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Mobile App Design History

Mobile App DesignLearn basics of Mobile App Design

Mobile app design has to do with the drawing/sketching or planning of how a mobile app should look like and how it should work. At, you can learn how to design mobile app from expert live streamers, you also have a chance to ask streamers questions and get answers in real time. To start learning mobile app design, visit and search for mobile app designs.


Mobile App Design Introduction

Mobile app design is the sketch/drawing or planning of how a mobile app should look like and how it should work. Since the launching of iPhone and app store in 2008 as well as the launching of android play store in 2012, app design and development have become an interesting market. The need of apps is ever on the increase as more application of mobile apps is being discovered. Design for iOS and Design for Android app have been the main focus in mobile app design.

Design for iOS has to do with app design for Apple mobile devices like iPhones and iPADs. Design for Android on the other hand, has to do with app design for Androids devices. Material design whose codename is Quantum Paper is a design language which was developed by Google in 2014. Material design helps Android mobile app designers to design apps which are supported by an Android version of 2.1 and above. There was initially an issue of compatibility with different version of android, but with the introduction of material design in Lollipop 5.0, all versions above 2.1 where supported.

History of Mobile App Design

The history of mobile app design can be dated back to 1980s when the Psion organizer, a pocket computer was launched. Two versions I and II were launched in 1984 and 1986 respectively. Version II was considered the first PDA because of its combination of electronic diary and searchable address database in a small device. It lasted for about 25 years before the adoption of highly capable smartphones especially that of iOS and Android came about in 2010. It was a 14X9 centimeters device which could easily fit into pockets. This gave birth to its liberal definition as a pocket computer. With its 2 kilobytes of RAM and 4 kilobytes of ROM back then, it was regarded as the biggest achievement. The Psion device has a battery lifespan of six months.

Psion left its legacy on the world of mobile app design software but not hardware. Although developed in the 1980s, Psion was able to thrive and produce in multiple quantities among multiple devices in early 1990s. In 1990s many personal assistant devices were powered by EPOC, an operating system of Psion. This operating system gives these devices more sophistication than that of the Psion organizer. Some applications which could be downloaded on the EPOC operating system include word processor and spreadsheets.

EPOC gradually became the progenitor/forerunner of the Symbian operating system, which was a popular operating system for Nokia smartphones before they finally switched to Windows Phone operating system. Other manufacturers like Samsung and Motorola also used the Symbian operating system before switching to Android OS.

After Psion, the next mobile app design to be released is Palm Pilot PDA on March 10, 1997. Users were given an option of 128 or 512 kilobytes of built-in memory, but add up to 2 megabytes of RAM via memory slot which was very expensive back then. It has a 160x160 pixel monochrome screen. This gave birth to commonly used features today like data synchronization and touchscreen.

In 1997 the snake gaming app on Nokia 6110 was born. This was a major innovation in mobile gaming app design. While Nokia 6110 offers some business professional and other users apps like spreadsheet and email, it offers entertainment to it users with the snake mobile game. This is a simple but popular game users can use to occupy themselves while waiting at the airport or train station. This gaming app thus set a perfect model for later gaming app like Angry Birds and Bejeweled

Mobile App Design Tools

The use of mobile apps is on the increase and more designers are required to design mobile apps to meet this demand. Projects of mobile app design would be almost impossible without the right tools. Selecting the right tool depends on the size of project, team, and preference. Let's take a look at some mobile app design tool that will be very useful for almost any project.

  • If you are trying not to get your hands dirty with coding, this is the right tool for you. creates prototypes of what your app looks and feels like without any coding. You can also test your prototype on multiple devices as well as use Dropbox sync, Adaptive UI libraries, Material Design UI Library and Offline mode.
  • Sketch: Sketch is gaining popularity and is wrestling with Adobe Photoshop. Sketch is built for modern graphic designers and you can use this tool to quickly edit your graphics and focus on another area of your app design.
  • Marvel: Marvel is another prototyping and collaboration tool. It allows designers to create flows with click and drag, make prototype come alive with transitions and options to choose how to trigger transitions. It is also compatible with .psd files, which allows designers to upload designs without conversion. Designers also have access to plugins for more functionality.
  • Balsamiq Mockups: Need to brainstorm for an idea? This is the right tool. Balsamiq Mockups is a wireframe tool to work smarter and faster. You do not need to be a design expert to use Balsamiq Mockups because it offers flexibility to users.
  • HotGloo: This is a UX, wireframe and prototyping tool. It gives you total control to build wireframe for the web, mobile, and wearable. Hootgloo helps you through planning processes and to test drive interaction. You can also collaborate with other designers.

