Categories: Business / Mobile Apps


As a mobile app startup you probably have a clear vision for your project. One of your first challenges will be to clearly communicate this vision to a design studio. This is where a design brief comes in. The goal of a brief is to ensure that your studio knows exactly what your goals are, and that they’re aligned on what to deliver, and when.

Sometimes mobile app startup clients will come to us with a brief in hand, while other times we’ll work with them to define their project’s requirements. Whatever your approach, here are the key points a design brief typically touches on.

1 What does your app do, and why do people need it?

Start by defining your app’s purpose. Keep it short, and think about the business case for it. Touch on your company background, your competitors and your intended competitive advantage. All of this helps a design studio home in your exact needs.

One more thing. If your app is heavily task driven (instead of content driven), think about what functionality it will have and what problems it will help users solve. This will guide your studio when they come to transform your vision into reality.

A design brief will help define expectations for your app.

2 Who are your users, and when will they use your app?

Great mobile app design is all about the user. Your studio will need to know who will be using the app, why, and when they’ll be using it. An app targeted at a truck driver on the road will be very different from one aimed at accountants in an office environment. If you haven’t already, interview your ideal users to get an idea of what they need from your app.

3 What content will your app include?

Will your app be purely functional, or will it contain content such as videos, audio and downloadable content? If the latter, you’ll need to figure out what you want this content to look like, and where it’ll come from. Will you be commissioning it, or will your users be the ones creating and uploading it?

4 What should the overall experience be like?

Your design team will handle most of the design legwork, but you can help them by sharing your ideas for what you want your app experience to be like. Do you want your app to be fun, serious or highly efficient? Explorative or highly structured?

Look around for apps that deliver the kind of experience that you want (or don’t want), and share these with your design team.

5 When do you need it, and what’s your budget?

Your budget will have a big impact on exactly what your end product will look like. If you’re on a shoestring, your design studio may recommend building a simplified version of your app and fleshing it out later. Similarly, time constraints are another crucial factor. Complicated apps can take a while to build, and fast-tracking the process often comes with higher fees. If you need an app ASAP, you may need to do away with some functionality or content.

Does your mobile app startup have a design brief?

6 Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility!

With all of the above, give your studio room to offer input and expert advice. They might be able to provide cost-effective or user-friendly alternatives you haven’t considered, or even a whole new approach to your idea that your target audience will love. Design is all about dialog, so let it happen!

If you’re working on a brilliant mobile app startup idea, we’d love to hear from you. We’ve built award-winning apps for startups in Dallas and beyond, and we’re always looking to work with driven people. If that’s you, get in touch!



Touchtap is a digital agency specializing in mobile-first development.We can build your mobile app for you.

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