Week 3: App Design Process

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


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


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.