Bryan Frederic - Graphic Designer

Software Development and The Gift of Design

Code is the body and design is the soul!

Everywhere we look, with the evolution of the digital landscape we see captivating, intuitive designs. But behind those designs of every website and application you use is the code. These two elements are linked, and both are required for the end-user to have a seamless experience. In this blog, we will look at the importance of design and its relationship with coding.

What is design?

Design can be considered as, a curated space consisting of specific shapes, sounds, and images that express or stimulate emotion or action from an individual or group through viewing and or interaction. Design is the process of envisioning and planning the creation of things, whether those things be objects, buildings, or interactive systems such as applications. Design is user-centered and focuses on creating solutions for humans. Some may see design as art but there is a science to it as well. Art specifically is about expressing one’s ideas and feelings and even though design does this, the prime objective is to solve problems through creating an item or better yet an experience!

Design and Coding

In the world of UI and UX design, it’s important to know that these two elements and coding are inseparable. Design and coding go together like peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, sun, and moon…I think you get the idea. The two disciplines are complementary. For the sake of discussion however we will focus on Design, or as the title suggest the gift of design. This blog will look at 3 specific aspects of design; Design Emotion, Design Perception, and Design Decision, and how these aspects play a role in software development.

In a world that is driven by social media, marketing, and the all-around focus on the consumer, it can be rightfully said that we are greatly influenced by what we visually consume. This diet impacts our habits and patterns, now more than ever we as a civilization are continuously exposed and bombarded by visual stimuli. Within the last 100-200 years an emphasis on what we see and how it impacts us has been given greater prominence and is estimated that of our 5 senses, visual information accounts for about 80% while the other 20% is made up of the other 4 senses. The visual aspect of design has a strong emphasis placed on it because of this. To further illustrate the point, it is estimated that 1 billion persons use Instagram and TikTok, and 444 million use Pinterest. The reason is very simple, persons are generally more stimulated by what they see. The visual has always been one of the most precise ways to easily inform, direct and engage individuals and crowds.

Design interacts with the subconscious on a higher level than we oftentimes realize. A case study done by the University of Michigan, states that "the visual cortex controls more than interpreting images. The visual cortex actually has decision-making power." Design can influence mood and give direction which ultimately leads to decisive action. But "What does this have to do with software development?" you might ask. Let’s break it down; when you have your brilliant idea for your project, app, or website you may have thought about the general look and feel, or maybe not. As you fully embark on the software development journey you may be thinking all that matters is the final product, but think of it this way; if you created the best app that benefits your users in so many ways, but it isn’t visually pleasing or easy to navigate how will you convince your target audience that your product is right for them? Having the right design for your project speaks to consumers on a subconscious level; helping them to make the decision to choose you.

The process of design

The design process is made up of UI and UX design. UI design is concerned with optimizing the product for users for them to enjoy their experience using it and UX design ensures that every aspect of a user’s experience happens with intent. The design process plays a pivotal role in software development as it considers the end-users. Understanding your target audience is the first thing designers should take note of. Once they understand them, they’ll be able to design an application that addresses your audience’s pain points and visually stimulates them; these two things will be the driving factor to people choosing your product.

The next step would be to understand what users want to achieve with your application and visually map out the entire interaction users would have with the application. The next step is to create sitemaps, user journeys, and stories which are all essential to design the digital product at a structural level (known as wireframing). Once this and all prototypes are done the outcome is passed to developers to build out your user-centric application.

Through the design process, designers have the capability to make your product visually pleasing and to make sense to the user which is important to touch on the three aspects of design previously mentioned.

But is design really that important to the software development process?

If you haven’t seen the importance of UI/UX design in software development yet I’ll break it down and further explain some of the advantages.

Advantage 1: Design guides software developers

Design helps software developers to keep their focus on the functionalities and technical implementation of their development project, instead of having to visualize the user interface. Design specification documents, prototypes, and layouts; which would include product information, user interactions, flows, behaviors, colors, and fonts to name a few; would be used by developers as a guide.

Advantage 2: Design helps reduce the cost of development

Having talented and experienced UI/UX designers help reduce the cost of your software development project. How? Prototyping and usability testing by designers helps developers to focus on the functionalities of your project, which saves you both time, and money.
Having a focus on design can reduce feature creep and provide better product design which is also helpful for the front-end development team.

Advantage 3: Design improves business metrics 

By investing in your design and creating an easy-to-use app/website for users makes them more interested in your product. Metrics such as user retention, customer loyalty, and productivity are all influenced by having a great design and user interface.

Here are some key takeaways

Design has a huge impact on us as humans. From the emotions it evokes to the decisions it helps us to make, design is what greatly influences our perception of a product. Take for instance the idea of luxury. As The Psychology of Product Packaging pointed out "We all want to believe that consumers make decisions on products and services strictly based on merit, with the best one winning. Despite that hope, psychologists and retailers agree that in many cases this just isn’t true. Quality aside, sometimes the flashier, prettier, or sexier product wins the day."

In software development, design is important as well. Developers are responsible for turning your concept into a ready-to-use application but without efficient and effective UI/UX design your application wouldn’t be user-friendly. Without the design element, your software developers may struggle with giving your application the look and feel you desire or simply not have the time to get to the nitty-gritty design details, leading your project to be unfit for your intended market.

Having knowledge of the way design impacts persons shows you why it is a gift that can’t be replaced in the software development process. Learn more about how design can elevate your project by reading our blog, Usability: How this buzzword can make or break your product. 

Design and coding go hand in hand to provide the best user experience possible for your target audience. The Geekseat team is equipped with experienced UI/UX designers capable of working with you to make your vision a reality. If you have questions about the design of your application build, Contact Us and our team will assist you along every step of your software development journey. 

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