Mastering mobile app creation: A detailed guide emphasizing design principles

A cover representing a mobile app design and development process: a person working on wireframes and user interface elements

When considering building an app, the initial focus may be on creating all the functionality the end user interacts with, and then developing the visual components. However, the process of mobile app design and development works in a reverse manner. First, the team establishes the user flow, and then strategically implements interface designs along the user’s path. Only after that comes the development phase. In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the mobile app design process and highlight key aspects of development. By doing so, you can gain a clearer vision of what actions to expect from a vendor when creating an application.

Key steps in mobile app design

Designing a mobile app requires a systematic and well-defined process that ensures the development of a user-friendly, visually appealing, and functional application. While every software company may have its own unique approach, there are several key stages that reputable companies commonly follow to achieve the objectives listed above. In this section, we will provide a comprehensive overview of these stages, emphasizing the standard practices to follow in the mobile app design process.

Step 1. Planning and scope estimation

The first stage of the mobile app design process involves preliminary planning and scope estimation. This step is crucial for understanding the client’s objectives and identifying the target audience. Software companies discuss the idea with clients to gather requirements, conduct user research, and estimate the scope of work. Thus, at RonasIT we outline the user flow right from the beginning and provide a quote to clients, ensuring transparency and clarity in terms of project requirements and costs.

FlowUser StoriesEstimation in
hours mobile
AuthorizationI can register5
I can log in
II can recover the forgotten password
I can read/accept Terms of Service
I can fill in the required personal data
I can fill in the required payment data
I can set my preferences (certain booking options/types of properties)
I can skip an authorization process (limited rights)
Journeys controlI can view journeys (my/recommended/created by other users)20
I can preview a journey (brief information about it)
I can filter journeys (by tags/categories/locations)
I can search journeys
I can go to each journey (interaction with a journey)
Service payment checkoutI can choose the dates8
I can fill in the required data
I can select accommodation/service options
I select a payment method
I can confirm a payment data
I can confirm a booking details
I can book an accommodation/purchase a service
Interaction of a userI can search for user12
I can view user contact and personal data
I can view user’s journeys
I can invite user to my journey
Interaction with a mapI can scale the map8
I can go back to my current location
I can view POIs on a map
I can go to each POIs
I can view a tourist route
A section of a travel app’s user flow and our estimation of the design work scope, measured in hours

Step 2. Wireframing and first feedback

After completing the preliminary planning and scope estimation, the next step in mobile app design is wireframing. Wireframing is employed to create representations of the app’s structure. It acts as a visual blueprint, enabling stakeholders to review and provide feedback on the proposed layout and functionality.

At Ronas IT, we specifically focus on creating wireframes for the most complicated flows within the app. This allows us to prioritize and address the challenges early on in the design process. The collaborative discussion with clients during the wireframing stage helps us to understand their objectives and incorporate their feedback effectively. By addressing any discrepancies and refining the design through wireframing, we ensure an optimized user experience in the final product. This stage helps establish the logic of the application and ensures it is well structured before proceeding to visual design and development.

Lainappi mobile app wireframes design: four wireframes show a user’s journey through the process of renting a bike
Wireframes designed by Ronas IT for the Lainappi mobile app

Step 3. Interactive prototyping

After wireframes are reviewed and approved, the next stage involves creating clickable prototypes. It is when our team creates prototypes that closely resemble the final product. We use advanced design tools such as Figma to create interactive prototypes that provide clients with a tangible representation of the app’s functionality.

This allows them to gain a better understanding of how the mobile app design will look, how the app will behave, and how it will fulfill their requirements. Feedback obtained during this stage guides design refinements and ensures that the final product aligns with the intended user experience.

Three screens represent the principle of a clickable prototype’s operation, which is a part of the mobile app design and development process
A clickable prototype scheme of a mobile app

Step 4. UI design and branding

Visual design plays a crucial role in enhancing the user experience and contributing to the overall aesthetics of the mobile app design. At this stage, software companies select appropriate color schemes, typography, and imagery that align with the client’s brand identity and create a visually cohesive interface. Designers also consider screen sizes and platform-specific guidelines to ensure consistent visual experiences across different devices and operating systems.

A comprehensive UI/UX mobile app design completed in Figma, featuring user-friendly interfaces optimized for dark mode
The final design of the app for different roles and different platforms in Figma

Step 5. Final mobile app design approval and handoff

The last stage before development involves obtaining final design approval from the client. At this point, the software company prepares the UI kit for the development team to bring the design to life. This may involve delivering design specifications, UI style guides, icon sets, and other relevant assets. Thorough documentation and clear communication ensure a successful handoff and a seamless transition from mobile app design to development.

