Posts

What is practical design?

Is your app designed for practicality?

Cover Image Source: material.io

As a kid, I remember being so excited to use my new Gameboy. Going to the shops, bringing it home and opening it up.

But then hit with the worst realisation. I have to wait for it to charge.

Charging always took forever. It probably felt like forever, because I sat there staring at it.

Image Source: amazon.com – Not exactly practical.

But nowadays, everything you buy comes charged. Its usable straight out of the box.

That is practical design.

Design for usability. If you’re here you may be looking at getting an app made.

Designing it practically should be front of mind when you design it.

Examples;

Confused? Let me show you a few examples of practical design.

Image Source: uber.com

Take Uber for example. The taxi industry wasn’t a great one. But if you’ve ever caught a taxi, you’ll know that. It didn’t hold the drivers accountable. The drivers could be late, or not show up. They didn’t have to keep their actions in check.

Until Uber came around. Uber (for those living underground) is a ride sharing app. It allows everyone to be a taxi driver. Uber holds the driver AND rider accountable, by reviewing each other.

It’s designed for usability, for both parties.

Image Source: play.google.com

How about Netflix. Netflix is a video streaming service.

Netflix realised the time of gathering around the TV at 7.30 to watch your favourite show was over. It’s impractical, no one has time for that. The ability to watch what you want, whenever you want. No waiting week by week for the next episode. It’s just there, ready for you. It’s obviously working as Netflix has more US subscribers than Cable TV.

Netflix was designed for usability.

Some designs to avoid:

Image Source: bresslergroup.com – If it needs an assistant to be used, it’s not practical.

Image Source: au.pinterest.com – I think I’ll take the stairs. Make it obvious.

Design Thinking

If you haven’t already read it, we have a blog on design thinking, here. But just briefly, Design Thinking is consumer-centric design. Designing with the customer in mind.

To do so, companies put themselves in the consumer’s shoes. They run experiments and surveys to see how consumers react.

Image Source: struber.com.au

There are many tools you can really use to know your consumer. Like user personas and customer journeys. A user persona digs into how the average user of your product or service behaves like.

A customer journey is a journey your consumer goes through to get your product. We have a blog describing them and other design service tools, here. If you follow design thinking, it’ll be easier to design your app for usability.

Practical Design and Apps

Practicality has been thought of in every screen of the app. It has to be thought of in how the app is used, how it flows.

If the app doesn’t make sense, you’ll likely lose users.

Points to consider for the design:

Keep the design consistent

  • Changing the design from screen to screen will likely confuse a user. This could lead to them not wanting to use your app!

Make sure your screens are uncluttered

  • Cluttered screens are bad for your app for a few reasons. A cluttered screen is hard to use. Buttons should be big and obvious. Easy to find and press. If you have to use the corner of your fingernail to press something, you should reconsider your design.
  • Not only that, but a cluttered screen is just unpleasant to look at! You should learn about ‘Whitespace’. Whitespace is required as it offers visual breathing room to your designs.

Make sure the app flows well

  • When designing the apps’ user interface, consider their experience. What makes sense? If you were designing a game, would you open the app straight into the game? Probably not. A user would want a menu and some options.
  • How does the user think something should work?

Choose the right colour scheme for your app

  • Make sure the text is readable! Putting fluro yellow text on a white background is very hard to read. Actually, just don’t use fluro yellow at all. Or maybe any fluro colours.
  • Also generally, don’t use an image as your background. It makes text that is over it hard to read.

I know it’s just scraping the surface of practical design for apps. But it’s just for readability. Going into detail about app practical design may be a little boring. Or not, it might be a future blog. Who knows!

If you have any questions about practical design, feel free to ask in the comments. Or maybe there is a design you really like, let us know!

Have you been curious about getting an app made? Visit the Launchpad Quote page, let us help you make the app you’ve had stuck in your head!

Have you experienced Virtual Reality? If you’re unsure as to what it is, we have a blog, here!

Amazons Internet Jungle

Amazon has a complex internet “jungle”. Curious to explore it?

Amazon and their Internet of Things.

Cover Image: techcrunch.com

Amazon is one of the biggest players in the IoT. This is because Amazon is creating devices, platforms and ways to connect. Amazon seems like they aren’t going to miss a beat on the IoT. If you are unsure what the Internet of Things is, please check out our other blog.

