Mobile applications accompany us in every area of life. Thanks to them, it has become easier than ever to arrange appointments, do shopping, order food, learn foreign languages, control health, or set insurance issues. Of course, it’s not all. The rapidly growing number of mobile apps on the market translates into high mobile app revenue. From January to the end of June 2020, consumers spent $50.1 billion worldwide across the App Store and Google Play — a figure that’s up 23.4% from the first half of 2019.
Currently, each of us has about 40 apps installed on our mobile devices. In the case of the millennials, the number is growing to 67. No wonder more and more businesses worldwide decide to create apps that will help them continue operating online, especially after pandemic 2020. What’s more, having a brand-specific application allows for improving brand awareness and user engagement, which translates into higher sales and customer satisfaction rates.
To succeed, we need to ensure the applications solve users’ problems and provide them with the best possible user experience (UX). That is why it is worth focusing on excellent app design. When developing an idea, it will be crucial to know what constitutes the correct design, what elements should be paid special attention to, and finally, how much will be its final cost.
Why do you need a design app?
Almost a quarter of all mobile apps are uninstalled from mobile devices after one use. This indicator is caused by the poor usability of an app, and 70% of businesses fail due to this factor. To avoid unwanted business activity termination, it is worth focusing on the visual design at the beginning of the product development process.
App development is the final step of the whole process, based on the implementation of functionalities necessary for a given application’s assumed operation. The pre-development step is application design, which should be focused on solving users’ problems. It is fundamental to understand their needs and then design specific solutions.
What influences the final cost of app design?
Application design usually consists of research, UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design, and branding. Knowledge of the process will allow you to understand better what will contribute to the final cost of designing an application.
UX design is a critical stage in the whole process of designing mobile and web applications. It includes creating user flow, flow maps, and wireframes. This process is preceded by two series of workshops.
Workshop and analysis
An integral part of the application design process is the workshop. It is very important because it helps the team conduct a technical and business analysis of the product and move on to the next step of the product development. In Applover, our team and the client take part in two series of workshops. After the first one, our team will be ready to create specifications and wireframes, which will help you get an idea of how your project will be structured. While at the end of the second one, we’ll be ready to set deadlines related to the delivery of the final version of the wireframes and specifications. Workshops are crucial to understanding future users’ needs, problems that the app will solve, its functionalities, and business expectations set due to the project.
Another part of the project is an in-depth analysis of the given application’s information and functionalities discovered during the workshops. This material is the basis for further work. The final costs associated with this stage vary depending on:
- the complexity of the target application,
- the time required to analyze the business requirements of the final product,
- characteristics of the desired functionality,
- platforms on which the application is to be present,
- hours spent on designer meetings with a business analyst,
- a country where your technological partner’s headquarters are located.
Benchmarking is a process of comparing the assumptions and possibilities of the application concept with those already present on the market. This process will determine how your app will measure up with your competitors. It is essential because users of the application go through the same process every day, choosing those apps that meet their highest degree requirements. That is why we want to create an application to be the most popular choice among users. Benchmarking will make it possible to design an application that will be a step ahead of the competition.
User flow and flow map
User Flow is a crucial element in the process of designing a mobile app. It describes users’ steps to access a function or perform a specific task in the application.
Each click or drag is part of the user flow. It does not matter whether users use the application to listen to music, make bank transfers, or record sports training progress.
By creating user flow and flow maps:
- we can make assumptions to help with further product development, e.g., where the use of the application can be problematic or where the flow can change,
- the risk of making a mistake such as “gaps” in the user path is reduced,
- it is possible to compare alternative solutions for user flow.
Wireframes are created in Figma or Sketch. The primary purpose of designing wireframes is to define application structures taking into account functionalities, information architecture, and flow. Wireframes are a visual representation of application functionality, which helps understand the project. It can be said that wireframes are the foundation of every application on which its visual layer is built.
Wireframes are the elements that make up the final design evaluation of each application. They should never be left out, and they should be the basis of each application’s interface.
Companies that decide to create an app often already have their branding, which is used to create user interfaces. At Applover, we also work with clients who do not yet have it when coming to us. In such cases, we start our cooperation by creating a visual representation of a brand.
The branding consists of such elements as creating a logo and choosing colors or fonts. This process starts with creating mood boards and then goes on to logo design. The branding creation is preceded by in-depth research of the latest visual trends that characterize the given industry. Only after such analysis designers can begin the process of creating the right branding.
User interface design or visual design is something that will be visible to the end-user. Here, we also create a mood board with suggestions for inspiration for the application style. The designers’ main task here is to create UI mock-ups based on UX wireframes. The application’s appearance must combine key elements – maintaining the application’s functionality defined by the UX designers at the previous stage and a distinctive visual design.
UI designers are responsible for creating color schemes, typography, layout, and general look and feel of the final app. Designers are working on the project for various states in the application, making a clickable prototype, and creating a style guide to move to hand-off for developers smoothly.
These are dynamic images, usually designed in Principle or Adobe After Effects. In most cases, animations are an excellent variation for static application design. In the context of application most frequently used are illustrated animations – moving images usually used in tutorials or greeting screens.
Only an experienced designer in this field should make the animation project dedicated to the application. In this way, you can be sure that the animation elements will not destroy the designed user interface and user experience of the final application. You can read more about animations in software projects in our Trendbook 2021/2022.
Number of platforms
The final cost of the design of a given application will also depend on the operating system for which it will be available. Mobile applications are very often created separately on iOS and Android. In such cases, we go for native development, where it is necessary to involve two development teams dedicated to developing applications for iOS and Android separately. Yet, for those who plan to create an application available in Appstore and Google Play from the very beginning, cross-platform development may be an excellent solution. It allows us to develop both versions of the application using a single codebase. This solution is much more efficient in terms of human and financial resources. You can read more about cross-platform apps in our posts about Flutter and React Native.
The application’s final cost also depends on the complexity and customization of the solutions that need to be developed. Choosing a simple design with standard buttons, call to action, and images translate into a much lower design price than the one with complex animations, multiple screens, and advanced application logic.
Do you want to find out more about app design in 2022?
Design experience & referrals
Whenever you have any doubts about outsourcing the design of your application to a particular company, check its portfolio. Apart from the projects that a given software house places on its website, you can also go through its account on Dribbble, the place where designers share their work. You can also find out if the company you chose has already cooperated with other firms in your region and how this cooperation has been going, or read the reviews of clients left on Clutch.
How much does it cost to design an app?
To illustrate the final cost of the application and the time required to complete it, I will describe what it looked like for one of our latest projects, Prismade, which you will read more about here.
The challenge here was connecting the mobile app experience with a physical card. We started cooperation with workshops to establish the needs of Prismade properly and assess all the necessary tasks. Then, to convert the idea into a design, our UX/UI designer developed the wireframes to describe all of the effects, such as sounds, animations, and vibrations. Then, we prepared a clickable prototype. Once we got the acceptance from the Prismade team, the UI style, sounds, and animated tutorial were designed. In Prismade, the UI & UX process was quite complex – overall, designing the Prismade app took us about 120 working hours of our UX/UI designer.
Yet, this number should be treated only as an example. Every time we start the cooperation, our team prepares a specific estimated valuation based on the contact with the clients and a detailed brief filled in by them. Our labor rates calculate per person day, and the final cost depends on the project’s requirements and advancement level.