UX Design in the Mobile-App Development Process

February 6, 2023

What is the first thing users notice when they open a mobile app? It’s not the features it offers, it’s how it looks and how they can interact with it. While the key value of a mobile app is the problem it solves, it is the easy, convenient management of its features that makes it attractive to users. An app’s functionality is useless if users cannot actually implement its use in real life. If not, they would likely either choose another mobile app or write bad reviews that damage the developer’s reputation. They usually do both.

The user interface (UI) refers to the way a mobile app presents itself to the user, while the user experience refers to how the user interacts with the app by issuing the appropriate commands to complete the tasks or solve the problems for which the app was originally designed. You can assess the effectiveness of a mobile app by evaluating the optimal combination of its functionality and attractiveness.

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It is important to make sure that a mobile application satisfies four main characteristics:

  1. It is intuitive.
  2. It is easy to use.
  3. The application captivates the user.
  4. The application effectively performs the set of tasks for which it was created.

When implementing a trendy mobile-app design, you need to ensure that it not only looks beautiful but also interacts well with the user and make the user’s initial use fast, convenient, and profitable. In this article, I’ll focus my discussion of mobile-app design on the design of a language-learning app.

The Importance of UX Design

Application design combines functionality, form, properties, and aesthetic manifestations. UX design presents properties and functionality to the user in such a way that the created product is easy to use. So the goal of UX design is to help users reach their final goals as quickly and easily as possible and to provide a solution to the users’ problem.

The purview of UI design, a specialty of UX design, is the visual presentation of the application—that is, the choice of colors, the readability of the text, and the convenience of interactions. The main task of design is to influence the users’ making right choices in using the created user interface. This involves creating all the conditions that would aid the users in following a certain sequence of actions at an intuitive level when working with the application.

When designing a learning app, you need to start creating the user experience by analyzing existing analogs in the real world, targeting users’ needs, and supporting a the appropriate business model. A comparative analysis of these analogs to the future mobile application would enables UX designers to

  • identify the weak and strong points of the evaluated objects
  • expand their understanding of the target audience and subject area
  • create their own vision of a project and generate their own ideas


User Experience evaluates all aspects of the users’ interactions with a product. The goal is to understand the user’s behaviors, goals, needs, motivations, and the context in which they would use the product. In contrast, UI design’s focus is facilitating the user’s interactions with a system, which greatly impact the user experience. The successful implementation of a UI design requires the following:

  • Simplification of user interactions with the application. The faster users can reach their goals, the better the user experience.
  • Color is a functional part of the application. The choice of colors depends on the user’s interactions with the system. Color helps focus the user’s attention and highlight the differences between certain elements.
  • Dialogic design is a tool for obtaining information from the user that simulates communication. This approach can be a much better method of obtaining data from the user than form design.

Designing a User Interface

To develop a mobile-app user interface, you need to know the basic rules of UX design. While the user interface of a mobile app might be that of a Web application, unlike regular Web sites that the user opens on a computer, the user interacts with the mobile version of an app using a touchscreen. The user interface could be graphical, tactile, voice, or sound.

UI design is the process of visualizing and developing a prototype, which is based on UX research that enables the designer to understand the app’s target audience. The UI design includes work on the graphic parts of the user interface, including animations, illustrations, buttons, menus, photos, and fonts. The designer chooses the color palette and locations of objects in the user interface and assesses their convenience, ease, and correctness.

UX design is responsible for both the functions and the adaptability of the product’s user interface. The clearer the user interface, the easier it is for the user to interact with it and get the desired results when using the product. A successful UX design is based on UX research that lets the designer understand the users’ behaviors and evaluate the user experience.

Designing a Language-Learning App Such as Duolingo: Design Principles

Designers and developers who want to learn how to create a language-learning app and ensure that it provides an excellent user experience should pay attention to the following design principles:

  • The application must be unique and stand out from the competition.
  • Capabilities that show concern for the user include creating an energy-saving app that is easy to control and preserves the user’s actions.
  • The placement of elements in their typical locations eases user interactions.
  • The processing of feedback is important. Users must understand that the app is fulfilling their requests and what actions are taking place.
  • Support easy text input using a mobile keyboard.
  • Emphasize touchscreen operation. All UI elements should be clear and easy to interact with.
  • Minimize the use of pop-ups.

