Skip to content

Create App - Detailed Guide to App UI Design for Mobile App Developers

Complete mobile application development guide to help you design and develop the best-in-class Android and iOS apps

1. Today most of the time is spent consuming digital media on mobile apps.
2. Users spend about 90 percent of their time using applications on mobile devices.
3. Around 85 percent of users prefer native mobile apps on mobile.
4. About 42 percent of mobile sales of Fortune 500 organizations are done through mobile apps.



Mobile App Design

Here we will discuss "What is a mobile interface? and "What are the best mobile app design tools?"  

 Going through the chapter, you will understand, "What is a mobile app wireframe?" and "Why is wireframing of mobile apps important?" 

After understanding the wireframe, we will discuss "What is app prototyping?" and "What's the benefits of app prototyping?"  

These are the aspects that we're going to cover in this section. 


What is the mobile interface? 

A mobile user interface (UI) is a touch-sensitive and graphical display on smartphones and tablets.   

In simple words, it's a software that allows users to communicate with the functions, features, and other controls of the device applications. 

Mobile UI is not the same as you find on desktops. The difference between both can be explained by considering the operating system as an interface among users and hardware. The OS may enable the device to be utilized independently of any User Interface.   

A designer's responsibility is to create the UI that meets user requirements and make the experience satisfying and pleasing for the users.   

To make an attractive user interface, designers need to jump further into the particulars of mobile applications.  

User interface design is an essential part of an application. A perfect mobile user interface design should have useful functions and should be easy to use.  

Know about testing UI, Android UI, best practices, and much more on mobile user interface here.  


What is a mobile app design? 

When an app is built, developers look at the functionality process, whereas designers focus on making the app good in looks and feel.  

Mobile application designing involves planning than determining what fonts and colors are used for the interface. Deciding the further designing aspects, you must keep your users and their objective of use in mind.   

Designing a mobile application incorporates both user experience (UX) and user interface (UI).   

Depending on your target audience and purpose of design, you can choose the platform for mobile app design.   

Some of the popular options for app designing includes Adobe XD, Adobe Photoshop, and Sketch. Both Sketch and Adobe XD are built-in with prototyping and designing.    

Adobe XD and Sketch streamline your work processes and are focused on building a robust user interface and user experience.  

Here are some of the steps that you need to take before start designing a mobile app:  

  • Do your homework and understand your users 
  • Keep mobility factors in mind while designing a mobile app 
  • Implement good design principles 
  • Remember that content is king 
  • The last step is testing, analyzing, and listening  

Read more about the mobile app designing process and guidelines here

Which platform should I design for? 

Depending on your target audience and app design purpose, you can choose a platform for mobile app design.   

If you are not sure about the platform you need to choose, then you can start with the one you are most familiar with.   

If you are familiar with iOS, then you should design for iOS, and if you are familiar with Android, then you can start app designing for Android.   

It’s isn't simple and relies upon a wide range of aspects, for example, your target users, type of your business, and many other factors.  

Let's have a look at the aspects of both the platforms:  

iOS vs. Android platform (UI Design) 


Material Design determines the designing rules for Android mobile applications and Human Interface Guidelines for iOS.  

Learn more about the differences between iOS and Android design to choose the best one for your app designing here.  

What are the best mobile app design tools? 

If you want to design an attractive and user-friendly mobile application, then you need to choose the best web designing tool for mobile apps.   

Some popular options for app designing include Adobe XD, Adobe Photoshop, and Sketch. Both Sketch and Adobe XD are built with prototypes and designing.  

Adobe XD and Sketch streamline your work processes and focus on the user interface and user experience.  

Here is the list of top 5 mobile app design tools:   

1. Adobe XD  
Adobe XD comes with a fantastic collection of mobile templates and designs made with Adobe XD. It also comes with Android UI and iOS resources that you can use to make your mobile app advanced and more interactive.


2. Sketch   
Sketch provides premium and free design resources that you can get through the Sketch App resource.


3. InVision
InVision is a designing platform that is easy to learn and intuitive. It was built for designers by designers.    

4. 3Ds  Max  
3ds Max is a modern design tool that is used for animation, rendering, and 3D Modeling. 



5. Avocode
Import design prototypes, drag, drop and share any design, export layers, and discuss any component with Avocode


Do's and Don'ts of Mobile App Design 

Mobile application design is not an easy task and can be very complicated sometimes.   

Here, we have created a list of do's and don'ts of mobile app design that will simplify the process of designing a mobile app interface for you.  


  1. Proper Research: Do adequate research before you start working on your app. This will help you figure out your target audience and their needs. You can do this through competitive analysis and user identification.
  2. Limited Features: Try to design apps with limited features by prioritizing mobile application requisites.  
  3. Remove Clutter: Wipeout clutter from the UI as it can overload the user with unwanted information.  
  4. Better navigation patterns: Use navigation patterns that your target audience is familiar with. Design a simple architecture so that it will require a minimum number of actions.
  5. Smooth Navigation: Guide your users with a clear path.  
  6. Clickable CTAs: Provide your users with finger-friendly buttons. 
  7. Fantastic Content: Text is a mandatory requirement for every mobile interface. Attract your users with incredible content.   


