If you are reading this, you are probably ready to start working on the Mobile App idea you have had in mind. If so, you have arrived at the right place!
Wireframing for mobile apps is a great way to get a good idea of what your app will look like before you invest all of the time, brainstorming, and creativity into it. It's a great way to see what the layout will look like and get a head start on the design. Here are some of the key aspects to think about when wireframing for a mobile app: Target demographic, function and purpose of the app, limitations of the device and/or platform, and any assumptions that were made.
What is Wireframing for Mobile Apps?
Wireframing is a way to visually represent the skeleton of an app or website. It can be as simple as a hand-drawn sketch or as detailed as a computer-generated wireframe.
Wireframing is an important early step in app development because it helps to visualize the app's structure and functionality. This can help to ensure that the app is well-conceived and that all necessary features are included. It can also help identify potential problems and conflicts early in the development process.
Wireframing for mobile apps involves creating low-fidelity sketches of the app's screens and interactions. This can be done with paper and pencil or with a software program like Adobe Photoshop or Sketch.
Wireframing Best Practices
Starting directly with App Wireframe would seem tempting, but there are other crucial steps you must follow before starting your UI designs. Here are some best practices to design a mobile app that is not just aesthetically pleasing but also user-friendly and functional.
1. Know your users
When designing a mobile app, it is important to understand your users and their needs. Who are your users? What do they want from your app? What are their goals?
Your users may be different depending on the app you are designing. For example, if you are designing a banking app, your users may be adults who want to manage their finances. If you are designing a messaging app, the users may be teenagers who want to stay in touch with their friends.
Knowing your users is essential to designing a successful app. This information will help you determine the features and functionality your app should have.
The best way to achieve this is by creating User Personas for your different kinds of users. Our User Persona PowerUp in MockFlow lets you create multiple profiles with custom categories like their technology preferences, the challenges they face, and anything which may define them clearly for you!
One way to do user research is to conduct interviews with users. In these interviews, ask users about their current app usage habits and what features they would like to see in a new app. You can also observe users interacting with existing apps to better understand how they use them.
Another important part of user research is market research. This involves studying the competition and understanding what other apps are doing well (and what they’re doing wrong). It’s also important to understand what users are looking for in a mobile app and what trends are emerging in the mobile app market.
Once you understand user needs and wants, it’s time to start designing the app.
2. Map Out the User Flow
User flows are an essential aspect of designing apps. They determine the path your user will take to reach their goal and ensure that the process is intuitive.
Start by mapping out the main screens of your app. This will help you see how the screens interact and give you a better idea of the overall flow.
Once you have mapped out the main screens, you can start filling in the user flow details. This includes the user's steps to navigate from one screen to the next and the actions they will take on each screen.
It's important to keep the user's goal in mind while designing the flow, and you should always test it to ensure it's user-friendly.
There are a few different ways to map out your user flow:
1. Flowchart: A flowchart is a great way to map out the user flow for a more complex app. It lays out all the possible steps a user can take to reach their goal and can help you identify any potential problems.
2. Storyboard: A storyboard is a great way to map out the user flow for a simpler app. It lays out the steps the user will take in the order that they will take them, and it can help you to identify any potential problems.
3. Mind Map: A mind map is a great way to map out the user flow for a very simple app. It lays out the user's steps in a very simple, linear fashion.
A simple way of making User Flow is by creating a flowchart with the Flowchart UI pack inside MockFlow, or you could also use the Storyboard power-up from the MockStore or just sketch it out on the blank canvas with the basic shapes.
Making user flow will also help you decide how many pages you need to wireframe, the content you need for each of these pages, and link those pages later to determine the flow. You can also present it to all the stakeholders at this stage and seek feedback. Bring on those recommendations and implement them right there so you finalize the structure and not make wireframes for the pages you may not need later.
3. Gather your content
Now that you know your users and how they will achieve the set goal inside the App, the next step is to move toward gathering the data for each page. You will require textual and graphical elements to create an engaging experience for your users.
Mapping out this requirement at this stage will also help the other team members, like content writers and graphic designers, get started with their respective works to save time. When everyone is doing their jobs in parallel, there is merely a chance you will lose out on a critical aspect, i.e., timelines!
Power-ups like UX documentation and Data Layout help you build content for your Wireframes and insert those wireframes directly inside your documentation. For design files like images/videos, you could bring them to your design space and use features like versioning and approvals to collaborate with your team. Bring content writers, graphic designers, and your other UI designers to your design space in MockFlow so that you all work together and never go out of sync!
