Front-end UI Development – Rapid Prototyping and Understanding How To Use Paper And Pencil
Keeping Your Design Simple. Start with a design that delivers on your 30 second pitch of your business idea. If you don’t have a 30 second pitch, you need to pass GO and go write out your pitch with your team first, then come back and work on your design. Note that the mock-up doesn’t need to work, but drives you down the path of having a better understanding of what the buttons do, what the layouts look like and hopefully simplifies version one of your app to avoid scope creep while trying to pump out your minimal viable product (MVP). A great resource for mobile design patters is this website: http://mobile-patterns.com/
Make The Job Easy For Your Developer. How do you make your developer love you? Give them a single set of deliverables to work towards and let them go. Getting the user interface (UI) finished first means that you can hand off the artwork to the developer to complete the application back-end without worrying about how the UI and code ties together because the developer now only needs to apply the UI “skin.” If you are finding that you need to make changes to the UI layout because either you or your developer notice something missing, you need to go back to the drawing board and flush the design out more.
Get a Teddy Bear to Review Your Design. Here is perhaps one of the funniest descriptions of code/design review I have seen by Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike: “Another effective technique is to explain your code to someone else. This will often cause you to explain the bug to yourself. Sometimes it takes no more than a few sentences, followed by an embarrassed “Never mind, I see what’s wrong. Sorry to bother you.” This works remarkably well; you can even use non-programmers as listeners. One university computer center kept a teddy bear near the help desk. Students with mysterious bugs were required to explain them to the bear before they could speak to a human counselor.”
Tools of the Trade. If you really, really want to use your laptop to sketch out your application, here is a short list of favorite tools:
The Psychology of User Interaction and App Design. Finally, as you go about designing your mobile app, remember to keep in mind the following design considerations:
- user psychology and their platform preferences
- button sizes
- infinite scrolling
- chronological order
- server response times for specific UI implementations
- limitations of HTML versus Native Apps
If you have a particular favorite tool or article that you think others should know about, please post back, tweet at me or email me with a website and why you like to use that particular product.