Digital Design

App Design

Building digital products that live online or natively in your device’s operating system.

What is App Design?

App design is the process of applying digital design principles to the development of a software application (or ‘app’). It involves defining what you want your app to do and translating that into a visually intuitive, usable and engaging experience. App design considers how users will perceive, use and enjoy the experience of an app.

There are three different kinds of apps:

  1. Native mobile apps operate on mobile devices such as phones, tablets and watches
  2. Desktop apps operate on desktop computers; and
  3. Web apps operate in web browsing environments across desktop and mobile devices.

Frequently asked questions

What is the role of an app designer?

An app designer gathers your business requirements and considers them in the context of how a user will use and experience the app. App designers translate your great ideas into visually intuitive, usable and engaging interactions. Got an idea but feel overwhelmed by how ‘all that tech stuff works’? That’s where we comes to the rescue!

What are the best practices of app design?

Successful apps communicate your goals and engage users in the simplest and most visually pleasing way. Best practices include:

  • A strong purpose
  • Clear navigation and hierarchy
  • Minimal design (one intent per screen)
  • Consistency of experience
  • Small, simple, memorable app icons

What is the difference between a native mobile app and a web app?

There are some key differences between native mobile and web apps and there are good reasons for both.

Native mobile apps are generally more sophisticated than their web cousins. These apps are downloaded through stores like the App Store and Google Play and have access to the system resources of the device on which they operate. A native mobile app may have access to the camera, microphone or contact list on a user’s phone. It also may interact with other applications installed on the phone, such as messages or social media. Native mobile apps can be easily monetised for sale through app stores and tend to run more smoothly.

Web apps ‘live’ on the internet. These apps simply direct users to a web-hosted experience. They can still be downloaded through app stores, but require less frequent maintenance as they don’t need to stay up to date with native mobile operating systems. Users are never required to install updates, and web apps work across devices and platforms.

Our app design process

Stage 1: Discovery

We begin by getting a good understanding of your product and objectives to define its purpose. From there we develop a sitemap to consider all key screens, showing their relationship to each other and determining how the overall navigation and functionality should be structured.

Stage 2: Content

Once we know the purpose of the product and its structure, we will work with you to develop the required content. We then plan the layout of your app using a wireframe to create a visual framework.

Stage 3: Design

From there, we populate the wireframe and style it to reflect your product's brand identity. We present the design in context as a clickable prototype.

Stage 4: Development

Our developers start the coding process to bring your application to life.

Stage 5: Testing

We test your app on a variety of devices and environments, making any necessary fixes or adjustments.

Stage 6: Launch

Once approved, we start the distribution process – getting your app ready for the App Store and Google Play.

About Shorthand

A design studio

Shorthand is a design studio based in Newcastle, Australia. We blend expertise in brand, digital and graphic design to help businesses define and communicate their brand. Our name, taken from the classic writing-system of symbolic abbreviation, represents the fundamentals of our work – distilling the essence of a brand and expressing it visually.

Shorthand was founded by Amanda and Scott Kirkman in 2014, when the pair brought several years of experience at top creative agencies in Melbourne back home to Newcastle. We are a design studio, not an agency. We are intentionally small, favouring quality over quantity. We don’t have account managers or a sales team, so you know you will be working directly with us. We bring our big agency experience to projects of all sizes, partnering with brands from Sydney to San Francisco.

Interested in partnering with us on your next project? Let’s talk!

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