What Software Developers can Learn from UX Designers

1024 857 Jack Corker

Reliability, functionality and speed: each are key areas that developers must focus on when building applications or websites. In an age of convenience and vast choice, users are quick to dismiss and move on if these expectations are not met.

According to reports, 25% of apps downloaded on mobiles are used only once following download, with technical problems deemed the primary reason due to the app crashing or slow loading times. 

In the same vein, 47% of users abandon websites after viewing a single page, citing slow load times and confusing layout as two of the biggest reasons.

These stats highlight the need for developers and designers to work in tandem to produce better software architecture – and this is where paying attention to user experience can help.

Why is UX important in software development?

Software performance and stability are advantageous for UX design – and it is the job of the developer to deliver these. You can achieve this by understanding the terms and intricacies of the user experience and staying in tune with the customer journey throughout the development process.

In doing so, you gain a clear understanding of why design is crucial for creating a streamlined software framework; and, by anticipating the intended use of the software, you are prepared to resolve any unexpected errors that arise.

As an example: slow page loading times have a significant impact on the user experience. Researching and selecting a suitable hosting platform early on in the development process reduces the potential of performance issues arising.

UX design offers in-depth insight into any challenges encountered during the development phase and ways in which to overcome them. Enhancing usability, accessibility and feel of the product ensures complete user satisfaction.

No wastage of resources and fewer errors

Incorporating the needs of the user during development significantly reduces the chances of encountering errors in the latter stages of the product journey. By creating mockups and prototypes, you save considerable time and resources. 

Additionally, a basic understanding of UX design can help with usability and accessibility checks. Enabling you to establish what works and what doesn’t before building commences, and ensuring an efficient development process.

One such problem that can be avoided through incorporating UX design in the development process is Feature Overload.

The Pareto Principle – also known as the 80/20 rule – suggests that 80% of results in a system come from 20% of the causes. Put another way; 80% of users will use only 20% of a system’s features.

A great example of this is the television remote. The average television remote control has around forty buttons, but most people use five of those buttons at most.

Without proper UX research and design there’s a high possibility that developers will continue to add extra features that exceed those necessary for the functionality of the original idea. Additional features can be included but hidden, reducing potential confusion. 

Software performance and stability

In order for developers to build applications at peak performance and functionality, it is helpful to know what current technical limitations and power capabilities exist. Combining this insight with knowledge of function and design is incredibly useful for developers. This is where close collaboration between UX designers and developers can have a big impact on the end product. 

Using prototypes and design specs gives UX designers a powerful way to communicate user needs and expectations with developers. Developers should also be encouraged to inform designers of what technical limitations exist in bringing their design to life. There’s no point investing in moving forward with designs where there are no technical capabilities to support these. By contrast, there may be powerful technical capabilities that designers are not aware of that could further enhance their product.

Information architecture helps developers as well as users

Information architecture refers to the creation of structure within a website or application that lets you understand where you are within a system and where you need to be in order to get the information you are looking for. Examples of this include menu navigation, categories and sitemaps.

Richard Saul Wurman, the founder of modern information architecture, suggests that the way in which information is presented can be more important than the information itself.

Wurman’s views substantiate the importance of considering the user experience when developing systems and building with view to streamline and optimise the journey for the customer.

Increasing the speed of development

Taking into consideration all of the above and using them to inform the design and development of software will significantly increase development speed and reduce the probability of a negative user experience.

Through research into the needs and expectations of the user, you gain a clear view of what the end product will look like. Building, testing and improving the design and functionality throughout the development process ensures that the software is reliable, functional and efficient. 

The result? Higher levels of repeat usage and reduced bounce and abandonment rates that continue to plague apps and websites, even now.

From proposition all the way to final product, we can help you design intuitive and engaging digital products. Our team of designers, innovators and practitioners are highly experienced and can work hand-in-hand with developers to achieve your vision. 

To find out more, call us on 020 3740 6260