Very often designers (or customers) are used to provide feedback under the impulse of applied creativity without realizing that there is so much to think and plan before starting with actual graphic design. Unfortunately, the User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) is generally designed simultaneously, and that dynamic slowly starts a snowball effect that will grow and bring the team a lot of confusion when trying to implement the design into code. In addition, the UI design team will go through a painful rework process.
User Interface Can Always Be Improved - Especially on your mobile app!
A web or mobile application, in my opinion, should never be planned starting from graphic design. Graphic Design is what will let us know the look and feel of our project. However, that doesn't mean we should underestimate the graphic design process. Good design is certainly the trait that, in most cases, will help grow the user base through its visual appeal. There is little sense on building a beautiful application if it’s difficult to use and with no added value for users. The majority of users will forgive a somewhat ugly UI because preferences in graphic design taste are different from person to person. However, they will all reject immediately a mobile app malfunction or an empty/incomplete product.
Start From Logic
We must start from logic, from the blueprints, as when building a house. This saves time in design. Also, mobile app and software development programmers will always be grateful that you have a reference document that matches their perspective. Reach out to them to create a document that serves you both to identify the foundations of the project.
When planning UX take a close look at the requirements, use flowcharts to come up with a sequence of interactions, write user stories. What would a common user “A” do in the platform? What about user “B” or “C”? That will give a panorama of the possible interactions within your system.
Once finished this... Draw! It's always good to first imagine which elements you'll use to achieve a good human interaction design and lay them down on paper. So don't be afraid to grab a pencil and get to work.
By having this outlook, graphic ideas will flow easier. "The more practical, the better", It's not worth it spending the mobile app developer's effort (and yours) on implementing unjustufied complex graphics such as the abuse of textures, glows, shadows, irregular shapes and skeuomorphism.
Don't include purposeless graphics that add no value to the user experience. Add only what is absolutely necessary and keep the purpose of the application present while doing so. Also, be aware that sometimes applications have to support different resolutions, dimensions, browsers and operating systems so keep your vision broad and inclusive if possible.
"Don't include purposeless graphics that add no value to the user experience, add only what is absolutely necessary and keep the purpose of the application present while doing so."
Starting from the idea that "everything can be improved", make sure that you can deliver a good UX for your mobile or web app's first release. Once you have that... Improve! Perfection is a continuous process not a product.
About the Author
Andres Reaza is a UX/UI Design Expert. He holds a bachelor in Graphic Design and diploma in Interaction Design. Andres has extensive experience in large mobile projects all around US, as well as being founder of an startup for the restaurant industry in México. He currently works as a Lead UX/UI Designer at iTexico.