A Guide to UX and UI in App Development

A Guide to Building Apps with Good UX in Mind


UX and UI are vital tools for app developers, but they are often overlooked, hindering the success of otherwise brilliant apps. With users spending more and more time on their phones (an average of 4.2 hours per day using apps alone), developers must consider the design of their apps if they are to be successful. 

Poorly designed apps that are difficult to use, or hard to understand, do not retain users. Figuring out how to create a positive user experience is essential. That's where this guide comes in. We’re here to help you understand everything UX and UI related, and make your app the user-facing experience it should be.  

What is UX/UI? What Do We Mean?

UX and UI are often confused, or conflated as the same thing, so it’s useful to understand what they are and what they stand for. 

  • UX stands for User Experience, and includes the general experience and satisfaction a user has with an app, before, during, and after its use. It has been split into 7 key principles by Peter Morville, which are usefulness, usability,  desirability, findability, accessibility, credibility, and value. 

  • UI, on the other hand, stands for User Interface and is much more specific in its meaning. It is the graphic design of the app, and the efficiency (and functionality) of the interface, rather than an overarching design idea. 

  • UI is related to UX, but UX is not limited only to UI. The UI may change after development, to better match customer expectations in comparison to other apps on the market.

In relation to apps, good UX incorporates any positive experience you might have, such as its ease of use, discoverability, or efficiency. Whereas UI is how easy the app is to navigate and how appealing it is to look at.  

What is the Difference between UX & UI?

Understanding the differences between UX and UI will help you get to grips with how your end user will interact with your app, and allow you to improve this interaction. Assuming that your app has good UX design, simply because it has a good UI, will only lead to pushing new users away, and being unable to retain current ones. 

You can have the best looking app in the world, but it might not adhere to the seven UX principles, and therefore likely won’t have much longevity. 


  • Focused on the overall user experience and satisfaction

  • Identifies the potential market gaps, and designs around them

  • Involves every step of the process, including the research, the download itself, and the app’s impact on the business

  • Consists of every interaction a user has with the app


  • Focused on the look and layout

  • Keeps up-to-date with current design trends 

  • Dictates how the user will operate the app, and how well the pages flow

  • Consists of the technical aspects of the app 

What Makes for Good UX Design for Apps?

To design a good UX for your app, you need to really understand the entire process, and the implications it will have on your business and user, before, during, and after development. You need to focus on what will improve your user's experience from the beginning of development, because it’s going to have far-reaching consequences. 

  • Research your intended audience’s needs, wants, and desires 

  • Identify where and how the app will fit into the lives of its users, and base any pricing tiers on this

  • Conduct user testing, and analyze competitors’ apps for improvements to accessibility and satisfaction

  • Make decisions that will benefit your user at every step

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, the UX of popular apps is successful for a reason 

  • Maintain minimalism in the app’s design, rather than including unnecessary clutter - each page should have a purpose 

How do you Measure User Experience?

The best way to measure User Experience is by developing a number of KPI’s that will help focus your efforts. This could include: 

  • The average time users spend on the app as a whole, or on specific pages of the app; 

  • How many users you retain over a certain period vs. the amount of downloads your app is getting

  • Or how many complete or partial transactions your app is seeing (if it's an ecommerce app). 

This will give you a good idea of whether or not your users are having a positive experience on your app, or tell you exactly what needs improving. And once an issue is highlighted, you’ll be able to improve it. 

What Makes for Good UI Design?

Good UI design consists of a number of factors, including its interactivity, familiary, simplicity, how easy it is to navigate, and its graphic design. The User Interface must be intuitive, so, much like the UX, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. For example, in many apps, home buttons are placed on the top of the screen, and swiping is used to move around the pages - people are familiar with this layout, so by going against the grain, you may end up affecting your UX because of the way you designed your UI. Some key things to consider are: 

  • The clarity of your app, and how well it conveys each design element, from the language to the visuals

  • Ensuring your app does not lag, or crash unnecessarily, leading to users uninstalling 

  • Be consistent in your design, across every page of your app, in terms of style, and from the technical side

Our Top Tips for Tip Top UX/UI Design

The main thing to remember is that a great User Interface does not always mean you’ll have good User Experience. You need to be researching current trends, and finding out exactly what your users are looking for, otherwise your app will never get off the ground. Make sure every experience your user has with your app is positive, and every interaction leads to continued use. Ensuring your users are satisfied, and happy with its intuitive design, will help retain and attract new users to your app. 

At ADAMAPP, we have the tools and knowledge to help you do exactly that. We can guide you throughout your app’s development and offer our expertise. Get in touch with us, and together we’ll make sure your app is the best it can be.

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