How to Design a Successful App the First Time Around

Creating a fantastic app means answering a few questions - who is your customer, what are their needs, how are those needs currently being met and what can you do to improve their experience.

The answers to these questions pave the way to a successful app and are generally found during a design sprint where the product to be developed is defined.

Often overlooked, storyboards and storyboarding workshops are vital to a successful product development phase and ultimately, a successful app.


A storyboard is a visual representation of the current problem which your product aims to fix. It is usually the output of a product design workshop with the client and the UX design team.

Initially, the UX design team will use different techniques to extract information needed to create a complete vision of your users’ day to day life. These can include creating personas which represent the different users and defining their user stories, collecting documentation or researching the current processes which your app intends to replace and even doing interviews with potential users. Once this is done, a visual adaptation of your users’ current problem is created - a simplified but rounded representation of your users’ journey.


At Bemo, our design team spends time getting to know your users by doing research and developing personas based on previous workshops within the design sprint. From here, a clear idea of what potential use cases exist and which are the most important for your product are developed.

The most common use case is identified and is used as the basis of the storyboard.


Say you are developing a food delivery app.

  • Research would identify your biggest competitors and how your users interact with these applications.
  • The most common use case might be an evening where your user is too tired to cook.
  • The timeline would stretch from when the user decides to order food all the way to when the user receives the food and potentially as far as leaving a review or recommendation.

Everything from the user's environment to the fact they were too tired to cook would be represented in a concise image set, the storyboard, and from here, the key pain points, features and opportunities can be mapped out.


The process of creating a storyboard is beneficial in itself, forcing you to really connect with your target market and gain an understanding of where your app exists in their life. The output, a well defined storyboard, allows you to identify a few key things -

Your user’s pain points

A pain point is a moment in a user journey where the user experience or process fails. This can be as simple as having to fill out an extra form which takes longer than necessary or even a complete disconnect in the journey which means an incomplete process. Once a storyboard is laid out, it is easy to identify the aspects of the user journey which cause tension for your customer. These points in the journey generally map directly to a feature within your app.

Processes your app can replace

The pain points generally represent areas that your app has the potential to replace. An app whose features replace pain points is often more successful as it shows an understanding of the user and leads to better a user experience.

Processes your app cannot replace

Often when creating an app, clients consider all the ways their customers will use the app to replace current actions. What isn’t considered is the actions which the app cannot replace. This is important to understand as it gives the app a realistic features list and meet users' needs.

The most important features your app needs

Looking at the users' pain points makes it clear which features are crucial to include in your first version of the application. This gives clarity and definition to your features list and app.

Redundant features which could be removed or built into another app

Its easy to get carried away when thinking of all of the possible features your app could provide. Storyboards make it clear which features it should provide, ensuring a rounded product and identifying which features could potentially exist on their own or as part of another application.


At Bemo, we offer a full app development service from product design and branding to development and launch.

We also provide design sprints as a stand alone service which includes workshops and storyboarding sessions. Our focus on great product design means the applications we build meet the users' needs and provide excellent user experiences. 

When creating storyboards, we use different tools depending on the project. Here are few examples of the software we use to create storyboards for our clients.

  • Sketch or Photoshop


  • Pen and paper


  • iPad Pro, Stylus and Adobe Draw


Along with storyboards, the hands on workshops we hold have a number of different outputs, including market research reports, personas and user stories. If you are a business or startup with a great idea, get in touch and let us help you turn it into a successful app.

The images used throughout this article were taken from product development workshops held with our clients.

Interested in booking a design sprint? Learn more here.