Education Ecosystem Mobile App Designers

Are you considering a career in mobile app design? If yes is your answer then, your best option is Education Ecosystem, an online streaming platform to learn from experts. Let’s list the top 5 mobile app designers on Education Ecosystem.

Project Creators!

Mobile App Design Best Books

The best way to start learning Mobile App Design is to read books and stream Mobile App Design projects on Education Ecosystem. Let us quickly go through some books that will help you walk through the path of mobile app design. These books are categorized into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. So pick the book that best suits you.

  • Book cover

    App Design, App Programming and Development for Beginners

    by Steve Ive

    Learn the Fundamentals of Designing, Programming and Developing Mobile App in Detailed Explanation. After reading this book, you can create your first mobile app and launch to the app market right away.

    In this book, you will learn how to estimate cost before designing your app, the guidelines on designing a professional user interface, tool, and codes to build an app and how to build one yourself.

  • Book cover

    Beginner's Guide For App Programming, App Development, App Design

    by Steve Clinton

    Beginner's Guide For App Programming; App Development, App Design and learn the basic foundations of App programming so you can start programming your own app starting from tomorrow!

    In this book, you will learn the fundamentals of app programming, development, and designs. You will also learn how to program your own app.

  • Book cover

    App Design and Development for Beginners

    by Jens Muller & R. Roger Remington

    If you want to try your hand at developing apps for Android or iPhone, but you don't know where to start. This book will give you the firm foundation you need for success in the competitive field of app development. Here's what you'll learn:

      How do I choose: Android or iOS?
      The foundational elements of Apple and Android app development
      Beginner apps and the basics of coding
      Quality control measures to ensure your apps work
      Marketing your apps effectively
      And much more!

  • Book cover

    Designing Great iPhone Apps

    by Josh Clark

    Whether you're a designer, programmer, manager, or marketer, Tap worthy teaches you to "think iPhone" and helps you ask the right questions -- and get the right answers -- throughout the design process. You'll explore how considerations of design, psychology, culture, ergonomics, and usability combine to create a tap worthy app. Along the way, you'll get behind-the-scenes insights from the designers of apps like Facebook, USA Today, Twitterrific, and many others.

  • Book cover

    Build Mobile Websites and Apps for Smart Devices

    by Earle Castledine

    This book is a practical guide for front-end web designers and developers. You’ll discover a fun and fresh approach to mobile web design and development, with enormous scope for opportunity.

    Mobile web development is changing rapidly, with a greater emphasis on modern touchscreen smartphones. By following the advice in this book, you can be sure you’re learning the skills you need to make the most of this new technology.

  • Book cover

    Designing the Mobile User Experience

    by Barbara Ballard

    Mobile Platforms, Design, and Apps for Social Commerce is a critical reference source that overviews the current state of personal digital technologies and experiences. Highlighting fascinating topics such as Machine learning applications, social networks, mHealth applications and mobile MOOCs, this publication is designed for all academicians, students, professionals, and researchers that are interested in discovering more about how the use of mobile technologies can aid in human interaction.

  • Book cover

    Mobile Platforms, Design, and Apps for Social Commerce

    by Jean-Éric Pelet

    Mobile Platforms, Design, and Apps for Social Commerce is a critical reference source that overviews the current state of personal digital technologies and experiences. Highlighting fascinating topics such as M-learning applications, social networks, mHealth applications and mobile MOOCs, this publication is designed for all academicians, students, professionals, and researchers that are interested in discovering more about how the use of mobile technologies can aid in human interaction.

