The competition in the app industry is fierce—of the 30 apps people have installed on average, they use approximately 10–15 each month. The only way to get ahead in such a crowded market is by designing an astonishing app that satisfies users’ needs and engages them. So scroll down to discover the leading app design companies of 2019. This list was created through our own customized evaluation methodology, which we developed based on extensive research. Plus, we put together a guide to further simplify your decision process, and we gave answers to the most frequently asked questions on the subject. You’ll find all this and more just below the table.
To ensure our rankings are objective and useful to you, we’ve devised an evaluation methodology that examines the most relevant aspects of app design. Below, you will discover the details of our approach to assessing each agency’s experience and expertise, their design process, additional services, and pricing models.
The most logical first step when trying to vet an app design firm is to visit their site. Once we land there, we try to figure out how long the agency has been around, which is a clear indication of the experience they have. A brand new agency might perform well, but it’s always a better idea to consider one that has been designing for three or more years.
Once we establish that the mobile app design company has significant experience, we evaluate their expertise. The best way to uncover their potential is to look at their previous work. We give special attention to creativity and innovation since your app needs to showcase originality and highlight what your business is all about.
Furthermore, we assess how they handled each unique task. On our list, you won’t find agencies that provide a cookie-cutter approach—we made sure to include only those that infuse each project with a unique, fresh vision.
Finally, we go ahead and download some of the apps the app designing company has created to study their designs and evaluate their work quality. Of course, in this case, we make sure that the design agency was also responsible for the app development so that we don’t judge them for someone else’s job.
The process of designing a functional app involves several stages. An important step in our evaluation is to determine the stages of the agency’s process and their approach. Here are the stages we evaluated:
Every strategy relies on thorough research into both users and the market. The app design companies listed here have proven they can conduct in-depth market research and analyze the existing apps in the same domain as yours. This gives valuable insight into the patterns, flows, and color schemes they use and how well their strategies work out.
User research helps these agencies understand consumers’ needs and the types of colors and themes they prefer in order to establish an emotional connection. They can use different methods to gather this information, but the most common ones are focus groups, surveys, and design workshops. After extensive research, the top app designers will be able to clearly define your buyer personas in order to ease the design process. When evaluating this aspect, we employed the relevant points form our custom methodology for choosing the best UX design companies.
A wireframe is a blueprint of the screen with a focus on functionality. It’s based on a deep analysis of user data and market research. Usually, it contains comments that explain the logic behind certain decisions. The end goal of wireframes is to provide an understanding of what UI components will be needed in the final version of the app for optimal use flow. Although wireframing might be created on a piece of paper, leading app designers use tools like Adobe XD, Sketch, or Photoshop.
Prototyping is the app’s live design and includes the process of user interaction. At this stage, testing and gathering feedback on how easy the product is to use take a central role, enabling the designer to fix any mistakes. This saves you time and money in the later stages of the design and development process.
A style guide outlines the standards, principles, and rules to follow. It helps improve the app’s digital presence and smooths the design process down the road. It needs to be aligned with the brand personality. It includes detail about typography, imagery, color schemes, animations, UI elements, and more. Once formulated, the style guide will serve as a primary tool for creating the user interface when designing an app.
Emerging technologies, UI trends, user preferences, and other factors might encourage design tweaks in order to make your app a better market fit. An agency needs to be able to make as many changes as needed until the app achieves perfection. More often than not, they’ll need to remove some unnecessary elements from the design and add small details that can make a big difference.
The best app designers featured on our list are familiar with both iOS and Android guidelines. iOS and Android have specific features that impact the usability and perception of an app; therefore, designing for each is different. This is important because the design rules are also different—iOS is ruled by the Human Interface Guidelines while Android is by Material Design. We made sure to state clearly whether any app designers focus on building for only one of these platforms.
Although flat design is the origin of both these schemes, each has a different set of rules that govern the look and feel of an app. Not to mention, they require different device resolutions: Android requires assets to be exported at 1x, 1.5x, 2x, 3x, and 4x, while Apple apps require 1x, 2x, and 3x.
