One of the most essential tasks a design company may be charged with is helping clients to develop the perfect design brief. For an agency that specialises in mobile applications, the virtually ubiquitous tool of modern business; working through a number of checkpoints will ensure that you arrive at the ideal solution for the customer.
Start with a definition
What is a mobile app? What does it do? What is the specific purpose of this particular app? Asking these questions will help to form the skeleton of the plan that will give structure to the finished brief. If this app is similar to any that already exist, understanding what unique features it has will enable you to present them in such a way as to make it an attractive prospect in a competitive market.
Focus on the target audience
It’s vital that you thoroughly investigate the range of users likely to buy the product; having determined the integral functions of the app, you must think about who will use it and what your audience values in relation to consumer goods. As well as the age range and likely profession of the end user, it is important to identify which apps they like to use, how comfortable they are with different aspects of technology and what problems they tend to report. A combination of the definition of the app and the needs of the user will allow you to pinpoint the essence of the product.
Decide on a platform
Some clients may want to release a mobile app on both Android and iOS simultaneously, which isn’t always a good idea. Your product function assessment may point towards a greater suitability to one platform, or you may have research that suggests the demographic leans more towards one or the other. If this isn’t the case, however, it is still better to release the app on one platform first because so much can be learnt from the first stage of a two-step release, allowing you to avoid certain pitfalls with the second platform.
Agree on the details
With a broad agreement on the essential functionality, you must be sure to outline every other aspect of the design. Palette, style, screen layout and the ‘feel’ of the app should be included. Does the client want it to have a retro air, referencing the 60s or 80s, for example, or do they want something more modern or even futuristic? Minutiae such as the amount and function of ‘buttons’ on the screen or the transitions can be represented by initial sketches to avoid misunderstandings.
Only when you are satisfied that your client has established all their requirements for the product will you be able to calculate both the cost and the likely timetable. Set up a two-way system of communication between yourself and the client so any concerns that arise can be addressed swiftly. A digital agency acts like an interpreter, taking the customer’s needs and translating them into a design brief that technicians can use to realise the client’s dream. The process starts with effective listening and that should continue to ensure customer satisfaction; do this and they’ll bring their business to you, time and time again.