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so that you can avoid the mistakes we made and learn best practices from our successes!

10
OCT
STARTUP CHRONICLES: Mockup Design
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In my last post, I spoke about the three major things anyone with an idea for a new business or product should do. First, you should DOCUMENT your thoughts as this will help you to focus on the things that really matter as you constantly develop the idea. Second, it is imperative that you GET EARLY AND HONEST FEEDBACK from friends and potential customers about the viability of your idea. This will save you from spending money to develop a product/service nobody will pay for and finally, start a business so long as there is a NEED in the market and people will pay for the service you are offering and not based on the ORIGINALITYof the idea.

In today’s article I will talk about how my team designed atendify's user interface so that the experience was more friendly and accessible. and then I will share briefly about Lean Design. But first, let's define the acronyms UI/UX.

DEFINITION

The terms UI means user interface and UX means user experience and is sometimes used in the tech world interchangeably. For our purpose, user experience (UX) design is the process whereby the users feelings about a product are optimized, usually through improvements in usability and accessibility. The term encompasses aspects of design including information organization, information accessibility, visual design, and user interface design (UI). In designing our user interface, I employed at a low level the lean design methodology.

This methodology is a way of working in short quick cycles. The approach entails continual iteration on design and development, keeping one single focus in mind: that nothing is certain until users try it out.

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STAGE 1 - Sketches & Wireframes

Once I was done writing down the details about my idea, I took to pen and paper and made simple sketches of how I wanted my application to look and flow. The drawings were very simple and contained just the basic features and layout. You can also use free wireframe tools like Mockingbird, Gliffy, etc., available online or Photoshop to develop your designs. If you don't have access to any of these tools, pencil and paper will do just fine.

The purpose of these diagrams was to help us visualize our idea and make the necessary changes and improvements needed to make our app easy to use. It also helped us understand how the different screens of our app would interact with each other and how our users would move from one screen to the next.

STAGE 2 - High Level Mockups

Using my simple mockups and wireframes I was able to use photoshop to develop high level designs of my sketches to better convey how I wanted the app to look. Using these high level images, I was able to explain my idea more clearly to my potential customers and receive feedback about how it looked and feel.

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However, after multiple consultation with friends and bringing on a UI/UX designer we made significant changes to our layout in order to make it more user friendly and visually appealing.

"Think about what it is your users will be trying to accomplish and focus on the key user goals that you have identified."

When designing your app, don't try to reinvent the wheel entirely. You can find inspiration from apps that are already on the market. You can also use websites like Mobile Patterns , UI Patterns or the many other community websites out there.

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Now lets turn our attention to a few common user interface design principles you should consider when designing your mobile app.

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Principle of Structure: This principle is concerned with overall user interface architecture. Designs should organize the user interface purposefully, in meaningful and useful ways based on clear, consistent models that are apparent and recognizable to users, putting related things together and separating unrelated things.

Principle of Simplicity: This principle is concerned with making simple and everyday common tasks easy. It should communicate clearly in the user's own language.

Principle of Visibility: This principle is concerned with eliminating or keeping to a minimum distracting or redundant information. Good designs don't overwhelm users with alternatives or confuse them with unneeded information. The design should make all necessary options and materials for a given task extremely visible.

Principle of Reuse: This principle is concerned with maintaining consistency. The design should reuse internal and external components and natural behaviors, rather that requiring the user to rethink and remember.

CONCLUSION

Designing beautiful and easy to use apps will take innovation and dedication. Above all, designing apps requires a new way of thinking. It’s the only way to truly design complete, comprehensive mobile experiences for the modern user.

Mario Thomas

Founder

Mario is the Founder and CEO of ThomasBusiness Group of Companies. He currently attends Yale Divinity School in New Haven Connecticut. Mario is interested in the intersection between religion, politics and business. He considers himself a multipotentialite, innovator, investor and entrepreneur.


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