Today technical knowledge of software design and development is not enough to grant the project the sure success. There are many other things involved in the software success, and those are user engagement, user satisfactions, user experiences, and usability of software to solve intended problems with the software.
Users want to solve problems quickly with the best user experiences and incorporation of all success factors described here requires a software design thinking process. In general terms, clients and many developers believe that software designing thinking means planning, wireframe development, and prototyping steps of software development.
Unfortunately, software design thinking is not restricted up to only initial such stages of software development cycle, but it must incorporate right from the beginning of software development stages including:
1. Design Thinking During Audience Research
During audience research, software development team must know the target audience and place empathy to the software end-users at the center to grant the excellent software user experiences.
During target audience research, the team must act as journalists who are investigating by asking following questions of every situation.
- Who is the target audience?
- What solutions do they seek with software?
- When do they plan to seek solutions that software provides?
- Where should they go to begin to end to reach the solution using the software?
- Why should they prefer one part of software over the other?
- How they can achieve their intended goals through the software and help in accomplishing goals of the software design
Thus, the team of software researchers is becoming capable of defining the end-user requirements for software design thinking, software design, and software development process itself.
2. Design Thinking During Project Requirement Analysis and Business Analysis
While interacting with business, you must understand the business side processes. It doesn’t mean that you should have expertise in that business, rather use common sense to learn the vital stages of the business process, which are essential to address in software development to provide great user experiences.
Here, software design thinking team can mingle the end-user requirements with the client or business requirements and push the design thinking process one step ahead.
3. Design Thinking During Wireframe Designing
Wireframe stage of software development is the best opportunity to involve your software development clients or customers in software designing process. Clients can begin giving their inputs/feedback in software wireframe design.
Personal or virtual meeting with sharing of interactive wireframe options is proving true discussion points with clients. You can find active client involvement for the client-centric design thinking process.
Now, software design thinking team has enough scope to create storyboards for each new design idea, and use of traditional whiteboards to interactive wireframe designing software can ease the entire design thinking process for all.
4. Design Thinking During Prototypes Design
The true software design thinking process takes place in prototype designing stage. The team of software designers and developers are giving free reign to their imaginations to grasp the true intentions of customers or end-users of software.
With prototyping options, the entire process becomes iterative, rather than linear and create enough room for refinements along the way. Now, the team of software developers and business representatives have a simulation of the end product or final version of the software.
Modern interactive and dynamic prototyping tools, which are capable of providing user experiences of prototype designs on multiple devices and screens including smartphones and tablets can add true values in design thinking process.
Now, both parties have rough ideas of UIs, UI elements, screen flows, and interactions with different design options. Thus, the focus of the software development process remains on the solution rather than the problems.
5. Design Thinking During Software Design Including Graphics Design
Graphics design components mostly reside at the frontend of the software of kinds including desktop, web, and mobile software and primarily responsible attract the attentions of the onlookers towards the key and significant components. Graphics design can win the first sight love of the software end-users.
Therefore, using alluring yet appropriate UI elements in UI designing is vital, and design thinking process has to determine the size, place, color, and style of each UI component in UI layouts for the entire software/webpages/app screens.
Therefore, mobile app designer or web designers must participate in the design thinking team for the mobile app development or web development projects.
6. Design Thinking During Software Programming
We know graphics components in an UI are useless until the code is behind to make it live and interactive. Therefore, software programmers are mandatory teammates for design thinking process for your software development project. Software programmers or coders are not only making UI interactive but also empathize the actual user needs in each interaction of the UI element.
Each software has more than one type of users such as end-users acting on frontend while software owner or management team is acting on the backend. Therefore, programmers or developers have to address the needs of backend users too. Backend users need the best user experiences, ease of use, and usability just like the frontend users.
Therefore, design thinking process must involve backend requirements. The third type of software users are developers themselves. Yes, during the software programming, maintenance, and update processes developers have to read the code, understand the intentions behind the logic of the code, and modify the code base frequently.
Therefore, design thinking process must involve the thinking of clean, compact, and comprehensive coding practices.
7. Design Thinking During Software Testing
Testing is a kind of approval process to approve the results of previous design thinking processes during the life cycle of the software development. Bug-free, crash free, and smooth sailing in software usages are ways to winning in design and development of software.
You must have QA and test infrastructure and expertise to carry various technical and user tests to offer excellent user experiences, usability, and best performance to your software. Therefore, the involvement of testing team during design thinking process enables it to develop various automated and manual tests at the initial stage of the software development process.
8. Design Thinking During Software Deployment
This very stage of software development process has little role in the software design thinking process. However, hosting for the web and App Store submission for mobile apps are also demanding the involvement of design thinking team. Each app marketplace has some design standards, and software developers must follow it.
For web hosting user experiences, performance, loading, interactions, security, and so many other factors are determining the web design success, and those are somehow relying on the web hosting or content distribution network. Thus, it requires some design thinking process for sure success.
9. Design Thinking During Software Marketing
Marketing involves monetization of software, and it is closely relevant to the target audience. Design thinking process must win the favor of target audience or actual users of software by focusing on their actual requirements.
The first question arises in the design thinking process is that why the target audience should buy the software or buy the products/services using the business software in question. The next question for software marketing team must answer what makes software users use the software or buy the software product by spending their fortunes earned with hard work.
Discounts, vouchers, coupons, gifts, and other marketing incentives may work and may not work in some situations, and only design thinking team can make an influence on the marketing process of the software.
During the entire journey of software development cycle, we have fragmented design thinking process in appropriate bunches, but actual design thinking process involves a few handful of titles to mention such as:
Of course, the approval of test phase of design thinking process by clients indicates the success of the software development process.
This way we can say that design thinking is a kind of software development methodology and could be combined with other agile methodologies to yield the best out of the entire endeavor of software development.
However, software developers coming from established and the leading software development companies only can address design thinking process seriously, not mediocre software outsourcing companies.