 

Image Source: techcrunch.com

Image Source: techcrunch.com

Amazon Echo

Let’s start with Amazon devices that you can buy today. Devices like Amazon’s Echo device. Amazon’s Echo device is a home assistant. I have no doubt you’ve heard of these home assistants. Google has one and Apple is working on one. These devices listen for your voice. So, whenever you say something, it listens and responds accordingly.

 

Much like Apple’s assistant Siri, Amazon named their assistant, Alexa.  You can ask Alexa anything. Well, almost anything. Alexa can answer your questions through the Google search engine. She can read you news, books and information like the weather. She can play music on request, message or call through your phone. Amazon’s Alexa can connect to all your smart devices, like your TV and lights. It’d be as simple as saying “Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights”. Or “Alexa, open the pod bay doors”.  Very futuristic.

 

Amazon has partnered with businesses to take this even further! Through Alexa, you can order a pizza or an Uber. However, the Echo’s reach is limited. Amazon has realised this and has released the Echo Dot. The Echo Dot adds the Echo to whatever room it is in. So, walking around the house, Alexa can help.

 

Additionally, Amazon released Echo devices with cameras. To be used for videos calls and more. Like being used get a visual representation of your requests. For example, “what does ‘X’ look like?”. The newest Echo device was created just for Fashion. It was made to take daily photos of what you’re wearing. With those photos, it rates the outfit for you.

Image Source: http://blog.wink.com/wink-blog

Amazon IoT Platform

 

Amazon connects all these products and services using their IoT platform. According to Amazon, it can support billions of devices. And from those devices, trillions of messages!

 

The messages come from your devices and go to the cloud, then to a connected device. The messages are like signals, or instructions. Messages like button presses from the Amazon Dash. Or messages from the Echo telling your lights to turn on. These messages are sent safely and securely. Stopping people from hacking into your home!

 

Think of what an IoT hacker could do, control your lights, fans and order you food!

 

Personally, I think this sounds like a great way to live more efficiently. Just don’t let Alexa know you’re going to disconnect her.

Image Source: aws.amazon.com/iot-platform/

Amazon Dash

 

The next Amazon device is the already mentioned Amazon Dash. The Amazon Dash is a button when pressed fulfils an order. It’s as simple as that.  You press a button and it’s added to your shopping list and sent to you.  

This could be dangerous for animals and children, so I’d keep this out of reach. As it could be pressed out of curiosity or accident. It’d be a dream to have an unlimited chocolate button as a kid. So maybe keep the Amazon Dash to boring stuff. Or don’t, whatever, it’s your money.

 

What’s cool about the Amazon Dash, is that you can buy pre-made ones. Buttons that are made for a certain product. But you can also create programmable Dash devices. You can place buttons around your home that serves a certain purpose. For example, a button to call or alert someone. A button to order a service like a standard pizza order. A button to turn something on or off, like a light. Revolutionary!

Image Source: themanufacturer.com

Amazon Connections

 

As the IoT grows, it will need connections beyond WiFi. This is because WiFi has a limited range. Amazon is reportedly partnering with the Dish network. The aim of the partnership is to create a 5G network. This network will connect anything and everything.  The network gives Amazon drones the ability to go anywhere in the network’s range. Potentially littering the sky with drones.

Image Source: amazon.com

 

Do any of these devices interest you? Or do you already own one or more?

 

Have you got an app idea that can integrate into the IoT?

 

Please visit the Launchpad quote page. Where we can turn your idea into a unique, successful app.

 

For more information on drone covered skies and having your home hacked. Read our other blogs on the Internet of Technology.

Or read our blog on tech trends, like the Internet of Things.

 

How to get ahead in your design process.

A shortlist of the best tools used in the design thinking process.

To help your design thinking process, which you can (and should) start using them today. Use these design service tools to make you’re creating what your customer wants.

Personas

 

What is a Persona?

A Persona is a general idea of your customers. Create as many or as few customer personas as yoseu believe you need. A Persona will include a variety of different things. But for the customer buying personas include a list of various things. Start by giving them a bio, goals, frustrations and motivations. Give them a quote, brands they like and their preferred channels of advertising.

