Designing Mobile Apps
Index of contents


Designing apps is no easy task, especially if you haven’t worked with them before. And if you’re coming from the world of web, you’re stepping into a completely new context.

Though they may seem a recent phenomenon, the reality is that apps have been among us for quite some time. They’ve become increasingly more popular as of late, attracting now only users but also designers and developers, who are making the most of the opportunity the mobile screen offers. When it comes to apps, technological advancement means better experiences, supported by visual design.

For designers, making the switch to mobile phones can prove quite a challenge. However, it is a great opportunity to get into a market where clients are demanding more and better communication and promotional tools.

Of course, we haven’t forgotten about programmers. The market demands high-quality apps that stand out from the rest, and producing a good-looking application is no longer enough. Apps have to function well and be easy to use.

Designers and programmers must work together to create apps that consider every single detail. First impressions are lasting impressions.

In the chapters of this book, we will develop several concepts that will help you to produce high-quality mobile app projects.

Why This Book?

Documentation and information on the subject of app development and design is scattered all over the web. It is highly fragmented and hard to find, an ocean of information.

Our beginnings in app design weren’t easy. Everything was very different from how it is today, and there was no one we could ask or anywhere could we could look to find answers to our questions. A few but very valuable years have gone by since then, and what we’ve learned, by necessity and on the fly, has been very useful. Now, we want to share our knowledge with you.

That being said, we encourage you to be curious and investigate on your own. Consider this book to be the starting point of your journey that will take you to new places. It should be a reference point for you to forge your own path.

Do, try, and make mistakes! Start designing as soon as possible, even small personal projects. Pay attention to the work of others. If you don’t have a smartphone, find one and explore it. Investigate and play with it until you get the hang of it, learn its secrets.

How is the Book Structured?

In the following chapters, we will guide you through the entire app design process, from conception to release. We’ll delve into interaction and interface, also providing you with related links for you to further expand your knowledge.

This book is not only about visual design. Our goal is to dig deeper and discuss subjects like the market, user testing and promotion. We firmly believe that a designer must be present throughout the entire development process, that he or she should be involved in and committed to each and every stage.

Even though we talk about app design in a general way, on several occasions, we compare the most common mobile operating systems: Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Android and iOS are, currently, the leading operating systems, and Windows Phone, though not as significant yet, is on the rise. What’s more, it has departed from the traditional style of design with a very different kind of proposal.

Additionally, you will find interviews with top design professionals, including Loren Brichter, Dustin Mierau, Irene Pereyra and Erik Spiekermann. They have shared with us their perspectives in the world of apps, enriching our content enormously.

At the end of the book, you will find a glossary of common terms for reference. We want to make sure you understand every word we write.

About the Authors

Javier «Simón» Cuello

Born in Mendoza, a small city in western Argentina known for its beautiful views, mountainous location and high-quality wines, Simón found his calling for graphic design at a young age. Beyond his visual education, he has also taken a specific interest in interactive and new technologies.

Now living in Barcelona, Simón has worked in mobile app design from the outset. He has created products for the very first versions of iOS and Android and worked for clients like Yahoo! and Zara.

Beyond design, Simón loves to travel. And when he’s not out and about, you can find him thinking up new ideas and taking up independent projects managed by small teams.

Javier on LinkedIn

José Vittone

Also from Argentina, José is from the province of Buenos Aires. He and Simón met in Barcelona while completing a Master’s program in Elisava.

José’s work at Usolab taught him what usability and user- centered design really mean. He has been designing interfaces for eight years now, focusing on conceptualization and production and juggling several mobile apps at a time.

José is passionate about the small details that make a big difference. He is innately curious to find out how things work and is always on the forefront of technology.

José on LinkedIn

About the Illustrations

Each chapter presents content with accompanying images. The drawings are the work of TugaMOVIL, a small Polish-Chilean studio based in Barcelona, the owners of which we have the good fortune to call our friends. Pay close attention to these illustrations, created by Maga and Seba, that will accompany you in this journey we are about to begin.

Let’s go!