What is an App Design Phase?

Do you want to know about the app design phase? Check out this guide to know everything about it!


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May 13, 2016


Barkan Saeed



Taking an app or a tech product from an idea to development usually starts with an “App Design Phase”. The goal of the product design phase is to have something for the development team so they can start the development process.

The output of the app design phase is product backlogs, wireframes or clickable prototypes, and UI designs that are used by development teams to start the development process.

Let’s briefly look at each of these one by one.


Product BackLogs

Product Backlogs are simple user stories like “As a, I want to, so I can ”.



Wireframes are usually clickable prototypes that are generated using some tool like invisionapps, proto.io, or axure.


UI Designs

UI designs are one of the final outputs of the design phase. They are very high fidelity and usually are very close to the final look and feel of the product. Most new app makers start directly with creating a UI without going for other phases of the design process and it’s one of the biggest mistakes in app development.

Usually, good product design teams also do things like

  1. Create Personas
  2. Paper Prototypes
  3. User Flows
  4. User Interviews

You can learn about these in my article on UX here.

The reason for doing deep dive into these things is that the output of the design process is much better.


How Long Does the “App Design phase” take?

The product design phase is usually 3 weeks at a minimum and can take up to 2 months for 3 to 4 months of development work. Usually, good teams create enough design work to start the development after 2 weeks of the design phase and continue creating backlogs, and wireframes while the development team is working on the product.


How to Spot a Weak Product Design Team?

If your product design team is not deep diving into things like paper prototyping, user interviews, and low-fidelity prototyping and jumping right to UI designs, it may be a sign that it's a good UI team but not a good User Experience team.

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