A large part of their ongoing success is because of their design |

A large part of their ongoing success is because of their design

A large part of their ongoing success is because of their design

You’re making progress – and the app seems to be coming together

top apps in each app-store category. It’s not by chance that millions of people regularly use these apps – and spend hundreds of millions of dollars through them. So download all the current billion-dollar apps – Snapchat, Flipboard, Angry Birds, Puzzle and Dragons, Uber, Candy Crush Saga, Instagram, Square, Waze, WhatsApp, Viber, Tango, Pandora and, of course, Hailo. Make sure you’re an expert with other leading apps such as Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, Amazon, eBay. DISCOVER AND COLLECT SCREENSHOTS. It’s helpful to build a collection of

screenshots of your favourite apps and favourite features. It’s your personal library of great designs that you can access at the tap of a button. This ends up being a great resource – and reference library – when you want to build a new feature. A good idea is to store everything on Dropbox: its mobile app is great because it allows you to browse through galleries of screenshots very easily,

A great approach is to trawl two websites in particular – dribbble and

and, of course, it’s super easy to share them as well. A great source of inspiration is pttrns – it’s home to thousands of screenshots. They are wonderfully arranged by ‘feature’ – such as how to create an account, play music, swipe through photos, edit personal information, navigate a map. You can compare instantly across supersuccessful and freshly launched apps. But be careful with what you use as a benchmark: just because they appear on this or that site, it doesn’t mean they’re effective. FUNCTIONAL VERSUS BEAUTIFUL. There is a fine line between beautiful and

functional design. The highest praise is reserved for apps that achieve both. But let’s be 100 per cent clear: functionality should be your number-one priority. WhatsApp is arguably a rather spartan app, and not super-pretty, but it’s damn intuitive, has great performance and always works. Similarly, Snapchat has a simple and uncluttered interface, and, despite requiring you to learn a new behaviour to view a snap (press and hold to view the content while the clock counts down), achieves that goal easily.

Hunting Designers So you have your wireframes sorted out, you know you want a well-designed app, but where do you find a great designer? Designers are elusive creatures who can be hard to recruit at the best of times. The great ones are always booked months in advance; most don’t want a permanent job (they’re happy doing contract work – going from new project to newer project); and, when you do find someone, you usually find that a combination of very strong design opinions and outrageous day rates will make it hard to get the designs you need. I’ve experienced great success with Dribbble (yes, three Bs in its name and in its URL). In fact, that’s where we found Hailo’s head of design. The great thing about these portfolio sites is that you can see a designer’s style, often with a lot of their historic work. Also, Dribbble has added the ability to search for designers who are actively looking for full- and part-time work (and, despite its being a paid-for feature, I thoroughly recommend using it). Once again, I would also suggest checking out AngelList: it attracts the most entrepreneurial cross-section of people, across all areas, whether in design or engineering.

Rapid-Design Prototyping You’ve created some detailed wireframes; you’ve refined them through feedback from your target users; and now you’re working closely with your designer and developers. A number of increasingly simple and yet powerful tools have come onto the market that allow you to make visual designs more interactive than ever before. A great example is . Hailo’s designers used it quite a bit. It gives you the ability – both on the desktop and via an app – to very quickly and cleverly link together screenshots (even rough, quick ones) in a way that makes them clickable – and linked to other screens. Why is this important? A huge part of app design is the interaction – screens are small, and you need to use the ‘real estate’ wisely. Often, less is more. You want to communicate clearly what is happening on a given screen – and you want clear calls to action. You want to remove or clarify anything that is confusing. Tools such as allow you to put a ‘prototype’ app directly into your hands – and you can instantly see online payday loans in WV how it feels and behaves. You can test your ideas without the need to bother with developers – and get meaningful feedback. No software development involved.