Mobile app design: development process and design stages

Mobile app design: development process and design stages

According to Statista, there are 3.5 billion mobile users in the world today and there will be nearly 4 billion by 2021. Therefore, a mobile application for e-commerce projects is already more than just a recommendation. How is the design of mobile applications created? What makes a mobile app different from other projects? What are the features and capabilities of the mobile application that should be considered? In this article, we will show the process, results, and real-life examples.

The process of creating a design for mobile applications

There are two main types of work with mobile applications – redesigning an existing application and creating a new application from scratch.

When it comes to redesigning an application, then there is something to start from. There is analytics, user reviews and business feedback. It is possible to connect tools for conducting a usability audit and, based on the data obtained, already optimize the design of a mobile application to increase conversion.

When designing an application from scratch, you need a completely different approach, which consists of several stages.

Collection of information and requirements

Mobile app design starts with collecting information and requirements. In turn, the requirements are divided into 2 types:

1. User requirements – for whom the application is created, what tasks it should solve, what this product is for from the point of view of the target audience (CA), etc.

For example, the Spot Hunter mobile app is aimed at professional photographers and clip makers, helping them find beautiful locations and locations for filming, as well as to make a profit when publishing new locations.

For example, the Spot Hunter mobile app is aimed at professional photographers and clip makers, helping them find beautiful locations and locations for filming, as well as to make a profit when publishing new locations.

2. Business requirements are how the business sees the product, what functions it should perform and how, in its opinion, users should perceive the application. If this is a startup, then additional information is required, from which the mobile application will be built:

  • What niche will the application occupy?
  • What tasks should the product solve?
  • How will the mobile app be monetized?
  • How will the application position itself in the market? What is its Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
  • Who are the main competitors?
  • What are the best practice examples on the market?

NFM is an application for users who work with agricultural equipment. The application allows you to familiarize yourself with new equipment at any time, sign up for training, get service support, order supplies, find instructions for operating the equipment, and more.

At this stage, the main goal of the team is to define the task facing the product and the user, to determine the list of scenarios for using the application and, based on the scenarios, create the architecture and navigation of the application.

Creation of architecture and navigation

At this stage of creating the design of mobile applications, the main task is to think over the information and navigation architecture, i.e. what elements the product will consist of, what functions should be laid down and how the user will interact with them. It is worth clarifying the implementation difficulties and other technical nuances related to the design and functionality of the mobile application.

Also at this stage, user scripts and stories are written from the first touch to the target action, i.e. the application is simulated. Use cases define the required functionality and screens for the future application. They then draw flowcharts to visualize these stories and scenarios and create low-fidelity mockups of the mobile app’s GUI.


After the idea is approved and the architecture of the mobile application is discussed, mockups (layouts) are created – a low-detailed prototype in order to determine the priority and location of the interface elements on the screen, to provide for them an easy-to-access location.

High-level prototypes are discussed within the team and with the client. And since this approach takes a little time, they can be quickly corrected.

After that, detailed, clickable prototypes are created with the necessary dynamics, animation and microinteractions for user testing.

At the prototyping stage, it is worth consulting with the development team in order to understand which design elements can negatively affect the cost and timing of a mobile application, which should be abandoned or which can be replaced by a simpler but no less effective one.

Mobile app prototype testing

The advantage of interactive prototypes is that you can interact with them as with a ready-made application. Thus, it is possible to test the interface, following the user’s path, collect detailed feedback and understand how interesting the product is for the target audience. At this stage of development, you can run a series of tests to determine the optimal user journey.

Mobile app design and development

At this stage, interactive prototypes are given to designers to make the product more engaging, style and refine microinteractions with the product design in mind. After the design of the mobile application is approved, the product is given to the developers.

Preparing content for stores

At this stage, a description is created for the mobile application and its main functions, interface images are created that the user will see in the App Store or Google Play. Properly selected screenshots that reveal the features and benefits of the application will help increase the installation rates of the application.

Finalization and analysis of the design of mobile applications

When there is already a finished product, we connect analytics to analyze the design of mobile applications. Thus, we obtain information to optimize the application as a whole, collect data and representations of how the application behaves in real conditions, and find growth areas for further refinement. At this stage, experiments can be carried out to identify the most effective solutions.

Features and capabilities of mobile app design – basic guidelines

Here are some of the design features of mobile apps to consider when designing:

  • Please note that mobile devices have a limited display.

The screen of a mobile phone or tablet is much smaller than that of a desktop or laptop. Therefore, it is worth considering navigation, the number of elements on one screen, and shortening the user’s path as much as possible.

  • Use the control features and functionality of mobile devices.

It is worth considering that control on a mobile device occurs using gestures and touches. Therefore, consider gesture navigation, and also use the additional capabilities of mobile devices. For example, a camera and microphone can be used to enter and verify data. Also, make all clickable elements (buttons, menus, navigation, filters, etc.) larger and place them at a sufficient distance from each other so that the user can easily hit them with a finger, if possible without changing the grip of the hand.

  • Remember the screen orientation of your mobile device.

When designing the design of mobile applications, it is worth considering the display of the screen – portrait and horizontal. And if the application will be used in both cases, then create two versions of the application. Interaction with a mobile application should not be difficult for the user. Regardless of the orientation, the user should be as convenient and comfortable as possible.

  • Consider mobile internet traffic.

Considering the fact that the application will most often be used on the go, using mobile traffic, it is worth avoiding heavy files and graphic elements for which you need to download a large amount of data from the Internet – this may entail additional costs, which is unlikely to please your users.

  • Consider the role of the app in your marketing strategy ahead of time.

Will it be just an add-on or a major entry point? When designing, it will be possible to make the right emphasis on marketing, link online and offline or several products into a single ecosystem.

Mobile app design is already an integral step in the development of modern eCommerce. Therefore, improve your business, create interesting, high-quality and useful products. We hope that our tips will help you with this.

Features and capabilities of mobile app design - basic guidelines

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