaging
  • Device capabilities optimised
  • Faster load times compared to web apps
  • Robust performance in online and offline mode
  • Better discoverability
  • Superior security compared to HTML5

Cons

  • Required development for each mobile platform.
  • It’s expensive!

What sort of apps are there?

  • Games
  • Business
  • Education
  • Lifestyle
  • Entertainment
  • Utilities
  • Travel
  • Books
  • Health & Fitness
  • Music
  • Productivity
  • Food & Drink
  • Sports
  • Photos & Video
  • Finance
  • News
  • Reference
  • Social Media
  • Medical
  • Navigation

What do web designers need to know?

  1. Users expect familiar user interface (UI) controls
  2. Touch input – Gestures change everything\
  3. Resolution (High res is taking over)
  4. Time (users want information as quickly as possible)
  5. Real estate is tiny (functionality)
  6. Context is everything
  7. Wire framing is essential

This should give you an overview of what an app is, what types of apps there are, different categorises of apps and simple rules to keep in mind when designing an app. This lecture pod has given me some small ideas on how to go about designing my own app.