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The user interface (UI) and experience design (UX) are two crucial factors that determine the success of any mobile application. While UI design provides the visual medium that manifests the app to the user, UX design speaks about multiple aspects of human interaction with the app. Not to mention, the design should be interactive and engaging.
The design stage includes multiple aspects which are discussed below.
Information architecture is the design framework in which the data, interface, and functionality of the app are specified and detailed. Ideally, the technology architecture and the technology stack must be finalized before establishing the design details.
Often, this includes details about the platform and also how the app fits within the platform. For example, a new app that helps the user to maintain a work schedule may depend on the system clock. Workflow or process flow is useful in depicting how the app is used in a step-by-step process.
User interface design in the app development process is termed as a wireframe. It is a pictorial depiction that provides key elements of the UI (fields, buttons, icons, layout, etc.). It provides a visual indication of the app and depicts the salient details like the size of the elements and placement of them. Wireframes are chiefly focused on aesthetics, layout details, and user experience. It does not say anything about color schemes, styles or wireframe to wireframe interactions
Style guides are all about standards, usability, and consistency. It is an essential part of the design stage. Standardization of UI elements, UI frames and end-to-end experience, consistency in use of intuitive & pleasing UI elements, usability driven process flow and uniformity/uniqueness of the app are some of the factors that are contributed and achieved by style guides. A style guide provides the details of various app functions, without which developing a high-quality app can be less efficient.
A rendering of the app’s visual design is termed as a mockup or a high-fidelity design. The wireframes combine with your style guide design standards and provide the interconnection between various elements of visual design, thus establishing the flow of the app. Your mockup may lack the logic and intelligence of your app but will almost demonstrate how the app functions. As your app’s design begins to get finalized, you can expect further modifications to its information architecture, workflow, and aesthetics. Adobe Photoshop and Sketch are two of the popular tools for creating high-fidelity mockups.
While mockups provide a display of your mobile app’s functionality using static designs, prototypes can provide a glimpse into the working of the apps. A prototype is a rapid version of the originally intended app. Prototypes are specifically required if the technology is new, concepts are untested or there is uncertainty about the app development. While mockups are dummy runs of the app, prototypes provide the “real feeling” or “demo” version of the app. It can be even used as a demo of the app. Prototypes can be handy for understanding the visual interface, user experience and the app’s flow of work that is expected from the finished product. Prototype development can be time-consuming but it offers short testing of your app’s design and functionality which can come very handy in the later stages.
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