Getting your design correct is vital during the app development stage. With millions available in the market you only get one opportunity to ‘wow’ your users and keep them on board, whether these be your employees, customers or stakeholders. Failure to do so will ultimately result in unwanted drop-off rates. Fortunately there are multiple steps that you and your app development agency can follow to achieve great UI & UX app design, and create a fantastic mobile experience.

It’s been reported that 90% of mobile users delete an app due to poor performance such as confusing processes and disjointed user-flows, meaning that your UI & UX app design should be placed at the forefront of your development. Our recent project with Explore Thames saw them increase their QOQ downloads by 90% following a complete re-brand, an updated user interface and enhanced user experience, boosting their reputation within the marine industry.

What’s the difference between UI & UX App Design?

Our Head of Design frequently gets asked what differentiates an app’s UI (user-interface) and UX (user-experience). He says:

“UI is the overall look & feel of a mobile app suggested by typography, colourways and graphical elements. UX is an app’s functionality & how the user feels when then they interact with it. Both are vital in producing an immersive mobile app.”

“Using Netflix’s app as an example; Their user interface is clean and minimal so the user can clearly identify the catalogue of programmes on offer without being distracted by unnecessary clutter. The interaction aims to create an effortless experience for the user by employing actions such as viewing suggestions, genre groupings and auto-playing episodes.”

It’s assumed that design is one-part process, however this is a common misconception. It’s a multi-step process to prevent design issues occurring at the earliest possible stage and to avoid publishing an app with a bad mobile experience like these.

From carrying out initial competitor research to forming test groups, here are our 6 steps to follow for a great UI & UX app design.

Competitor Analysis

Achieving a great app design stems from understanding the current trends in your respective market, and is a task that you should carry out at the very start of your project. When creating an app you need to understand what your competitors are doing, and most importantly how their app is performing. Pick your strongest competitors and carefully analyse their strengths and weaknesses.

Look at their App Store reviews and social media platforms to gauge user satisfaction levels (this is important as you’ll be targeting the same demographic). You can even ask people you know for their thoughts on your competitors’ app too for additional feedback.


Moodboarding is a technique used by designers and app development agencies to initiate the UI process. Your app development agency will research current trends and compare market competitors in order to present a range of UI styles including colour palettes, typography and patterns/imagery which best align with your brand and the services your business offers.


The wireframing process allows you to put your competitor analysis and moodboarding into practise. By using online tools your agency can transfer rough hand sketches from meetings into digital mock-ups, allowing you to view screens just like you would on the final version of the app. This is a great way of gaining a thorough insight into the overall look and feel of your app before it’s created.

Another benefit of wireframing is that you’ll be able to see what areas of your app are feasible or not, where designers can also add and remove areas as you continue to refine your idea. For more information on the wireframing process click here for more.


Your app agency will then begin to create your app’s designs for the already created wireframes. Whilst establishing the overall theme and adhering to your official brand guidelines (if applicable), your typical agency will then create the initial version and then revise this through two rounds of amendments, to arrive at the final version. Be open and transparent with your agency regarding your designs. Work together to create the best possible app experience for your users.

A/B Testing

As for any product there will naturally be users that like it and those that don’t. Although this can’t be fully prevented it can be significantly reduced by A/B testing. By testing two different versions of your mobile app. If you’re unsure on which colour, shape or layout to use then send both versions out to a focus group. Then you can  proceed with the option that receives the majority verdict. In turn, A/B testing will ensure that your best possible product is available for download.

Pre-App Store Scoring

The App Store is the most influential platform for mobile app reviews and scores. Therefore it’s imperative that your app displays positive feedback. Although you can’t dictate App Store scores you can get a good indication with pre-app store rating testing. There are providers out there that put together focus groups that match your target demographic. Who will ask them to conduct honest star-rating feedback.

“Testing the UI & UX of a mobile app is an absolute must in order to ensure its success”, says a spokesperson from mobile testing specialists TestBirds. “Crowdtesting gives insights into the minds of the app’s user. Allowing developers to truly understand what their target group wants. While most testing takes place prior to launch, testing the UI & UX of an app should also continue after an app is live to remain competitive”.

As well as receiving scoring feedback these groups can also make other helpful suggestions. Such as changing icons, colours and images where they feel appropriate. In the competitive app market where negative reviews mean lost business, nothing is more valuable than unbiased feedback.

What next…

No matter whether you’re creating an app for your customers or employees, stakeholders or partners, the UI & UX app design requires much consideration. Although each mobile app will have its USP an intuitive design will keep users engaged. And ultimately contribute to your apps success. Is your aim to encourage purchase-making, keep employees engaged or have users read your content? Whatever the aim, think carefully about your goals and how they can be achieved in your apps design.

Our latest article discusses how to approach app design by focusing on the users’ end goal. View this article.

To view our latest projects with the latest UI & UX app design head over to our portfolio page now.

If you’d like to know more about the app design process then we’d love to hear from you. Visit our contact page for more information.