How to Hire a Mobile App Designer

by Adarsh on November 13, 2012

So you have an idea for that great, new mobile app. Now you need to hire someone to build it for you. Just find someone who knows how to develop apps, right?

Well, you actually have to find two different people (unless it’s a company that has both) to build the app – one to design it, and one to develop it. Usually, it’s not the same person who does both. The designer only does design, while the programmer only does the coding. So how do you manage this process?

I would recommend hiring the designer first. They will then help you mockup the design of the app. Once you are happy with the look and feel of the design, you can then hire a developer to implement this design into an actual, functioning app.

So how do you hire a designer?

If you’re looking to outsource this process, then the easiest way is to search for a designer that specializes (or has experience) in mobile apps. Take a look at their portfolio to find designs that you like and that you think could work well with your app.

If you’re still not sure if you have the right person, then pay for a few general mockups first – give them a description of what you would like one of the screens in your app to look like, and then get them to do a mockup for you. To make it easier for them, draw your design on a piece of paper and take a picture of it for them. Or you can use a more professional mockup program. If you like what you see, then continue with other screens.

One of the main reasons for going through this process, before you begin actual development of your app, is that it will help you think through each screen, where each element should be, and if the overall design and usability of your app makes sense. Chances are that you will need to make a few changes at this stage. If so, it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to make such changes in this early stage, before you begin the development process.

Here are a couple of tips for you to consider:

  1. If you don’t see anything in your designer’s portfolio that you can reference, then try to find examples of other apps or designs on the market that you like. This will give the designer and example of the look and feel you’re looking for.
  2. Keep in mind that the designer probably knows more about design principles than you do. So when you have to make choice decisions, ask the designer for input, since their decision may be a better one than your own.

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Issie Sabie December 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

Great reminder, Adash. A lot of employers miss the fact that you have to choose the designers before the developers in the process. If they fail to consider this, it will create a huge problem later on.

Also, I just hired my designer using the remote workers at https://www.staff.com . It’s also important to consider whether you will be hiring contract or full time workers when you choose to go with this setup. Since I got long term projects, I went with full time.

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Adarsh December 13, 2012 at 11:04 am

Thanks Issie. Good point – it is worth taking the time to get your designer to design the look, feel and work flow of the app before you get the developer involved. It’ll indeed help you uncover problems before hand, saving you time and money!
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Jennifer March 14, 2013 at 4:24 am

I have a question for you. I am a senior web designer for a company and found out my supervisor hired a web developer to create an app without including me in the meeting or discussing the project with me. I have been totally excluded about it and found out about it through another employee talking about it. I am the lead web designer at my job and been innovative in creating this companies first responsive site and such. I feel like it is a slap in the face that I wasn’t included for input on the design since that is one of my main job functions. Is this normal?

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Adarsh March 14, 2013 at 10:05 am

Hi Jennifer,

Unfortunately this is a conversation you will have to have with your supervisor. Perhaps they wanted to try a different style with the web app than the one you provide on the company site?
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Shannon Parker April 24, 2013 at 7:46 am

Hi,
I believe I’ve thought up a great idea for an app (dont we all!). Here is the 1st problem: I have no idea where to start. Do I find a designer, how do I search to see if another one is out there? Also because my idea would involve using brand name products have you ever heard of one sponsoring an app development?

Thank you, neophyte for sure, Shannon

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Adarsh April 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Hi Shannon,

Rather than spending money on a designer up front, I’d recommend mocking up the app first (see here: http://winningstack.com/app-prototypes-mockups/ ). See if your app makes sense on paper.

Go through all the screens – this is a great exercises to test the feasibility of your app first, before you spend any money on development.

Once that’s done – if it makes sense to you – then try to get quotes from developers (http://winningstack.com/how-to-compete-with-the-big-boys-through-outsourcing/ ). You can then decide if your app is worth developing or not.

If your app promotes a company well and is a good fit for them, it doesn’t hurt to pitch the idea – especially if they’ll fund development for you!
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