Design Thinking 101: Developing Mobile Apps, The Process & Prototyping

Developing Mobile Apps
Developing Mobile Apps

With more and more people using smartphones, the need for mobile app development has increased as well. Just as the packaging of a product is important to beautify a product, mobile apps are incomplete without a right approach in terms of design. It is used to solve problems and build innovative solutions to make the end user’s experience smoother and better.

It is a very tedious process to develop and launch a mobile app in the market. A lot of proper planning and execution strategy goes behind launching a mobile app in the market. Both Android and iOS app development companies are trying to create apps that are user-friendly and more creative.

Mobile Apps Are Synonymous To The Businesses Today

More than 80 percent of the world’s population is a smartphone user. The main reason for which we call our mobile phones smart is the wide array of diverse applications that it offers. According to Mobcoder, the global Internet of Things market is expected to reach $222 billion in 2021, out of which $161 billion will be generated from mobile apps.

The IoT will see steady growth in the coming years with mobile app development leading the way. Mobile users choose to view a product or service online, out of which many prefer to view these products and services on an app. This is why most businesses are now ready to bear the cost to develop an app. With the rise in the usage of smartphones in the coming years, we will also see a rise in businesses making mobile apps.

Design Thinking: The Cool Concept

Simply speaking, design thinking is a human-centric approach that motivates organizations to focus on the consumer’s needs to make a more viable and superior product or service. It encompasses various aspects such as desirability, viability, and feasibility under one spectrum while creating a product or a service. Design thinking doesn’t necessarily concentrate only on design, instead, it can be applied to all the stages of the product development cycle.

The design thinking approach helps organizations solve complicated issues and find easy and simple solutions for consumer’s benefit. It is used to solve and deal with complex problems and find creative and innovative solutions for the clients. This approach is essential for a good user experience in mobile app development and to also understand the needs of the users. It gives new ways to tackle problems.

Importance Of Design Thinking While Developing Mobile Apps

The design thinking approach helps uncover and solve unsaid end-user needs and problems with a creative view. When businesses focus on the consumer’s needs and experience while developing a mobile app, it gives them an edge over their competitors.

This approach is essential for users’ experience as it is a solution based method that helps developers get a clearer picture of what the user needs. It provides designers with innovative ways to deal with issues.

With design thinking, designers can also think about the risks associated with developing and launching new ideas. Mobile App design process steps with design thinking is a cycle, no matter what step you are on, you can always go back, identify challenges and rectify the product.

Each step is correlative in nature, one must consider the previous steps while moving forward in the process.

When applied in the right manner, design thinking can help generate more business in the areas of mobile app development.

The benefits of design thinking approach in app development are as follows:

  • Improved Sales– Mobile applications are user-friendly which makes it easier to reach more people. The end-user will continue to endlessly use your application if the UX is seamless. A bad UI can lead to uninstallation of applications, 39.9% of users uninstalled mobile applications because of an average user experience. It is therefore important to constantly work upon the UI and features of the app.
  • Market Trend- With more and more people using smartphones, mobile apps are the need of the hour and will help generate more popularity for the businesses that develop better mobile apps with a design thinking approach.
  • Customer Friendly- The best part of mobile apps is that customers can easily connect with the companies or brands by using the customer feedback feature on the app. This will help companies right their setbacks easily.
  • Easy Marketing- With the increase in the usage of social media and mobile applications, marketers can now use these platforms to promote their businesses. Mobile applications can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Continual usage of the mobile app also shows customer loyalty and the brand’s standing in the market.

There are two outcomes of using a design thinking approach. The first outcome being that design thinking helps you solve your business problems. The other being that apps that use this approach fail. If there is a lack of clarity on how to successfully use the approach for mobile app development, or a lack of clarity on what the business needs, the mobile app developed is bound to fail in its initial stage.

If this is not implemented properly it may lead to customer dissatisfaction, and they may end up never using the mobile app again. Another reason for failure is organizations expect instant growth and profit. The main secret for a company to succeed while using the approach is to be patient and be resilient in the efforts that they put in even after the launch of the app.

When you have complete knowledge of what the user wants it is easy to keep them happy with a better user experience.

6 Stages Of The Design Thinking Process

Design thinking is developed in three phases: understand, explore and materialize, which are then sub-categorised into 6 different essential elements: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test and implement. The design thinking in software development includes the following stages:

  • Empathize:

Developers need to take their sweet time to research properly. The first step to implement the design thinking process is to empathize with the potential end-users. This requires a proper research methodology to find out the user’s needs and specific demands that lie in the purview of your market. Proper research forms need to be circulated to acquire the required data in order to develop a sustainable mobile app.

  • Define:

With the information collected in the empathize stage, the company needs to identify real problems that the client faces. The company needs to see if these problems match with their hypothesis, and if not, use them to find better answers to multiple problem scenarios.

  • Ideate:

In this stage, the company needs to come up with innovative and creative solutions to the problems. Here there can be a wide spectrum of solutions that can be narrowed down in the later stages. In this stage, the company needs to come up with all possible solutions which can be shortlisted later or could be used for some other project.

  • Prototype:

Here, the company needs to shortlist two or three main ideas from the above-listed solutions. If there is more than one idea, then the company could make groups, and then each team could work on a prototype. Companies shall use Android development tools to build their prototypes.

  • Test:

The prototypes need to be tested for one prototype to be selected or to entirely make a summarized version of all the prototypes based on the potential user’s feedback. The design and the usability aspect of the mobile application need to be tested to select the perfect idea and modify the features to the customer’s liking.

  • Implement:

This approach is used in the early tenure of a business idea. It might as well be a product viability test. Here, the company keeps on improving the product based on customers’ responses.

After this, the company can finally launch its mobile app in the market. The important thing to remember is that the process does not end here.

Customers behave in a volatile manner, their preferences can change at any time, which is why it is necessary for the company to innovate constantly and continue to improve their mobile app constantly to stay in the market for a long time.

It is important to realize that each stage is correlative. If the approach is implemented well enough by companies, it can help them grow their mobile application and their brand at a steady rate.

Summing up

Customers get bored easily which is why companies need to come up with innovative and creative ways to pull their attention towards their product or service. A design thinking approach applied in the right way can modify how any company deals with its business problems and come up with a viable and innovative solution.

User understanding is the most important part of mobile app development along with an innovative design that captivates the user and matches their expectations. All good app development companies build apps based on trust and understanding that lies between a brand and its potential customers.