How to Turn Your Ideas into an App: The Designer's Edition

In this post, we're going to take you on a journey through the fundamentals of mobile app design, specifically for the creative types out there. This way, you can carry them with you while you begin the process of designing no-code apps. Then, we'll get into some no-code services that designers can't live without. 

Let's get into it!

The principles of mobile app design

1. Navigation and discovery

The first core principle of mobile app design is navigation and discovery. And like so many facets of design, "ease" is the name of the game

At every stage and page of your mobile app, you want to make sure that it's as easy as possible for users to find and access what they're looking for. Menus should be clear and organised, going back to the previous section should be available at all times. 

Additionally, conveyance is critical to mobile app design. Conveyance refers to how easily a user can look at your app and understand the function, hierarchy, and features within it. If your app's conveyance doesn't flow naturally, then users will struggle to use it and move on. 

Conveyance - How easily your users can identify and understand your apps function

2. Fast, smooth performance

Making your app as fast and smooth as possible might sound obvious. This is something every designer strives for, so why bother mentioning it?

Because unlike designing for the desktop, where users are generally tied to a physical location, mobile users are oftentimes in a rush. They might be using your app at a grocery store, restaurant, at a stoplight, or during their morning run. 

If your app routinely seizes or lags, you'll find it almost impossible to retain your users. As a designer, you've likely considered performance in all of your designs. But if you want to wear the hat of a developer, even to design an app without code, performance is going to need to be a top priority

3. Understanding and facilitating user goals

Once you have the fundamentals underway (performance, navigation, and discovery), the next element of mobile app design you want to turn your attention to is the facilitation of user goals. 

Goal-oriented design means predicting how users are going to use your app, what they're going to want to accomplish, and then making it as easy as possible for them to accomplish those goals. 

To understand your users' goals, you can think about why someone would be downloading your app — or you could just ask them. That's what user testing and surveys are for!

After you know what your users want, facilitation is key. For instance, if users need to register an account to use your app, what are some things you can do to make this easier?

  • Embrace proprietary sign-in options (sign-in with Google, sign-in with Apple, etc.)
  • Verify the user's account asap
  • Get all of the account info you need upfront

Remember, every app (games, eCommerce, productivity, self-care, etc.) is going to have unique user goals. What works for one type of app might not work for another!

4. Design for the hand

Lastly, designers looking to create an app without code will need to design for the hand. Designing for the hand is one of the most important components of mobile app design because, after all, your app is going to be used by a person's hand. That means point-and-click and keyboard design elements will need to be tweaked or abandoned. 

When you start to approach mobile app design from the hand, some key changes will emerge. 

First, the most critical elements will move from the top of the screen to the bottom. This way, they can easily be tapped by the thumb.

Second, buttons and links will need to be big enough to be tapped by a fingertip. 

And third, phone screens are much smaller than desktop screens! That means text needs to be bigger and more sparse. Try to convey everything with iconography and hierarchy first, using text whenever it's necessary. 

Mobile app design will need to be designed for the users hand. Keyboard, point-and-click, spacing, sizing and location of icons will have to be designed for your users hand.

No-code tools to design and create an app without code

With design principles out of the way, it's time to get into the apps and platforms that will allow you to design an app without code. Bear in mind that these are just to help you get started. By the end of your no-code process, you may need a few other services to round everything out. 

Bravo Studio: A simple mobile app builder with complex layers

Bravo Studio is an excellent tool for designers who want to create an app without code. Similar to platforms like SquareSpace, it's a WYSIWYG mobile app builder. That means that as you type, drag-and-drop, and colour the visual elements of your website, you're simultaneously building functionality. 

The Bravo Studio platform allows you to build for both iOS and Android, which is a must for the no-code era. In addition to making it easy to build an app from the aesthetics down, it also has more complex features like linking to back-end data via API. 

Webflow: The evolution of drag-and-drop web builders

While platforms like SquareSpace have done a great job of launching the no-code movement, many of these platforms are costly and limited in their functionality. It was only a matter of time before a service like Webflow was built to provide an affordable, robust no-code solution. 

And that's exactly what Webflow is. It has more features, flexibility, and customisation than nearly any other WYSIWYG web builder. It's used by businesses like Zendesk, Upwork, and Dell, to give you an idea of how solid it is. If you want to add your own creativity and do more than choose between different themes, it's the platform for you. 

Unstack: A no-code marketing platform 

With tools to build web-based and mobile apps without code, the last thing we're going to suggest is Unstack. Unstack is a no-code platform for marketing. It allows you to publish web content, perform split testing, offers full-funnel analytics, and tons of data integrations. Design an app without code, and then use Unstack to tell people about it. 

Put your design skills to work and build an app without code today

Ready to try out these platforms and learn more about the fundamentals to design an app without code? Check out the rest of the resources here at NoCode.tech.

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