The Enterprise-Friendly Mobile Design Process

by Leah Buley

posted on 01-12-2017

Look around at any restaurant, doctor’s office, or park and you’ll understand how it is that U.S. adults now spend more time on mobile than on their desktop. And the trend of increasing mobile use shows no signs of slowing.

How we engage with brands has changed forever. However, not all brands have changed with the times. To stay relevant in a mobile marketplace, enterprise brands in particular need to learn how to create a mobile design process that can succeed in spite of internal hurdles — red tape, resource allocation, and dispersed teams. To be successful, a mobile design process must balance human vision with focused execution and follow all the steps in between.

Here is a simple outline any enterprise can follow to be on their way to designing successful mobile apps:

Make It Human.

The first step in your mobile design process is to understand the actual experience your customer is going through when engaging with your brand via mobile. By asking the right questions you can define the shared goals of your customers and your brand.

Once you have an understanding of what your mobile app needs to accomplish, move quickly to brainstorm tangible ideas for potential design directions. The best ideas to surface in this process can be used to create prototypes, allowing teams and stakeholders not just to understand the concepts, but to experience them.

Finally, as you aim to make your apps human, create a product road map by naming your North Star. The North Star is your vision for the human experience you want to be able to offer within five years. It should be help you envision the real-life experiences you will unfold over time.

Make It Real.

Now that you’ve gone big with ideas to make your app human and to define its future course, this phase of the process is needed to help you pare back the design to what you will actually develop. Drill down to the needs of your platform, work closely with engineering, and create a minimum viable product (MVP). This process of simplification will help you get to the critical threshold of just enough robustness for users to still receive a complete and satisfying experience.

The next part of reality for a mobile app is making sure that it works well across all the device types and screen resolutions. Iterating in the device is the best way to see how your designs will display and react depending on the different screen sizes.

Working closely with engineering in this phase is, of course, key. The implementation phase introduces new risks, especially in siloed enterprises where design and engineering are often in disconnected work streams. There are several ways to “adopt an engineer” — assign design and engineering buddies, document intended interactions and subtle animations, or even create animation code to be used directly in engineering.

Essentially, the Make It Real phase focuses on your core mobile offering and how to create it by getting rid of the distractions in your design.

Make It Work.

Having a vision and then executing on your ideas are important, but you’re not done until real people have a chance to use the product and give a final reality check on your design. So let them at it. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should send a poor product to market. Rather, start with in-house tests with employees, then enlarge your testers to a beta group. Finally, provide your work to the general market for testing.

With an enterprise-friendly mobile design process you can build a mobile interface that works for your customers, but, in the end, it must also come back around and meet your business goals. Measuring how your mobile app design helps meet those original goals will let you gauge what you are getting for your investment. And it will give you the data you need to start the process over for your next version.

Enterprises that expand their mobile offering can realize huge benefits. Even though you may find that creating a highly engaging, functional mobile design in a large, matrixed organization can have some added challenges, remember you are not alone. Putting in place an enterprise-friendly mobile design process can ease the challenges. And it’s a process that’s worth perfecting now as consumers continue the trend of increasing their mobile usage. To learn more detail and read about real-life examples of the Make It Human, Make It Real, Make It Work process, download our whitepaper on how to increase success with an enterprise-friendly mobile design process.

Topics: Creative Inspiration & Trends, Design

Products: Creative Cloud