The picture represents a UI kit which is a necessary supplement to the finished mobile app design
The UI kit is a necessary supplement to the finished design

By following these key stages in the mobile app design process, software companies prioritize user-centered design, functionality, and aesthetics. Through thorough planning and collaboration, the final product meets client expectations while creating an exceptional experience for app users.

Why focus on mobile app design?

Still, one may decide that mobile app design is less important than development regarding the business value. However, there are plenty of reasons why pay attention to this aspect of crafting the app. Below are some of them.

Importance of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)

When it comes to mobile app design, focusing on user interface and user experience is crucial. The UI is the visual design of an app, including its layout, colors, typography, and overall aesthetic appeal. On the other hand, UX refers to the overall experience a user has while interacting with the app, encompassing factors such as usability, navigation, and functionality.

A picture showing two screens which demonstrate the difference between user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) in mobile app design
The difference between user experience (UX) and user interface (UI)

Design is a vital component in the creation of a mobile app, as a well-designed UI and UX can significantly improve the app’s overall effectiveness. Users are more likely to engage with an app that is visually pleasing, easy to navigate, and provides a seamless user experience. A poorly designed UI/UX can result in frustration, high bounce rates, and negative reviews, ultimately leading to the failure of an app.

Attention to detail in design

Graphics and visual elements contribute to the overall appeal of the app. Well-designed graphics can make the app visually captivating, while poor graphics can give a cheap or unprofessional impression. Additionally, color schemes need to be chosen carefully to create a visually pleasing and cohesive experience for the users.

The color palette and the typeface with a Poppins font for the Hamperapp laundry mobile application design
The color palette and the typeface with a Poppins font for the Hamperapp laundry application

Significance of intuitiveness and responsiveness in mobile app design

Intuitiveness and responsiveness are the next key factors in app design. Intuitiveness refers to the ease with which users can understand the app without explicit guidance. A well-designed app should provide a user-friendly interface that allows users to intuitively interact with the different features and functionalities without confusion.

An exit sign universal icon (a person leaving through the door and an arrow showing the direction), which illustrates the essence of intuitiveness in mobile app design
Navigation within the app should be as easy to understand as an exit sign universal icon

Responsiveness is equally important as it ensures that applications can adapt and function effectively on different devices and screen sizes. This adaptation is crucial as it allows businesses to reach a wider audience and increase conversion rates. By prioritizing responsive design, companies can provide a consistent and optimized experience for users, regardless of the device they are using.

Thus, by considering these aspects, startups can create apps that are visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provide a seamless user experience, leading to increased user engagement.

Mobile app design representative case

Through 16 years on the market, Ronas IT team has designed and developed over 1,500 projects. Among those are mobile apps designs we’re specifically proud of. One of our longstanding clients is Noah, a marketplace app that facilitates the direct purchase of products from farmers. We have developed three apps for Noah, including a mobile app for consumers, an app for food producers, and a web admin panel. Our partnership with them spans four years.

During the mobile app design process, our primary goal was to create a subtle yet visually appealing design that allows farmers to showcase their brands without being overshadowed by the app’s overall aesthetics. We aimed to strike a balance that enables farmers to promote their brands effectively without having to compete with the app’s own design elements.


Four screens from the Noah mobile app design highlight various features: farm product categories, order details, product detail editing, and a map showing the locations of the nearest farmers

In the Noah app, farmers can display their brands on the marketplace and personalize their profiles with logos and photos. To accommodate different styles, the app’s user interface is designed to be minimal and flexible. This ensures that both vibrant and calm visual aesthetics can be successfully matched with brands.

Check Ronas IT UI/UX design services

Logo and branding

The design of the Noah Mobile App’s starting screen features a logo with the letters ’A’ and ’N’ enclosed in a circle. Another screen shows a product card reflecting the app’s branding style, characterized by its ochre colors, unique font, and strategic product image placement

We created a minimalistic app icon for Noah to showcase the application on the App Store and Google Play. It features Noah’s corporate color and incorporates the main letters from its name. We as well took charge of developing the branding style for the Noah project and consciously opted for a color scheme consisting of neutral white and gray tones. This choice allows the vibrant product photos to shine without causing any unnecessary distractions to users.