  1. Don't try to create a design that's perfect for your first attempt. You should go with an iterative design approach and test to make it scalable to provide users with an excellent user interface.
  2. Don't try to design in segregation. 
  3. Try not to ask for permission at the beginning.  
  4. Don't use acronyms, cultural-specific axioms, brand-specific terms, and technical terminology. 

You need to work hard today to win the people's expectations. These do's and don't will help you reach and meet the customer's expectations. 

Wireframes and App Flow 

A wireframe, also known as screen blueprint or page schematic, is a visual guide that represents the skeletal structure of a website.   

Wireframes are made to arrange the elements to serve a particular purpose.  

What is a mobile app, wireframe?  

In a mobile app, a wireframe is a future vision of how an application will work. It describes how users will use and navigate through your app.   

What wireframes portray?  

  • Page element 
  • Content priority 
  • Commodity categories
  • Visual branding element 
  • Possible actions 

The wireframe itself serves as the destination so it can support the developers with better strategies to accomplish mobile app development.  

You can use Sketch and Adobe XD for creating your app wireframes if you are looking for something collaborative and hi-tech. There are two more tools for wireframing, Omnigraffle and Balsamiq


Why is the wireframing of mobile apps important?  

A well structured wireframing provides you a clear perception of functionality and design of the mobile application. 

It provides a fantastic start to build up your application in addition to the decisive set of features that will give you success and benefit.   

Here are the benefits of wireframing:  

  • Wireframe makes communication crystal clear, and this is the reason that makes it popular among the developers. 
  • From the beginning of the project, a wireframe keeps the team and developers focused instead of going behind the first idea. They can always refer to the wireframe; it helps them as a guide.
  • You can make a unique strategy with the blueprints provided by Wireframing. 
  • Wireframes are your goal, but in the 2D format, your journey is accelerated when your goal is in sight. 
  • It helps a lot in speeding up development. Good speed is a gift for mobile development projects.

All these benefits are enough to prove that wireframe is very crucial in mobile application development.  If you want to know about wireframing in detail, then we have an article written specially on this topic, "Role Of Wireframes In Mobile App Development." 


What is the app flow?  

The user experience of your mobile application is everything. But it is not sufficient to concentrate on the presentation of the pages in your app.    

You need to keep in mind how your pages in the mobile application are linked to others, where will call to action redirect, and the most important thing, how users will complete their task.   

App flow is the defined path for a user, which he will follow throughout the mobile application to complete his activity.   

It will take the user from the entry point, following the steps, to reach the destination/ final action that includes subscription or purchasing or any other outcome.  

Top five steps of the app user flow: 

  •  You need to understand the user flow by user testing
  • Defining users and clear business objectives  
  • Visualize your user flow by Wireframing 
  • Using scenarios for defining efficient user flows 
  • Do user test again 

Learn more about app user flow in detail here.

How does the flow of an app work? 

Before designing the layout of an application, a developer needs to work on the structure and flow. Wireframe plays an important role here.   

Wireframing helps in understanding the user's behavior and how they will navigate through the application. 

Mobile App Mockup 

What is an app mockup?  

In the field of design and manufacturing, a mockup is a scale or full-size model of a device or design, which is used for demonstration, promotion, teaching, and other purposes.  

A mockup is a prototype if it provides at least part of the functionality of a system and enables testing of a design.  

Simply, the mockup is a visual representation of a product.  

Since a wireframe mostly represents the product's structure, on the other side, a mockup displays how the product is looking.   

But still, unlike a wireframe, mockup is not clickable; instead, it is either a mid or high-fidelity display of the design.

What are the different ways to create an app mockup? 

Mockups can be made with the help of various mockup tools that are available in the market. Here is the brief of the all the tools: 

Top Tools for Mockup 

MOQUPS is a  streamlined web app.  


MOQUPS  helps in creating and collaborating in real-time on mockups, wireframes, prototypes, and diagrams.  

  • Prototyping and Wireframing in one tool 
  • Web app and mobile app design  
  • Team collaboration 
  • Library with a vast range of fonts, icon sets, and styling options.  
  • Individual: $13/month for single users, you can pay annually. 
  • Pro: $20/month for six seats, and this is also paid annually.  
  • Enterprise: Price on demand

MOCKPLUS is a robust product design platform made with all-in-one qualities.  


MOCKPLUS can be used for painless collaboration, interactive prototyping, and scalable design systems.  

  • Interactive Prototypin
  • Painless Collaboration  
  • Scalable Design System
  • Fast drag and drop editor
  • Testing on native devices  
  • Individual: $59/yr 
  • Team: $599/yr
  • Enterprise: $2999/yr

Mockplus iDoc is also available for free.  