It is also necessary to adhere to some basic requirements for the development of a mobile app’s user interface, as follows:

  • Use common UI elements.
  • Support a high level of visualization.
  • Ensure the availability of a call to action where the user needs it.
  • Enable convenient data entry.
  • Provide convenient data output—for example, ensuring the use of clear fonts.
  • Clearly display the app’s capabilities so the user can immediately understand what they are.
  • Support customization and making adjustments to the needs of the individual user.

By fulfilling all these requirements, you can definitely create a language-learning app with a good user interface that will be clear and easy to use.

To learn more about designing and building a mobile language-learning app, read the article “How to Build a Language Learning App Inspired by Duolingo’s Example,” which discusses the importance of UX design, its basic rules, key trends, and mistakes that designers should avoid.

Modern Trends for Designing a Language-Learning App

In this section, I'll discuss four current UX design trends that you should follow when designing a language-learning app.

1. Minimalism

Most mobile-app designers promote the idea of simplicity and minimalism. The main features of a minimalistic design include the following:

  • essential functionality only
  • good typography
  • high contrast
  • presenting the right combinations of elements
  • a clearly defined hierarchy
  • plenty of whitespace
  • eliminating purely decorative elements

2. Semi-Flat Design

The semi-flat style demonstrates visual-design maturity by adding layers and halftones. This style looks good in animations because each layer can move separately. A sans serif font is perfect for typography because it resonates with the trend toward minimalism.

3. Functional Animation

Animation in the design of mobile-app's user interface is already common, but every year visual effects become more functional. The main task of an animation is to enliven the user interface and give the user more control over the application.

4. A Natural Experience

A relatively new concept, natural experience allows users to fully immerse themselves in the work of the app. The main criteria of the natural experience are as follows:

  • ease of user identification
  • security of personal data
  • protection against unauthorized access to the app by using facial recognition or a fingerprint
  • a sense of human-to-human interaction, not human-to-computer
  • ease of use
  • special attention to details

Mistakes to Avoid in Designing a Language-Learning App

When you're working on designing and building an app such as Duolingo, there are many factors that can help you to deliver a great mobile-app user interface. However, there are also many factors that can cause things to go wrong. Let's consider some mistakes to avoid when designing and building a mobile app.

Mistake 1: Neglecting to Test the Application

The most common mistake among mobile-app developers is a lack of usability, quality-assurance, and other types of testing. For successful testing, you need to consider three key elements: the network environment, the purpose of the device, and what types of testing are necessary.

Mistake 2: Assuming the User Knows How to Use the Application

It is extremely important that you optimize the user interface for its first use. To introduce a mobile app—especially a complex application—provide the user with a guide and training materials.

Mistake 3: Giving UI Constraints Insufficient Attention

A good user experience requires a good user interface. There are certain UI constraints that you must take into account when designing a mobile app. For example:

  • screen size—When applying the principle of minimalistic UI design, keep in mind the essentials for accurate interactions.
  • user behaviors—The app must correctly respond to any finger movements.

Mistake 4: Failing to Optimize the Purchasing Process

A purchasing process that involves too many steps or has incomprehensible navigation can reduce conversions. Also, offer different payment methods and make sure that the user does not encounter any technical problems in the sales funnel.

Mistake 5: Insufficient Monitoring

Everything I've mentioned in this section leads to this mistake. However, a detailed analysis of the user experience can give you an accurate picture of what is happening during user interactions and enable you to correct any errors.


UX design is a very important aspect of creating a mobile app. To create a successful language-learning app such as Duolingo, it is necessary to provide a high-quality user interface and user experience. By understanding the needs and preferences of the target audience, you can make a mobile app more interactive and more attractive.

UX design is responsible for the value, behaviors, features, and accessibility of a mobile app, as well as the feelings and emotions that it evokes. The main goal of UI design is to provide easy, pleasant, and efficient interactions between the user and the application. Follow the UX design guidance that I've provided in this article, and you'll definitely be successful in creating a good user experience. 

Content Marketing Specialist at JatApp

Miami Beach, Florida, USA

Aston RhodesAston is an experienced content creator and marketing expert who writes about software development at JatApp. She has been helping authors to improve their blogs for over five years, enabling them to turn this hobby into a business. She enjoys researching and discussing technology-related topics and sharing her experiences with like-minded audiences. She also writes about digital marketing, business, and careers.  Read More

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