How to Dodge Mobile App Design Failure

by | Jan 26, 2016 | Apps, Mobile, Web design

You design crisp, user-friendly apps on a regular basis. But what about when mobile app design is a colossal failure? It may never happen to you as a designer, but it could – and we know you want to avoid the situation at all costs.

How can you best dodge mobile app design failure? Let’s first take a look at the fundamental reasons why mobile app design may break down:

1.Lack of agreement between client and design team on the purpose and/or execution of the mobile app

2. The mobile app was built on agency or designer’s ideas, not on the user base; or, users were not involved enough in the process

3. Pre-launch testing was too short, or not detailed enough

4. There’s too much of a technical design focus; not enough focus on the user experience

Ensure that you won’t go through these mobile app design fails with your client. Take the following steps to make sure:

  1. Don’t move forward unless you’re crystal clear on expectations – both from the IT and user side.

Establish protocol for an initial creative or discovery session or sessions with your clients, followed by the expectation to maintain a consistent line of communication throughout the project on both sides. Asking questions and making sure both parties are clear on what’s expected and what’s being developed are key. You’ll also win your client over in the customer service department.

  1. With that said, don’t take another step until you’re clear who the user is and what they are looking for in the app – both from the experience perspective and the practicality perspective.

Your discovery sessions better spend a lot of time on the most important piece of creating the mobile app – who is the user, what are they looking for in the app, and what is the user trying to achieve? Although you’re a designer, you should also have the wherewithal to think like the end user – from aesthetics to function.

  1. Prioritize what must be added to the app – and what’s not as important

Perhaps every feature on the wish list can’t be attended to. Don’t disappoint the client after the fact; make sure that you are completely aware of what is essential to the app design – and what isn’t – so there aren’t any surprises later. This is another spot where communication is absolutely key.

  1. Create a storyboard to ensure success

Set the app up for success. Create a storyboard; draw and/or write out the entire mobile app process so you know what’s missing and what hadn’t been considered before. Just like the discovery sessions, the storyboard exercise will ensure that you are attending to every single detail of the mobile app – even before you build it. This is protecting your investment and your client’s!

  1. Determine what will measure success

How do you know that your client will be satisfied? Set expectations of success from the outset – both regarding the project itself, and what happens afterwards. Guide your clients, if needed, to envisioning what success is and isn’t. Are their expectations too high? Do they know what success means? Determining what your client sees as mobile app success, what the end user views as success, and what you see as success, could be three totally different things.

The Takeaway – Those Who Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

If you make sure you’re addressing expectations on the front end, you’ll better your chances of triumph at the end of the project – and beyond. What’s more, your professionalism throughout the entirety of the project could be the difference between a long-term client and a bad review.

If you do fail on a mobile app project – make sure you own up to it! Do what you need to do to satisfy your client, but do protect yourself in your contracts so there won’t be any additional surprises for either of you at the end.

Winston Churchill uttered the famous words, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” This is a nugget of wisdom we take with us every day as designers, and we hope you do too! Remember to plan ahead, check all of your boxes, and you will diminish your chances of mobile app failure considerably.

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101 West Broadway, Suite 300
92101 CA, San Diego