Development and design interaction in the IT product lifecycle | Crysberry

Development and design interaction in the IT product lifecycle

Crysberry, Design, Technology

5 September 2019

In the past, the relations between design and development were underestimated substantially. This led to constant issues with the client requirements and results of the development. And this usually resulted in complicated products, which provided users with unpleasant experiences. You can’t imagine how many potentially good products failed and were sunset because of their bad usability. So to prevent your project from the same destiny, we are going to discuss the importance of avoiding the gap between design and development in today’s post.

UX/UI design in a product life cycle

Nowadays, product design is a process of locating more convenience and benefits for end-users. You can create a technically advanced application, which might cause a revolution in technologies. However, if you don’t pay attention to the process of users’ interaction with it, it can easily fail. But, with the help of User Experience design, you can bring your ideas to life with the best benefits for users and you as a product owner.

So what is UX? It’s the process of creating products that provide relevant and significant experiences to users based on their behavior analysis. UX design must identify real users’ motives and improve the way they interact with devices, apps, and websites. This must bring to overall satisfaction about the experience they get interacting with a product.

UI defines anything a user interacts with. For example, screens and touchscreens, keyboards, sounds, and even lights. It also includes visual elements of a product, like buttons and icons. UI elements are added once you have developed the UX part.

There are several stages of UX/UI design process:

UX/UI design process

So, we can say that user experience design embraces lots of aspects to create a product with user interaction of high quality. 

Once UX designer gathers all the details, the process goes in the following steps:

  1. Creation of “personas”, which are a collective image of typical end-users. This helps to define the target audience, and the scope of app requirements. 
  2. Creation of user journeys and stories.
  3. Development of the information architecture to define the main points of what functionality and content. 
  4. Making the first concept sketches of the product and low-fi wireframes.
  5. Drawing high-fidelity wireframes and interactive prototypes.
  6. Conduction of user testing to find out if a user can easily complete different tasks using the design concept. Such testing before the development stage helps to save time and money. It’s easier to recreate prototypes than change the code of the software.

Only after that software developers come into play. 

Development and design teams interaction

Developers must get detailed instructions from the designers to start the work. Here is how we do that:

  • Positioning
  • Grids and rulers:
  • CSS explanation:
  • UI kit:

That’s how we did it before the handy applications appeared:

Messy a bit, right?

UX designers pass everything to the developers, but it’s not the end of their work. They are involved in close cooperation with developers and consult them.

So, a good user experience designer is an advocate for users that defends their interests and conveys their needs to design and development teams. This means that a designer must include everything into the deliverables passed to developers. Otherwise, it will cause the postponed creation process as front-end developers can’t work with what they don’t see. In this case, clients and vendors will lose time and money.

Read also: A mobile application with Unity. The process and the cost.

Benefits of UX/UI for development

Let’s summarize what benefits you can expect from including UX/UI design into the product development process:

  • Resources saving. UX design can save hours and days that your development team would most likely spend on making changes and redesigning the product. According to Experience Dynamics study, UX designers’ involvement can reduce the developer’s time spent on changes by up to 50% and on overall development by 33–50%.
  • Sales boosting. According to the research, UX design can bring more profit and boost sales by up to 75%.
  • Bringing higher ROI. Forrester’s study discovered that UX involvement can bring an impressive return on investment (ROI). It says that every dollar spent on UX brings 100 dollars in return. Additionally, companies, which are focused on UX, can expect customers to pay by 14.4 % more and increases their eagerness to recommend the product to other people by 16.6 %.
  • Improving customers’ experience. Focusing on the importance of responding to customer needs, will help you to earn customer loyalty.

How to set up a Design Team

You can ask how to set up a design team to get more productivity. But, some times assembling your design team requires even more careful consideration than designing a product concept. Before specifying the kinds of designers and the roles they need to occupy, think about the outcomes you expect, the kinds of products and services you are going to develop.

When it comes to digital products, a typical design squad would include a UX lead, UI designers, UX designers, UX researchers, and front-end developers. However, depending on culture and company, all these UX roles can be combined into 1-2 persons. So it’s better to move away from titles and focus on the skills and personalities you may need. 

For example, in just about every engagement, we need help with the following:

  • Conducting user interviews.
  • Doing research.
  • Creating compelling user surveys.
  • Creating lo-fi / hi-fi prototypes, storyboards, and user stories.
  • Running user testing sessions.
  • Developing design concepts and style guides.

However, remember that except within the smallest, leanest startups, one person should never be asked to fill every design function. It’s not possible to be a top performer in all. The best designers can have two strong, fundamental skills and be moderately capable in two more. So, you can start by identifying the core capabilities your team needs, then you can move onto the nice-to-haves.

Keeping this in mind will help to build a healthy, well-balanced, and productive team.