UI/UX design stages
Before defining the proper principles of UI design for you, let’s review the key design stages in the process:
1. Research and determining the user persona
The first step you need to take is to conduct thorough research. You need to learn more about the market you want to enter and the audience that is going to use your product. You need to assess the expectations of your users to understand how you’re going to meet them.
With the data you gather, you should define a clear user persona if you want to create an effective and impressive mobile UI design. Having a detailed image of a person in front of you, their goals and aspirations will make it seem more real to you. All in all, it will make the user behaviour easier to predict.
2. Structure definition
With the results of your research, the next step would be to define the structure of your application. This means establishing the mains screens your product is going to have and determining the interactions between them.
To make the app more accessible and intuitive to use, you need to organize the structure properly right away. You need to classify the information you want to present to the user in terms of importance and based on connections between them. It is often done with the help of Information Architecture (IA) — the science of organizing and structuring content. There are multiple IA methods you can use to categorize the information and make the future app navigation easier. For example, you can use flowcharts and mind maps before you move on to prototyping.
After you define the structure, it’s time to make it presentable. Whether it is to attract investors, show it to current shareholders, or even test it on your potential target audience, the prototype of your product should effectively describe your product at a certain stage of mobile UI design development.
This stage begins with low-fidelity wireframing and prototyping. These early examples can consist simply of rough sketches of app screens. Later in the design process, these low-fidelity mockups are filled with necessary interface details and design assets so that they appropriately show the full functionality and appropriate app layout. Therefore, they become high-fidelity wireframes and prototypes.
Now that you have your prototype, it’s time to put it to use the way you intended to. Gauge the effect it’s having against your expectations and find out what works and what does not. As a result, you can determine which features will move forward to the final version of the product you’re developing, and which need more work.
There are various testing methods that can help you to include the user into the decision-making process during the design. You can ask a small focus group to uncover the flaws of your app (qualitative testing), or conduct a study over a large user sample (quantitative testing); you can observe users’ usual behaviour, conduct a card testing, or develop a vision heat map. The choices are numerous, and you can even develop your own that would suit your application the most.
5. Support and feedback gathering
You don’t stop the mobile UI design process after the application gets released. It may not seem obvious, but there is a lot to be done even at this stage. If you want your app to be the best it can be, you need to improve it and further work on it.
To know what to improve, you should gather feedback from as many channels as possible. The data you gather will help you to determine the flaws you need to work on. Never stop listening to your users and making your product better.
Specifics of the UI/UX design approach for startups
1. Stay oriented towards your users
Your users are the only people that can make your project successful. So, during the UX design for startups, your main focus should always be your target audience. The UI/UX design should make the application easy and intuitive to use, include elements familiar to your audience.
That’s why during the design process you should refer back to the user persona you’ve constructed as often as possible. This is why it is also extremely important to make sure that your user persona is on-point. Focus on your vision of your target audience and try not to deviate from it.
2. Know your industry
To make sure your application takes its place on the market, you need to learn more about your competition. If you create a product that is too similar to another known solution, you simply won’t be able to stand out, which will probably result in your project dying out.
However, if your app steps too far from the industry standards, that might be a problem as well. People often get used to certain features and design elements. If they are missing or if there are other features in their place, your app will require too much time to get used to, which will often result in users dropping it. So, you need to always watch out for the newest mobile design standards, and, at the same time, keep the unique selling point of your app in mind.
3. Set your priorities
It is unreasonable to spread your resources thin and try to develop the UI/UX design as a whole at the same time. So, the process needs to be divided into steps. It is generally better to start with the essentials and then move on to less important features. That’s why feature prioritization is one of the first steps in MVP development.
If you start with developing an MVP, the essential features are where you need to draw the line. Adding more to this type of product at the early stages will take more time and resources. It needs to present the value your app brings to the user, so don’t add anything that will distract them. After the MVP release and after you get relevant feedback, you can add more features that would be helpful to your users.
4. Go for simple, yet catchy
The application should be easy to navigate for the average user from your target audience. This not only implies a certain structure, but it also concerns the elements on a certain separate screen. If there is too much clutter, or important elements have less screen space than less important ones – it needs to be changed at once.
However, maintaining this simplicity, you still need to have something about your app design that is unique and eye-catching. After all, you want to stand out from the crowd, otherwise, your startup will never become successful.
5. Don’t be afraid to try and fail
There is no definite guarantee that your target audience (or even you for that matter) will fall in love with your app after it’s done. And while it may seem frustrating, it’s not the end of the world. You can try the trial-and-error approach, where if you’re not sure about a certain feature – just implement it and see how it goes. If the users do not appreciate it – just remove it in the next update.
Try to be flexible and rely more on the feedback you get from your target audience. You might fail time and time again, but if you don’t stop trying and improving you will eventually succeed.
6. Ask for more feedback
Speaking about feedback, try to get as much information about your design as you can. The more data you gain, the better picture you can get. You can gather data by the means of reviews, surveys, multiple-choice answer tests, and more.
The proper data analysis is also important to make the most out of the feedback you get. If you want to determine the most common complaints, you can use word clouds to visualize the frequently used statements. Use diagrams to group various issues and to get to their root cause. Group the users’ ideas and suggestions based on the effort it takes to implement them and the impact they will have on the final product. All in all, there are various tools you can use to make this task easier, so make sure you have the proper instruments.
As you can see, creating a UI/UX design for your startup is a complex and challenging process. You can’t cut corners when it comes to the designing process, but you can certainly make it easier for yourself. One of the ways to do it is to reach out to an outsourcing UI design company.
If you choose the right people that have experience working with other startups, you will get the result that completely surpasses anything you would be able to do on your own. So, make the right choice and make your app the best it can be.