What is a Design Process?
Before I explain why having a design process is important, you might be wondering what a design process even is. It’s a systematic series of steps that helps you to define, plan and produce a product you’re building — in our case, an app. It allows you to be efficient, transparent and focused on creating the best product possible. At Little Green Software, we use a design process to help make sure we don’t miss a step or a part of the user experience you might miss otherwise. Our design process is pretty straightforward, but we find that it makes a huge difference in making sure that the final product is of the highest quality.
Parts of our Design Process
Discovery: We start the design process by gathering the ingredients for the app. This entails talking to the client and finding out their needs and vision for what the app will do.
Flow Maps: From that initial conversation we can start on the flow maps. Flow maps utilize no visual elements, but allow us to decide how a user will move through the app. This organization makes sure that everything has a home before we move any further.
Wireframes: Next we move to meat of the design — the wireframes. Wireframes are the most simple, bare bones version of the app. No color, no photos or icons, just basic boxes and lines showing the placement of where things would be on the screen. This step makes sure you’ve worked out the kinks of usability without getting distracted by how things look. Little Green will make your wireframes clickable whenever possible so you can interact with them and really start to feel how the app will work.
Visual design: Next comes visual design. Visual Design is likely the most anticipated step, where the app really begins to take shape. This phase is when we add the fonts, colors, pictures and icons — giving the app an identity that brings it to life. We can either use existing branding for a project, or we can come up with branding and a logo for you. We will make sure all of the visual design choices are purposeful and will add to the functionality and ease of use of the app.
Animations and transitions: As a finishing touch we add animations and interactions to our app to bring the 2D screen to life. Animations can make things onscreen feel like physical objects as you interact with them. We also enhance the experience with transition animations that reinforce the flow of the app.
Why should you use a Design Process?
Having a design process allows us to be more efficient and transparent when we are designing an app. Since we have a plan laid out that has been tested and refined, we can make sure we’re always moving forward and not having to retrace our steps, and the client will trust the decisions and suggestions that we are making. There is a lowered risk because we’re using a plan that is tried and true — no guesswork needed. This plan also helps to keep all members of different teams on track and able to collaborate easily. When we work this way, it helps us find solutions for problems you might not even realize are there. This forces you to think through an app in its entirety, and makes sure the user is getting an engaged user experience. In the end you will have an app that works well, is easy to use, and is something the user wants to use over and over.
At Little Green we think there is nothing better than a well done mobile app. When you are working with a team who knows what they are doing and has a plan, things will move quickly and easily. Having a purposeful design process makes sure that every piece has been thought through and that you leave with a pixel-perfect design that is specific to your needs and wants. We would love to hear your mobile app ideas, and hope to show you how having a design process will work for you!