A group of coders at a table

How to Find & Hire the Right Mobile Application Designer

David Barlev

March 8, 2021 · 5 minutes

Trying to find and hire the right mobile application designer can be a headache. Apps cost thousands of dollars to produce. To avoid wasting your money, you’ve got to be confident that your designer has the skills and understanding to build your program just right.

Here’s the good news: finding the right mobile application designer is a lot easier if you design as much of it by yourself as possible. By having a clear idea of how your app will look and feel, you won’t have to rely on your designer to make as many big decisions on your behalf.

Once the app is ready for development, the usual rules apply—your designer should have lots of experience, a sense of style that matches your own, and a successful track record working in industries similar to yours.

Get All Your Ducks in a Row

A group of teammembers sitting togetherThe most expensive way to design a mobile app is to brainstorm with a developer. You’ll pay premium rates to take care of basic tasks that can be done on your own. These are things like brand styling, user workflows, and marketing approaches.

Already handled these details? Great, you’re ready to go. If not, the first thing to do is to look at your favorite apps and identify what makes them great.

The titan app developers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on market research and user experience to ensure people keep using their products. In the immortal words of Picasso, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Don’t reinvent the wheel—use their good ideas for your app.

After you have a list of desired features, you may want to explore some resources on use case diagrams to flesh them out further. Once you know the general layout of your app, use wireframe templates to make a black and white design of your app.

Is all this work worth it? Yes, because exercises like these yield more than design ideas—they also uncover roadblocks that need clearing. You’ll have a much better idea of what your designer needs to do if you’ve already solved these issues on your own.

Getting Started on Hiring the Right Designer

Now that you’ve worked your way through some of the simpler parts of your app, it’s time to find someone that can bring it to life. Where do you start?

There are basically two ways to find and hire the right mobile application designer. The first is to hunt down a freelancer and do head up the project yourself. The second is to work with an established design studio that manages everything for you.

One saves money, the other saves time. Unless you have experience with project management, it’s probably better to work with a design studio. However, freelancers can be helpful in the early stages, as they cost considerably less than design studios as an early resource.

Pick Veterans of Your Industry

Most developers have the knowledge and skillset to successfully get your app out the door—it doesn’t mean they’re right for your project.

Ideally, you’ll have a team made up of people with experience launching apps similar to yours. A relevant experience like this means you won’t be on your own when making decisions about what to do next—your team can provide some direction.

This is especially important when it comes to launching your app, specifically the whole marketing part. Designers should know how to appeal to your target audience, as that’s who will be paying back all your development costs.

Marketing for an app can be tough. Will your app be geared more for iOS users or Android users? Would you rather host your app on the cloud or on users’ phones? How much are you planning to spend on advertising?

By hiring the right designer, you can get answers to these questions without too much headache. There are plenty of free resources on the internet, but industry experience is always better.

Style Is Superior

Even the most experienced app designers can have terrible design sense (it happens more than you think), and as the saying goes, “you can’t polish a pig.”

There are some sad tales out there of when optimism blinded someone’s good sense, resulting in contracts that should’ve never been signed. It’s easy enough to see why—a designer with years of experience and hundreds of completed projects can make a compelling case for your business, even when your gut tells you it’s not a good fit.

Listen to your gut. If their designs consistently underwhelm you, take your business elsewhere. There’s not much more to say on that subject—before hiring a designer, it’s important to actually like their designs.

Know Your Platform

If you want your app to work on iOS, your designer should know how to launch an iOS app. There’s a good chance that a VR game developer could launch an iOS app successfully, but why make them switch industries?

In other words, pick an iOS designer for your iOS app. Is your app meant to work on any device? Make sure your designer can build within an appropriate framework for your needs.

By hiring a designer with experience in the platform you need, you avoid wasting all that extra time and money that comes with someone learning to use a new tool. Don’t let your project budget fund their training—hire the right designer.

Finding this information doesn’t have to be much of a hassle. Just ask them which platforms they prefer and ask about how many projects they’ve completed there. It also doesn’t hurt to learn more about the different platforms out there and how they might apply to your app.

Basically, don’t hire someone that doesn’t have the skills your project needs to succeed. Ask about their relevant experience and be honest about your app’s requirements.

Get a Firm Timeline

If there’s one thing that can sideline app development faster than anything, it’s a breakdown of communication. When a developer and a project manager don’t have shared expectations, things get ugly.

Before you sign any contracts to get started on building your app, ask about when you can expect certain milestones. Accurate projections make it a lot easier to feel happy about how your app is progressing, both for you and for your developer.

An established app design studio will almost certainly have a sprint timeline to give you once work is about to begin. If they don’t make sure you get one.

Timelines not only ensure the timely delivery of goals, but also give you a better idea of acceptable results. If you have something to look forward to every few weeks, it’s a lot easier to make changes then and there, rather than near the launch date.

Make sure you have a timeline. Find and hire the right mobile application designer by knowing your preferences and making sure they have the skills to do it right.

Ready to speak with an expert team of mobile app designers?
Click here to schedule a free consultation.

About David Barlev

David is the Co-founder and CEO of Goji Labs. David loves working closely with passionate founders to understand their vision and help them build beautiful applications while focusing on risk-mitigation. As an author, he focuses on informative and educational blogs that enable our clients to make the most of their businesses.

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