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Mobile App UX Priorities: Budget vs. Innovation

One of my favorite times in the mobile application development cycle is when the team does a client technology preview. This occurs after the first mobile app development sprint, and presents the core functionality of the application. This is our chance to show them what our team has done so far, gauge the clients’ reaction, and determine a baseline for what needs to be done next. One of the main focus points of the client technology preview is the user experience/UX design.

What we have noticed when we present the first iteration of mobile app design, there are two distinct processes needed for different kinds of clients. There are clients who are concerned with the efficiency of the mobile app (and therefore with budget) and clients who are concerned with innovation (look and feel) of the app. Depending on the type and need of client, we choose to present different previews. Our hope with these two processes is that we drill down on the critical needs of each client, and adapt to suit their needs. Let’s break down these two processes and why they work for each individual client.

Budget concerned, efficiency driven

These are the kinds of clients that are concerned with keeping budget at the forefront. This definitely occurs more often than not, so we have nailed this process. For the client technology preview, the best method is to strip the mobile app design down to basic functionality, making sure that we focus on the user experience design. This means that we are taking the design one step beyond wireframe design; it is actual code we are demonstrating. The mobile team also removes most of the look and feel of the application.

This helps the clients see the application functionality, without having style-considerations to make. People often get bogged down by style considerations, and not on the excellent user experience design needed to make the app successful. This wastes retainer time, and ultimately uses up budget quickly. Stripping the look and feel away lets them see the application in pure functionality form. Look and feel is very important, but for budget-concerned clients it is better presented later on.

Innovation concerned, look and feel driven

This process is for clients less concerned with budget, and more focused on creating a mobile app that is innovative in the marketplace, and very concerned with how the app will look. For the client technology preview, we present color comps, mockup screens and make certain to spend a lot more time on not only the aesthetic of the mobile application, but also how we will make it innovative.

This helps the client focus on making sure innovation and excellent graphic design is involved from the get-go, and helps them know that their priorities are met. Once the look and feel elements of user interface design are met, then the mobile app developers can introduce the functional layer. It tends to be more important for them to use their retainers toward the innovation portion, before nailing the functionality.

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Because we have developed over 35 mobile applications we have tried to really drill down these processes to make them efficient for our clients. Making efficient processes is the way that we can really serve the needs of our clients’ best, whether that be creating a project under budget or creating the new top downloaded app on the App Store

About the Author

Lisa Calkins, Amadeus Consulting's CEO and Co-Founder, is also the Director of Creative Services. Lisa is dedicated to the infusion of creativity into every aspect of Amadeus Consulting, including our custom software application design.

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