Check Ronas IT logo and branding services

UI kit

The Noah mobile app design UI kit is displayed, showcasing a variety of interface elements. This includes everything from buttons and icons to different font sizes

In creating our UI kits, we adhere to iOS and Android guidelines to ensure design consistency across all apps. This approach not only expedites the mobile app design process but also facilitates a smooth release to the stores.

Enjoyed our app design? Let’s create one for you.

What comes next after mobile app design?

We couldn’t leave you in the design stage without telling you about the whole process of creating the app. So, once the mobile app design process has been completed, the next crucial steps involve app development, testing, deployment, and maintenance.

Front end and back end. Mobile app development is where the rubber meets the road. The front end is about creating an interactive user interface that makes the earlier completed design work. It’s where the app comes to life visually. The back end, on the other hand, involves creating the server side of the app, setting up databases, and ensuring data sync between the front end and back end. It’s the backbone of the app where all the major operations take place.

Testing. Testing is a non-negotiable process in app development. Rigorous tests are carried out to identify any glitches, bugs, or inconsistencies. This can involve usability testing, compatibility testing, performance testing, and so on. The goal is to ensure the app runs smoothly without any hitches.

Deployment. After thorough testing and any necessary adjustments, the app is deployed to app stores. During this phase, the app becomes available for download and use by the public. The deployment process requires adherence to specific guidelines set by the respective app stores.

Maintenance and updates. Launching the app in the stores is not the end of the journey. Once the app is out in the wild, it requires regular maintenance and updates. Updates can involve adding new features, resolving bugs, improving user interface, or adapting to new operating system versions. It’s all about enhancing the user experience and taking into account user feedback to improve the app over time.

In essence, the journey following the mobile app design phase is quite extensive. It requires technical expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to ongoing improvement for the app to be successful and stand the test of time.

Questions to answer yourself before proceeding with crafting an app

Prior to mobile app design and development, it is essential to ask yourself a series of questions to ensure a well-executed project. These questions can help you establish a clear strategy, identify platform preferences, and incorporate current technology trends.

What strategy do I want to follow?

Before you dive headfirst into the mobile app development process, it’s crucial to have a clear strategy. This involves:

  • Setting clear goals and objectives

    Be explicit about what you aim to achieve with the app. Is it about improving customer service, capturing new markets, increasing brand awareness, or all the above? Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals can help guide your strategy.

  • Understanding user needs and expectations

    Conduct market research, create user personas, or use customer feedback to gain insights into how to meet and exceed your user’s expectations. Use this information to guide the design and development of your mobile app.

  • Budgeting and timeline considerations

    Having a rough estimate of the cost will help you allocate resources efficiently. Remember to factor in costs beyond initial development, such as marketing, updates, and maintenance. Additionally, establish a realistic timeline with milestones to keep the development process on track.

What platforms am I developing for?

Your choice of platform can significantly affect your app’s reach and engagement. Consider:

  • Comparison of native and cross-platform mobile app development

    Native apps can offer better performance and take full advantage of all the features on iOS or Android but are typically more costly. On the other hand, cross-platform development can reach a wider audience and save development time and cost, though it may not provide the same level of performance or integration.

  • Factors influencing the choice

    This largely depends on your user demographics, budget constraints, and required features. For instance, if your target audience primarily uses Android, it might make sense to start with an Android app.

What trends do I want to include?

Incorporating current technology trends can make your app stand out:

  • How the latest trends shape the process

    Consider incorporating popular app trends. For instance, dark mode, voice user interface, and biometrics are currently favored by users. This can make your app trendy and user-friendly.

  • Impact of technology advancements

    Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence can help personalize the user experience. Augmented reality and virtual reality can create immersive experiences that can impress users and encourage them to engage more with your app. The Internet of Things can help your app interact with other devices and systems, providing users with additional value and elevated convenience.

Keeping these considerations in mind will assist you in creating an app that not only serves its purpose but also delights its users, and stands strong amidst the sea of applications available in the market.

Summing up

To effectively navigate the complex world of mobile app creation, it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of the design process and key development elements. But beyond technical aspects, it is equally crucial to approach the task with a well-defined strategy, profound insight into user needs along with an appreciation for aesthetics and intuitive functionality. And if you ever find yourself needing a hand with any of the mobile app design and development tasks or defining your goals, — we’ve got your back.

Contact Ronas IT to get an estimate for your next amazing mobile app project.

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