Information on gathering requirements, designing with usability and accessibility in mind, course offerings across campus, U-M app design standards, U-M branding and logo considerations.

The Design Process
Graphics and Logo Considerations
Design Curricula on Campus

Design | University of Michigan

The Design Process

Requirements Gathering

  • First, define the audience(s) on which your app will focus.
  • Then, talk to potential users to determine audience needs for the app, and get a sense of how important each need is to them.
  • Finally, prioritize what functionality you feel you can accomplish in version 1. Remember, there's always a version 2: it’s far better to achieve modest functionality that is well-polished and professionally presented than to overreach on functionality in version 1 but fail to create a user-friendly, engaging app.
Design | University of Michigan

Task Analysis

From your requirements, map out your users’ main tasks and the contingencies in those tasks. This will help you map out the screens your app will need.

User Interface Standards

For platform consistency and to relieve users of the need to relearn the entire interface for every app, many aspects of a platform’s user interface are standardized. Learn and apply these standards to your apps:

Usability and User Research

The most capable, slickest apps will fail if they're not user friendly.

Just as you’ve involved your users at the Requirements Gathering stage, keep involving them in design. You don’t want to waste effort coding something only to find out users don’t like that flow or can’t understand that navigation. Have users simulate using your app throughout the mockup process. They will help you course correct.

You can create mockups on paper or go with digital tools that let you simulate use right on a user’s mobile device. Google on phrases like “mobile app mockup tools” or “mobile app wireframing tools”.


Nearly 1 in 10 people have a disability that affects their use of the internet. Making sure your app works for them increases your user base and is a legal requirement.

Graphics and Logo Considerations

Native Device Graphic Guidelines

University Branding

The U-M Block M is a federally registered trademark held by the Regents of the University of Michigan, and is one of the most widely recognized university logos in the world. The federal registered trademark designation is different from the trademark or “TM” designation, which indicates that the trademark is considered protected, even though federal registration may not have been filed.

Faculty and Staff

All apps built by U-M faculty and staff are required to follow official U-M identity guidelines. The downloads, guidelines, policies and standards for U-M logos and colors are provided on the University of Michigan Identity Guidelines website.


Student-built apps may not use official university logos, such as the Block M. Instead, use the Michigan Student Made logo below. By downloading the mark(s), you agree that you will use them in an appropriate manner that complies with the policies and guidelines set forth on the University of Michigan Identity Guidelines website.

U-M Mobile Student Made Logo

EPS (309KB)    PNG (4KB)    GIF (3KB)

U-M Logo Guidelines

  • The app's icon must feature a solid field of Michigan Blue with a Michigan Maize Block M appearing in the top third. While the U-M logo is federally protected, it is not necessary to include the ‘circle R’ registration mark in this setting. Please see the Logo Guidelines for specific image parameters and see Brand Standards: Templates for acceptable mobile app icon examples.
  • The bottom two-thirds of the app icon design can contain app-specific text and/or imagery. The icon design can be comprised of a 'rich' multicolored icon and/or text, or a 'simple' version that features clean white iconography and/or text.
  • Additionally, U-M brand standard guidelines must be followed within the app.
  • All mobile app icons are subject to approval by the Mobile App review committee per logo, legal, functional, regulatory, and copyright standards. Please contact the U-M Tech Transfer if you have any questions.

Design Curricula on Campus

From graphic design to user experiences to formal computer programming, mobile application development is inherently cross-disciplinary. Several schools and departments on campus offer courses related to the different stages of creating a mobile app. Keep in mind that prerequisites are often enforced for higher level courses.

EECS (CSE Division)—The Computer Science and Engineering Division of the EECS department in the College of Engineering focuses on the nuts and bolts of computer programming and how it relates to mobile app development. Some pertinent classes from the full course list include:

  • EECS 101: Thriving in a Digital World
  • EECS 441: Mobile App Development for Entrepreneurs
  • EECS 481: Software Engineering
  • EECS 497: Senior Design Projects

ARTDES—The Stamps School of Art & Design focuses on the visual design of an app by creating an attractive and cutting-edge look & feel.

UMSI—The School of Information focuses on designing and improving mobile app experiences by studying usability and interface development.

Other places on campus offer courses that may be of value as well. See the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and College of Engineering.