Getting end-to-end app services under one roof is quite convenient for clients. That’s why we look favorably on the agencies that offer additional services beyond app design.
During our evaluation, we make sure to check whether the app designer offers development services as well. Although you can always hire a full-fledged development agency, it’s always a good idea to have the app developed by the same team because that way technical problems aren’t likely to happen.
That being said, our research extends to uncovering the quality of their development process by using the same principles we applied when evaluating the best app development companies. Only the agencies that hit all the points on our methodology are featured on our list.
Companies that offer app marketing services are also more likely to land on our list. Here, too, we assess their app marketing strategy and include only the companies that check all the boxes on our evaluation methodology for app marketing companies.
Some app design companies offer fixed rates while others bill by the hour. There’s no right or wrong here, so we listed both types of companies. However, we made sure to only consider candidates that are clear about their pricing structure and what the price includes.
Now that you have our table and insight into our evaluation process, it’s up to you to make the final choice. To help you use our list wisely and narrow down your options, here are six key things to consider:
Before you even start looking for the best mobile app design company, you need to know what you want from the app. Defining your goals regarding the app’s purpose, the features you need, and the outcomes you expect will help you get the product you want. Plus, knowing what you want will save you time and money in the long run.
You need to have clearly defined resources so that you can narrow down the candidates. This is also the first question app agencies ask during the interviews because in many cases the budget will determine the features included and the quality of the design.
Choosing between a mobile and web app depends on the necessities and goals of your target user. A mobile, or native, app is usually developed for specific mobile platforms and installed directly onto the device. This kind of app needs to be downloaded from an app store. On the other hand, a web app is an app that’s accessed via a browser, and it doesn't have to be downloaded to be used.
Being able to trust your app design agency is critical to building a stable working relationship and therefore designing a great app. Try to understand the culture within the agency, assess how they approach their work, and see how it aligns with your approaches. Also, consider whether they’re capable of adapting to your work methods to support the goals you want to achieve. If the answer is no, you should move on to the next candidate.
Next, think about any visual preferences you might have. Maybe you already have a vision of how the app should look in terms of color schemes or special functions, so make sure to present it to the mobile/web app designer beforehand.
Your app icon should follow the overall branding of your business so that users can immediately associate it with your product/service, thereby solidifying brand awareness. If you already have a logo designed, you need to let your chosen designer know so that they use it when creating the app icon. If you don’t have a logo, consider hiring one of the top logo design companies.
By definition, it’s the process of designing mobile applications. It’s comprised of designing elements that deliver optimal engagement, usability, and accessibility, all while delivering great user experiences.
Based on our research, when it comes to creating an icon, these types of design companies tend to use Adobe Illustrator CC and Adobe Photoshop CC, Sketch, and Affinity Designer.
The price of designing apps varies depending on the type of app you want. Generally speaking, the average price per hour is $150. The complexity of the app is also a big factor. A simple design would cost approximately $5,000, a medium complexity design, $10000, while a complex design is $25000. Also, you should keep in mind that designing an Android app is pricier than designing for iOS. For example, the average price for an iOS app ranges between $4,000 and $12,500, while Android app design costs anywhere between $3,000 and $10000.
This too varies greatly. However, from our experience and research, we’ve found that designing a small app takes approximately 3–4 weeks, and designing a medium or large app would take up to 8 and 12 weeks, respectively.
Onboarding is one of the most important phases in a user’s journey and refers to the first point of contact between a user and the app. Onboarding includes a series of screens that guide users through the app’s interface aimed at facilitating the users’ transition and minimizing potential pain points. Essentially, onboarding helps businesses communicate with users strategically while highlighting the app’s value and enhancing the user experience.
There is no right answer to this. You need to know the needs and goals of your audience before deciding on the type of app you want. Also, you need to consider the pros and cons of mobile and web apps to see which option is more suitable to you and your business. Of course, if your budget permits, there are plenty of app design companies that can craft both app versions for you.