  • Book cover

    Interaction Design Solutions for Developers

    by Greg Nudelman

    This book explains the importance of an excellent User Interface Design and tips to distinguish your apps from your competition. This book is suitable for both beginner-level and high-end Android developers. It explains what most of the books avoid i.e. steps to write a UI for complex apps. The sample codes will help you learn the concepts in an effective manner.

  • Book cover

    Turning Ideas and Sketches into Beautifully Designed Apps

    by Ian G. Clifton

    Now, leading Android app design expert Ian G. Clifton shows you how to make your apps come alive and how to deliver apps that users will want, love, and buy!

    Clifton shows how to create effective designs, organize them into Android components, and move gracefully from idea, to wireframe, to comp, to finished app. You’ll learn how to bring your own voice, personality, and style to your app designs; how to leverage advanced drawing techniques such as PorterDuff compositing; how to test designs on diverse Android devices; and much more.

Mobile App Design Projects

A good way to transform yourself from beginner’s level to an expert in mobile app design is to get yourself involved in projects. There are numerous mobile app design projects you can follow. You can also find mobile app design on Education Ecosystem. If you are interested in finding a mobile app design project, check the Education Ecosystem mobile app design Project Creators section for more information.

This repository contains a Xamarin.Android app project based on the App Service Mobile Apps quick start project, which you can download from the Azure portal. These projects have been enhanced by the addition of offline sync, authentication, and push notification functionality.

Explore this project!

Sample project from Mobile Web App Design book. Contribute to mobile1 development by creating an account on GitHub.

Explore this project!

Mobile app design project for the Iron Yard week 7. There three main pieces of the UI for this app which includes newsfeed, leaderboards, and stats, and chat.

Explore this project!

A design of a simple Mobile app. Everything from SRS to Sequence Diagrams to Screenshots.

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Using the Phone gap Developer App and this should eventually be a complete Mobile App Design course for High School Students.

Explore this project!

Mobile App Design Community

The community of mobile app design is big and the need for mobile apps is on the increase. There are a handful of websites you can find a community and become part of it. Let’s list some Mobile app design community you can join.

  • Android Community This community is dedicated to Android app designers to help them improve their skills and also, to meet up the ever-changing trend in the world.
  • Mobile Forum App A community completely dedicated to the growth of the data visualization and argues one thing, “Is Data Visualization a science or an art?” They offer regular meetups to answer the question.
  • Education Ecosystem Here you can find all the awesome Project Creators who love to share their knowledge and opinion about the mobile app design.

Mobile App Design Gurus

  • Ian G. Clifton

    Ian G. Clifton

    A leading Android app design expert. He has written two books, Implementing Material Design for Developers and Turning Ideas and Sketches into Beautifully Designed Apps.

  • Greg Nudelman

    Greg Nudelman is a mobile app design expert. Mobile Experience Strategist and CEO of DesignCaffeine, Inc. For more than 15 years he has helped clients such as eBay, WebEx, Wells Fargo, PayPal, Safeway, Cisco, IBM, Associated Press, and Groupon amass millions of satisfied customers. Greg is an internationally acclaimed design workshop leader who authored Designing Search: UX Strategies for eCommerce Success (Wiley, 2011) and has contributed to a half-dozen UX design books.

    Greg Nudelman
  • Cameron Banga

    Cameron Banga

    He is currently working as lead designer and project manager at 9magnets, LLC, a small mobile application development studio that he co-founded in 2010. One the books he has written is mobile interface design which was published by Addison-Wesley in spring 2014.

  • Boisy G. Pitre

    Boisy G. Pitre is a renowned mobile design expert. He wrote the book, Swift for Beginners: Develop and Design. Boisy is a computer scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, author, speaker, professional software developer, musician, computer historian, and retrocomputing hobbyist

    Boisy G. Pitre
  • Kyle Mew

    Kyle Mew

    He has been programming since the early eighties and has written for several technology websites. He has also written three radio plays and three other books on Android development. He is not just an expert, he is a Veteran.

Mobile App Design Conferences

As demand for mobile app continues to grow, you can find conferences to attend. Let’s list some of the top mobile app design conferences you can attend.