How to use them?

Create a persona so you have an idea of who you’re creating for. Use your personas to predict how an audience will react to situations. Or how the customer will react to a new product, service or for you, an app. Empathise with the customer. Observe the context of their lives. Engage with them. And experience what they experience. Otherwise, you won’t know what your design does for them.

Why should you use them?

Personas will help you create a design that’s accepted and enjoyed. Use Personas to accurately create content that your buyer will enjoy.

If you use any of these tools, I would recommend Personas above all else. This is because they will give you a clear picture of what your consumer/s look like.

Want to keep reading? I’d recommend this VIEO blog.

If you wish to use the same Persona template as us. Check out: https://app.xtensio.com/.

Xtensio is easy to use and free!

 

Customer Journeys

 

What is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey is an experience in purchasing anything. What does the customer go through to get the app you designed on their phone?

How to use them?

To create a successful app, look at the Customer Journey you’ve created. Or hopefully, will create.

Your Customer Journey should answer a series of questions, for example:

How does the customer discover your product?

  • Example: They have no way of discovering us apart from through the app store. We improved this by introducing social media advertising. And/or a referral program.

What do they experience in the purchase of your service?

The customer will experience excitement using our product. This is because they believe it will solve a certain problem. How can you capitalise on that, or keep that level of excitement going?

What points in the purchasing process can you lose your customer?

  • Example: They experience a pain point as the registration is tedious. How can you minimise that?

Why should you use them

Creating a Customer Journey for your Personas helps you. It shows you how to create a design to fit into their purchasing journey.

Customer Journeys help you identify problems and opportunities. Points in the user experience in which customers would be most susceptible to giving feedback. Knowing what your customer goes through, you can plan a wide range of this for your app. Like general content, what the app will look like in ‘x’ amount of years.  How you should change it to keep ahead of the curve.

Image Source: Pinterest

Try filling in your own:

Moments of Truth

 

What is a Moment of Truth?

Say you go to the shops to get a chocolate bar. You saw many different bars, what made you choose the one you chose? That is a moment of truth.

The moments of truth are the moments a customer goes through to make a purchase.

The 4 Moments of Truth:

  • The Zero Moment, credited to Google. It’s the moment a consumer has realised they want something. They begin to research and collect information on it.
  • The First Moment is the moment a consumer sees your product face-to-face. It’s the make or break purchasing moment.
  • The Second Moment is the post purchase moment. The moment they realise they were or weren’t sold what they feel promised to.
  • The Ultimate Moment is the final moment. The moment a consumer decides to advocate or criticise your product. If they were or weren’t sold what they believed promised. What will they do? Tell their friends, tell social media or post reviews. This moment is important, you have to be ready to respond. You can thank the customer, or try to change their mind.

How to use them?

 

Make sure to use all 4 moments for creating your app.

Consider:

  • What will consumers find online? Will it be positive?

Put lots of information online. Don’t leave the consumer feeling like it’s an unknown product. Give away the app to reviewers, consumers look to reviewers for advice.

  • Will it stand out in the app store?
  • Does your copy, or even your apps icon stand out? Is it enough to sell the app?
  • Will consumers be happy with their purchase and experience?
  • Did you give the consumers what you promised? Will consumers advocate or criticize your app?
  • Did the app go above or below expectations? Are you ready to deal with the outcomes?

Why should you use them?

These moments are crucial in recognition and research. Test facing the product in person. Test the purchase, experience and customer advocacy or criticism. Keep these moments in mind during your design period. Because it will help your product or service stand out in the moments. Standing out in these crucial moments could be everything to your business.

Image Source: Daily Tech

What now?

Think about it. Today more products and services exist on the market than ever before. For you to ignore design thinking, puts you at a disadvantage. Design something that gives the user a hassle free, pleasant experience. From that, your company will likely generate loyalty and advocacy. You should absolutely take advantage of it. Don’t forget how important customer loyalty and advocacy is.

Follow these steps to create your app. Create an app that will have greater success and preference by your customers. As they will feel that you made it for them!

So get started, you have no reason to leave this out of the design process. Every year, companies release apps that could be better consumer targeted.

Want to know the psychology of your customers?

Check out our upcoming blog. It dives into the reason behind customer wants and needs. We will explain what Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is, and how you should use it.