BALSAMIQ is a wireframing tool.  

With the help of Balsamiq Wireframes, anyone can design excellent software and applications.  

  • Simple drag and drop editor 
  • Lots of community-generated and built-in icons and UI controls  
  • Team collaboration 
  • Interactive Prototypes 
  • 2 Projects: Starts from $9/month and $90/year. This plan is perfect for solo developers, or if you just want to kick the tires. It also includes Auto-Hibernation.
  • 20 Projects: Start from $49/month and $490/year. This is the most popular plan of Balsamiq. It is suitable for most companies and teams.
  • 200 Projects: This plan will cost $199/month and $1,990/year. It is suitable for bigger teams who have more than 20 projects. 

Mockingbird is a web-based mockup app.  

This is designed for rapid prototyping, and it lets you quickly build interfaces with a drag-and-drop editor. 


  • Multiple mockups can be linked together
  • Team collaboration 
  • Interactive mockups for usability tests and demos
  • Unlimited projects: $85 /month 
  •  25 projects: $40/month  
  • 10 projects: $20/month 
  • 3 projects: $12/month 

Free trial is also available at Mockingbird 

Mockup Builder is a wireframing, prototyping and mockup tool. 

You can quickly prototype a mobile application, wireframe the app, and mockup with the help of Mockup Builder.

  • Free wireframe templates 
  • Project sharing that includes PNG and PDF export 
  • Miscellaneous library of design elements 
  • SOLO: $63.00 / year paid annually 
  • PREMIUM LIGHT:  $121.00 / year paid annually 
  • PREMIUM PRO: $243.00 / year paid annually
  • TEAM PRO: $891.00 / year paid annually 

It is also available for free for up to two weeks. 

MOCKFLOW is a wireframing software which is super-easy to create and collaborate on UI designs 


  • You can plan better UI in less time without any complexity by fast sketching interface layout
  • You will get a full-featured and intuitive editor that brings app  concepts to life
  • Mockflow has thousands of pre-built layouts and components to pull any type of UI. 
  • You can also present your UI picture in Play, Review or Preview mode
  • BASIC: Free for one user forever. You will get 1 UI project and two reviewers per project. 
  • PREMIUM: 1 User for $14/per month (billed only yearly). You will get Unlimited UI projects, reviewers, version history, MockStore UI library, offline mode, power-ups, and email support.
  • TEAM PACK: 3 users for $29/per month (billed only yearly). You will get all the premium plus features.
  • ENTERPRISE: Organization-wide for $160/month (billed only yearly). You will get All TeamPack features, Multiple project admins, and Unlimited co-editors.

App Prototyping  

What is app prototyping? 

 App prototyping is a type of user analysis or research for validating the strategic design direction of a product. A prototype is the first view of a working product.  

Prototypes provide the look and feel of the product that helps analyze how customers react and use the overall UX design. This is the reason; prototype testing is essential for user-centric app development and design.  

Prototype (preliminary and iterative) research is conducted to make sure that mobile application design is enjoyable and easy to use, also aligning all decisions of strategic plan to user needs and to secure the project's ROI.

What are the benefits of app prototyping?
There are a lot of benefits of app prototyping. Mobile application prototyping keeps the client in front of the design process and includes stakeholders while looking for new thoughts for development. 

Here are the four significant benefits of app prototyping:

1. Discovering new ideas and identifying product improvements  
App prototyping validates an initial concept and provides a chance to find new ideas/thoughts in the development procedure. 

In the design thinking process during the prototyping period, user testing can help recognize potential improvements before finishing the product.   

A prototype is the foundation of the product that ceaselessly improves till the mobile application is marketable and meets its business objectives.   

2. Cost-efficiency 
You might have heard that it's easy and cheap to resolve any problem at the beginning of the development rather than in the end after the problem occurs. Corrections at the end can cost very high. 

That is why app prototyping is essential at the beginning of the app development process. This saves costs as well as minimizes the possibilities of errors.   

3. Customer and stakeholder involvement 
During the prototyping stage, it is helpful to include the most significant stakeholders in the process of planning.  

As much as possible, partners should co-own the project's ideas, design, and decisions.   

A Collective approach of prototyping assists with ensuring that the final product intently reflects the organization's features and ideas, while ultimately meeting specific project objectives. 

4. UX Verification 
Feedback for application design isn't limited to what it looks like or feels (UI). The thing that matters the most is the interaction with the application (UX).   

By revealing the application prototype for testing, you can hear what clients feel about application usability.  

What is the difference between wireframes and mockups? 

Wireframe and Mockups both help in taking strategic steps and decisions before developing the app.   

Both have different features and benefits that we will discuss by differentiating them.  


What is the difference between a mockup and a prototype? 

You save a lot of money by building your design from mockup and prototype.  

It is easier to change the structure and logic at the mockup stage than the prototyping stage. Here are the differences between Mockup and Prototype.