The amount of time your app is in the development stage can depend on a number of factors. Typically we find that it’s the review phase which tends to extend your projects build time as this is where the majority of changes are flagged. Have no fear though, this can be prevented from an early stage by envisaging your user’s journey on your platform before you begin its construction, by creating app wireframes!

The majority of digital agencies you’ll work with will use app prototyping tools such as Pidoco and POP (Prototype on Paper), which transfer hand sketches into digital mockups, allowing you to click through screens just like you would on the final app. You’ll be able to get a thorough insight into the overall look and a good feel of how your app will work before it’s even built.

This type of software can ensure that your app developer works as efficiently as possible. It can be time intensive for a developer to make changes to an apps structure once it’s been built, and this is where delays can start to occur. Having your designs roughly sketched out, and an app mockup, means you’ll be able to see what areas of your app are feasible or not from the start, and you can also add and remove areas where you see fit as you refine your idea.

Whether you’re planning on creating a new app or updating an existing website, it’s advised that you think about your user flow before you approach your digital agency. No-one knows your customers quite like you and therefore you are uniquely positioned to guide your agency in how you want it to look, feel and flow. Your agency is there to acknowledge, implement and recommend. This ensures that you have every area covered, saving you time and money further down the line. A well-constructed brief will fuel the agency with all of the necessary tools to work efficiently and stick to your initial deadline.

Before you get your creative juices flowing, you need to have your user in mind at all times. Put yourself in their shoes and wonder why they’re there in the first place and how they can get to and from your key hot spots as a result. A users intentions may vary depending on the apps sector (consumer and enterprise for example will differ), yet this shouldn’t dictate the quality of their experience.

app wireframe example

We’re not saying that you have to spend hours on the sketches, as you’ll receive detailed artwork as part of your package from your agency. But we are saying that you should try and think of every little detail in the time that you have to gain an even better understanding of your project’s aims. Even if you’re adding to your user flow periodically page by page on scrap pieces of paper it will still help you gain a better understanding of what it is you want to achieve, and what particular pages can help you maximise your chances of doing so.

One of the main mistakes in app design is asking your user to do more than what is required. Whether it be a frustratingly long sign-up or checkout process or when you just can’t find that particular product in a sea full of others. These have the power to deter a user all together. We found that the following link provides some great examples on frustrating user scenarios – https://theresaneil.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/ux-fail-part-1/

Like any projects there’s always the possibility of complications. In the world of app development, complications most commonly arise whilst it’s being built. Adding and removing content whilst your app is being coded can be time consuming which may lead to you incurring additional agency time and costs. Time which could be spent testing and fine-tuning your already well thought-out project…

The key point here however is to have fun with your app wireframes. Feel free to get as creative as possible and be open to suggestions as may give you additional ideas going forward. If the agency can’t provide a match for the functions you’re after, chances are they’ll be able to provide realistic alternatives which still aim to facilitate the same purpose(s) that you had in mind in the first place.

Important Points:

  • Make sure you know exactly what it is that you want to achieve in your app
  • Try and think of every page of your app and make a note of them
  • Don’t assume that something can be done instantly halfway down the line as this can lead to additional costs
  • App prototyping should be creative – this is your chance to shine!

To see this article on Mobile Marketing Magazine’s online platform, click here.

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