4. Create Low-fidelity wireframes for your mobile app
Low-fidelity wireframes are sketches of an app's interface that help you plan the app's layout and functionality. They are less detailed than high-fidelity wireframes, which are more like finished drawings.
Why use low-fidelity wireframes? Low-fidelity wireframes are a great way to start planning an app because they are quick and easy to create and can help you better understand how the app will work.
The details arrived at during the User Flow stage come in handy while starting with the low-fidelity wireframes.
1. Begin by sketching out your app's basic layout. Draw rectangles to represent different screens, and indicate which are linked together.
2. Add more detail to your wireframes by drawing specific interface elements. For example, if you're designing a login screen, you might add a text field and a button.
3. Use different colors and line weights to help differentiate different types of information. For example, you could use a thicker line to represent the outline of a screen and a thinner line to represent text.
4. When you're finished, you should have a clear idea of how your app will look and function. You can then use these wireframes to create high-fidelity mockups.
Due to the small screen size of mobile devices, it is important to keep screen elements as concise as possible. Use simple, concise text and avoid filling the screen with unnecessary images and text.
Use the exact screen dimensions at the low-fidelity wireframing stage to avoid changes later. If you are using MockFlow, you have an option to set the page size to a specific device dimension so that you can design without worrying about exceeding screen size. Duplicate pages and change the page size to other devices to check compatibility.
5. Brainstorm with the team and make your designs better
Designing a mobile app is a creative process that takes time, effort, and brain juice. Sometimes it's hard to muster up the creativity to come up with new ideas or to see the design from a different perspective. This is where team brainstorming comes in handy.
By getting together with your team and hashing out ideas, you can develop better designs faster. Not to mention, it's a lot more fun to work on something when you're collaborating with others. So, the next time you find yourself struggling with a design, or just need a fresh perspective, try brainstorming with your team. You'll be surprised at how much better your designs will be.
Check out this article which explains why collaboration is important and the collaboration-related features inside MockFlow.
6. High-Fidelity wireframes
Creating a high-fidelity wireframe is getting you one step closer to making your mobile app. This is because you will focus on the details and ensure that every screen and interaction is accounted for. Some tips for creating high-fidelity wireframes:
- Include as much detail as possible, including text, images, and interactions.
- Make sure that all screens and interactions are accounted for.
- Use fonts, colors, and other design elements to create a polished and professional look.
Creating high-fidelity wireframes can be time-consuming, but it is worth having a clear idea of what the final product will look like. MockFlow's library of ready-made UI packs for iOS and Android devices can help you save time and focus on the important aspects of your design.
7. Prototyping your mobile app
Prototyping helps you give you the natural feel of how your App will interact with its users without putting in any coding effort because a good user experience is what we are trying to deliver here.
Add events and gestures and apply transitions between screens to see your App in action.
8. Time to Test!
User testing is a good way to collect feedback from actual (to-be) app users. You can use this feedback to improve the usability of your app and make it more user-friendly. User Testing at the design stage allows you to refine any further UI/UX changes before handing it off to development.
There are different ways to take up the user testing - hire users specifically for the test, share the test link among a public group, or get your friends on board.
Different tools are available specifically for User Testing like UsabilityHub, Maze, etc. MockFlow also offers a simple user testing power-up where you can use the wireframes already created directly to create your user tests.
9. Hand it off to development
Your App is almost there! Designs are done. The only remaining thing is to hand it off to the development team.
The design files and specs will be needed for the developers to begin coding the app. This includes the design mockups and a detailed description of all the screens and functionality.
In addition, a style guide should be created to outline all the colors, fonts, and other design elements used in the app. This will help to ensure that the app has a consistent look and feel across all of its screens.
Choose the Right Tools
There are numerous tools in the industry that you can use for creating wireframes for your mobile app. It depends on your preferences and what you are most comfortable with. Some of the most popular wireframing tools include Balsamiq, MockFlow, UXPin, and Figma.
When selecting a tool, consider the features that are important to you.
Ease of Use: Wireframing tools should be easy to use, so you can focus on creating wireframes, not on learning how to use the tool.
Feature Set: Consider the features that are important to you, such as the ability to create wireframes for mobile apps, the ability to create wireframes for web apps, the ability to create wireframes for desktop apps, or the ability to create wireframes for prototypes.
Price: Some wireframing tools are free, while others have a price tag. Consider the price of the tool and whether it is within your budget.
With MockFlow, every step of this guide would seem like an easy-going flow right from start to finish. If you haven't tried MockFlow yet, sign up for a free account and start wireframing.