So let’s say you have an idea for a mobile or web app and you know that you need a perfect interface for it. But what exactly is the ideal interface? Does "perfect" mean refined to the smallest details? Beautiful icons, expensive typography, unconventional layout? Depending on what and for whom we’ll design, all these things may be useful, but they are certainly not necessary.
Imagine that you’re creating a financial platform. Complicated graphics aren’t too important, readability and availability of information are much more essential. But a landing page, for example, is another story. You should think about what affects the conversion, which fonts compliment the theme, and which colors reassure the user about the purchase decision.
Any digital product looks and feels the way it does, because it was based on a process of asking, understanding, creating, questioning, testing over and over again. There's no straight answer, each subject requires an individual approach. We need to be sure that whatever direction we choose, it is at the service of your business goals. Not at their expense. This is why for a graphic designer it is very important to focus on the UI development process before imagining the end result.
This is primarily the time of talking - we ask, and you tell. Each project starts with a close look at the business model, potential recipients, and use cases. This information is the foundation of every interface; in-depth knowledge allows us to better respond to the needs of users. At this stage, we determine the basic characteristics of the design. Will it require more or less custom graphics, will it consist mainly of forms and tables, or is there work with a lot of content and photography?
We don’t stop with the data form you only. We conduct research of our own. The UX team collects data about the users, their needs and challenges. But in this article, we’ll focus on the UI part of the job, and from this perspective, research focuses on finding similar products and competition. We investigate both successful solutions and those that didn’t gain the users' interest.
Describing an idea, for example using a particular style, is much easier when showing it on real-life examples, than describing it in words. This is why once we have some knowledge about the product and its future users, we develop a mood board. It is a collage of designs, photography, colors, typography, objects and more, that together make up of the visual direction in which we want to go with the project. In other words, it is a board of inspiration that helps in communication with you and our team as well as in the individual work of the graphic designer.
We start with a couple selected screens, on which we test our ideas and experiment a bit with the look and feel. When you accept these conceptual views and we all are sure, we’re on the right track, we start with the final project. View by view, we create an interface ready for implementation. The product design process includes not only the key screens you expect, like the home page, profile, the map or login. The graphic designer needs to take into account much more. Almost every view requires several variants: errors, successes, before loading the content, while loading and more. Then we design the interactions: how will the pagination work or the header during the scroll. And in the case of websites, we need mobile designs as well.
At this stage, you see the results of our work, along with our comments. We’ll ask you to rate it and submit your suggestions to us. Then we discuss. Our goal is to meet your expectations, but also help you respond to your user requirements. By the way, there are several ways to present the project. We depend on our choice on what you expect. We can have our discussion based on raw sketches, mockups or final high-quality designs. We can prepare a clickable prototype or even an animation showing the most important interactions.
But the validation step is not the end of the UI development process. It also includes the preparation of files for developers, assets like icons, backgrounds, and other images. We also develop a style guide that helps programmers work on the front end.
Each project is of course different. Sometimes we give up a point or two. You can have different needs, a smaller or larger budget, more or less flexible schedule. And to be honest, we’re also a variable - we approach each project with a different experience.
It’s not complicated to follow all these steps when planning the UI development process, what’s more, it can bear fruit. First of all - you will succeed with a well-elaborated digital product, especially worth it when working on complex projects. Secondly - your users will be satisfied with a mobile or web app that meets their needs.