Software solutions are comprehensive products and they depend largely on the expertise of specialists building them. It is important that the effectiveness of a solution is combined with user-friendliness and design. It is believed that much of any solution’s success depends on the design thinking that implies a user interface. We have collected and answered five of the most important questions on the impact of design thinking in custom software solution development.

To what extent does software solution development depend on design thinking?

Design is essential when developing software solutions. Any custom software has its design that users need. How much does software depend on the design? To answer this question, it is necessary to understand what kind of software is developed. The software doesn’t depend on the design that displays data in a simple form, such as tables, simple charts, etc. In this case, ready-made templates are applied. In all other cases, design needs to be drawn.

If we talk about whether a designer’s thinking should be restrained, then we usually don’t do it, but we explain to the designer that there are certain rules that need to be followed (for example, sometimes design should not overload the system because its performance is low). If you don’t go beyond that, then it is possible, or in our opinion even necessary, not to limit the designer.

Design thinking and the software development process are related. Products are developed based on certain criteria that are defined not by the user, but by others. When these features are not defined well and change during the software development process, the design thinking ends up determining the structure of the creation and implementation process.

There are cases when requirements for the product are specific, and the goal of the development is mostly the quality of implementation of certain solutions rather than the search for tasks for a solution. In such cases, design thinking works against the rational use of project resources.

Is it necessary to control and restrain design thinking and ideas?

Design thinking is aimed at “developing innovative products and services” – this is what it should be constrained with. If a task, for example, is to optimize the software product workflow, then the specialist’s critical approach will provide a cheaper and more qualitative result. And a natural constraint for design thinking is within the final project budget – not all ideas can be and are worth implementing and testing.

How does the success of a program product depend on design thinking?

When a new product is being developed, there is no clear understanding of what will be implemented and how. Composing a technical requirement specification and after that changing it in the course of work becomes senseless. At the same time, creative identification of tasks is an approach that reduces the ambiguity of the product goals. This is what allows the successful implementation of a product in terms of design thinking.

Design thinking can be restricted with the realization of certain product features or the view of the product from the user’s perspective. In the second case, there is the opportunity to build a great solution, and a design approach provides this opportunity. However, the development budget needs to be increased as well, which is why a commercial product should not only rely on design thinking to be successful.

Leobit develops advanced technologies and solutions for customers in Europe and the USA. We create solutions for the automation of processes in various areas of business. If you are interested in how to make your business better, write to us.

Can bad design ruin a brilliant product? 

On one hand, it is unlikely because a software product is created by a team, and the extent to which it will be successful depends on how the team was assembled and that is on the project manager. Even if the design is not great, but the program itself is, then it is unlikely that the product will be unsuccessful.

A designer, of course, can ruin a product, which can make it less successful, but it is unlikely that it will be completely unsuccessful. The team is assembled in such a way that there is enough expertise to develop a great product, even if the design budget is small. A more likely scenario for a product failing is if it encounters challenges in its release to market, due to, for example, poor marketing, lack of finances, or not enough promotion.

On the other hand, bad design can damage a brilliant product. When designers are interviewed at a software development company, there is a portion of the interview dedicated to testing their ability to design efficient systems that perform well in both emergency and non-emergency situations. It is possible for a system to be built that is non-tolerant to accidents and failures and a software product will function the same way in both tolerant and non-tolerant systems.

Is it possible to cultivate a design standard that creates a competitive advantage for a company? 

Yes, it’s possible. Many companies organize or take part in hackathons with the goal of creating prototypes (of the designer code) to implement new ideas or experiment with the latest technologies. It broadens the company’s product range application as well as its technology stack, which provides access to a wider sales and labor market.