The Basics of App Design 101

By Donald Kim
20 Dec '16

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In recent years, there has been an increasing demand in mobile app design and development services. This increase can be attributed to the growth of e-commerce amongst businesses and consumers alike. Since information is readily accessible and available with smartphones, tablets, and desktop PC’s, more businesses and entrepreneurs are now getting into this mobile app action.


Using the best practices in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design is crucial to user adoption and connection as a result of app usage. The experience your app gives its users will dictate the look, feel, and overall brand messaging. In this article, we detail the basics of what one should consider before embarking on the exciting journey of designing a new app. Please be sure to also read our other related Blog Posts for App Development: “Best Practices in Developing Apps for Large Android Devices” and ”Native Apps vs Hybrid vs Web Apps.” At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials) we have a dedicated iOS and Android Mobile Development Team.


1. RESEARCH: At its core, your mobile app should be designed to be specific, focused, and unique. Make sure that you get very granular in terms of why you are developing the app. A few questions that you should ask yourself are as following:

  • What are the goals and objectives of the app?
  • Is the app going to be used for branding purposes, or will it provide you with an extra channel for sales revenues?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How will you market and drive awareness about your new app? Social media marketing, landing pages, email campaign marketing?
  • What’s your budget and timeline?
  • Do you need it to work on all devices? Will it be a native iOS and/or Android app, or a web app?


2. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: It’s always a good idea to analyze your competition to help develop effective design strategies. Conduct a thorough SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to determine areas where you can differentiate and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It’ll also be wise to read forums and threads of past user experiences of some of your competitors, as well as download a few of their apps, to get an idea of what you can do differently with respect to the design, feature development, and marketing.


3. UX DESIGN PRINCIPLES: After you have determined the vision, objectives, and goals for your app, you may begin the design process. The quality time spent on detailing out all aspects of the app design will result in saved time and money in the future. We recommend using design tools like InVision, an online iterative feedback tool, that enables UX/UI designers to create prototypes and mock ups.

  • Sketch out the designs: Begin from the bottom up, with the user experience of the target persona in mind, and be clear with what you want to offer to your prospective customers.
  • Select the features: When identifying your desired app features, keep the process simple and deliver on the promises of what your app is supposed to do.
  • The Pareto principle: A good rule of thumb to follow is the Pareto principle, where typically 80% of app users will not use more than 20% of its intended features. Ensure that with your design, you focus in on that 20%.
  • Navigation: Navigating through your app should be seamless, and users should be able to easily find what they are looking for, or else they may not get the full enjoyable experience of the app. Having an intuitive navigation design is a must.
  • Typography: Be sure to choose a typography that matches your brand, and that it is easy to look at in contrast to the background.
  • Color Scheme: When it comes to colors, less is more. Choosing the colors of your app design can be a fun task, but be careful, too many colors can be distracting or confusing. Try out a couple different color schemes to ensure that they complement your overall design well.


Once your app has been fully designed, developed, and launched into the respective app stores, it’s important to get constant user feedback. This way, you will be able to iteratively improve on the overall user experience. Be sure to measure your performance against your original plans and key performance indicators, and don't forget to update your app as necessary in relation to market demand.


Need a Mobile App? Webilize specializes in iOS, Android, and Web Apps. Email or call us.

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