Or visit the Launchpad quote page, if you have a brilliant idea for an app. Launchpad wants to help you create a unique, successful app.

6 Step Guide to Designing Your Very First Mobile App

Did you wake up with a creative idea for the perfect mobile app? One that nobody else has thought of, and that you are certain will be the next Uber or Airbnb?

The only problem is, you are unsure on how to even begin designing and building an app! Never fear! We at Launchpad App Development have developed a brief guide on the 6 key steps that will bring your mobile app from idea to smartphone screens everywhere.

1. Define your goal.

It all starts with an idea. Having a “Great Idea” is the starting point to every successful project. Having a vision of what you want to accomplish at the start is an important benchmark that will confirm whether the development process is heading in the right direction.

 

Before you go straight into it, you must clearly define your app concept. This includes outlining:

  • Your app’s mission and purpose: what is the app going to do
  • Its core appeal
  • The problem is it going to solve, or what part of life is it going to improve

 

Defining a clear goal for the app is also going to help explain your idea to a developer and help move the development process along a lot faster.

2. Research your idea.

While you may believe you have a revolutionary idea, you may get your hopes up a little too quickly.

 

The main purpose of research:

  • Find out if there are other apps that do the same thing on the app stores.
  • Look for design inspiration for your app.
  • Determine the technical requirements for your app.
  • How you can market and monetise your app?
  • Decide whether you want to develop your app on iOS, Android or both.

 

Nonetheless you should not get discouraged by those who play in the same arena. It is essential that you focus on your own app project and your user acquisition. Learn from the core features and mistakes of competing apps, and drop all other assumptions about them.

3. Getting your app out there.

Think about developing a strategy on how you will get your app out onto the market. This shouldn’t be an exact map to take, but you should consider your possible pathways when getting your app noticed by your target market.

To do this, you must determine your niche. Research into how you can reach out to your target user and how you should reach them to make them see the value and use of the app.

Another important consideration is figuring out how your app is going to generate revenue. Will you charge your users to download it? Or will you offer the app for free but with ads? This monetisation model requires a large user base, so consider that as well.

There are various ways to monetise an app and it is up to you to decide on the channel you want to use.

App Developer Melbourne

4. Sketching your app idea onto paper.

By developing sketches you are laying the foundation for your future user interface. In this step you visually conceptualise the main features and the approximate layout of your app.

Having the first rough sketch of your app helps everyone on your team understand the mission. Use these sketches as a point of reference for the next phase of the project.

 

When sketching your app, keep in mind these 4 questions:

  • What will my Visual Brand Name and Design look like?
  • How will each screen look?
  • What are the size and shapes of various elements?
  • What are the actions users can take from each screen?

 

5. Creating a basic Wireframe and Storyboard for your App.

Wireframing is the process of creating a prototype or mockup of your app. There are a number of prototyping tools online. The most common are, Adobe Experience Design, Lucidchart and InVision.

These programs allow you to not only drag and drop all your representative graphics and placeholders into place, but also add button functionality so that you can click through your app in review mode. However, if you don’t want to pay for a subscription to these programs, you can always hand sketch your wireframes onto paper.

While you are working on your wireframes you should also build a storyboard for your app. The idea is to build a roadmap that will help you understand the flow between each screen and how the user can navigate through your app.

Wireframing

6. Find your self an App Developer you can trust!

When looking for an app development company, you’re really looking for a partner. To make sure you find the right partner for your app, we suggest asking every company a series of exploratory questions:

  • How do they learn to develop new innovations in mobile technology?
  • How do they collect and leverage the data from their previous apps and experiences? What have they learned from working with previous clients?
  • Do they offer the ability to collaborate (pairing their team with yours to develop, design, and test)?
  • Do they follow agile development methodologies (quick iterations, test driven development, constant communication)?

When it comes to agile development, our process at Launchpad is built to encourage innovative planning, adaptive development, rapid delivery, and constant improvement.

From budding entrepreneurs to emerging business, this framework allows us to approach every app with the right mix of technical constraint and creative expression to develop market-leading mobile apps.

So what are you waiting for? To find out how you can launch your very own mobile app, take the first step towards transforming your innovative idea into a successful app!

 

Rocket Icon