Let’s talk about UX design.
In software development, your UX and UI are incredibly important, so much so that they should come first in cross platform application development. You may think the goal of developers is to create a working application by the end of the process – and it is, don’t get us wrong. More than that, though, the application needs to be usable and, to the furthest extent, self-guided.
Your end-users won’t care about what’s happening on the backend – what coding language was used, what framework was implemented – they care about how it functions and how it feels to navigate. You should, too. Good UX and UI gives cross platform applications consistency and functionality across all operating systems, ensuring that they not only behave natively but look good doing it.
The Importance of UX-First Development
We believe it is important to complete UX/UI design prior to beginning the development process. Creating the frontend before the backend may seem out of order to you, a bit like decorating a cake before you’ve baked it. Unlike baking, having the user experience mapped out and a clear idea regarding user interface design gives developers a clear strategy moving forward. Think of it like drafting a blueprint for building a house.
Before the process of cross platform application development can begin, your development team must have a clear idea of user personas, their needs and how they will access and use your software application. For a mobile-first approach where your app will be accessed and used across multiple platforms such as Android or iOS, using a cross platform framework such as React can create an app that works well on multiple platforms.
UX/UI design for a product that will be accessed on different devices must be responsive. Whether a user is on a desktop or a mobile phone, the experience needs to be the same. Responsive development allows the interface to adapt to different screen sizes without altering the usability or navigation in any way.
Each stage in UX/UI design is integral to the overall success of the end-product. Without taking time to do this part of cross platform application development correctly, the software you’re left with in the end will not be an application your users enjoy working with or find easy to use.
First, we need to establish how users will navigate the application. To help us create a model of user experience, we use flowcharts. Flowcharts describe the user journeys for different use cases. No matter the OS or device, we want to maintain similar user journeys and a logical navigation experience.
To create these flowcharts, we analyze the behavior of your users (or determine the path of least resistance) to help us organize information in the most advantageous way, taking into account time and choice. We want to ensure that the most immediate user needs are met quickly and easily, and users can complete tasks with little resistance.
Flowcharts are a helpful tool for developers and project stakeholders alike, helping them visualize the scope of the application practically. By taking the time needed to address all use cases, you’ll also be able to define a sitemap by the end of the process. Having a concise list of the pages required will be helpful during wireframing.
While flowcharts analyze the experience across the product, wireframes are used to organize content on specific pages. At this stage, we focus on how layout facilitates functionality throughout a user journey. We identify the purpose of each page in an app and how to arrange information to best achieve that end. During the process of cross platform application development, functionality shouldn’t be sacrificed for the sake of accessibility, and carefully crafting strong layouts for every page in the application ensures that, regardless of platform, the product will look and feel as intended.
Wireframing happens early in the process, and it’s important for you to remember they don’t need to look pretty. They’re more like a template or a schematic for each page found in the flowcharts. At this stage, we are only focused on making sure we’ve included all the content, and that it’s in the right place. We look at information pathways, the hierarchy of content and how we are utilizing space.
Creating a Style Guide
At this point in UX design, we need to determine a style guide for the software moving forward. Creating a style guide helps us and our clients establish elements of the design that will match your brand standards. Doing this now will provide a means for maintaining a unified appearance throughout the application.
Style guides can be quite extensive, designating how elements and other components will look. The form of anything that could possibly come up must be considered. This includes buttons, badges, tables, banners, the navigation menu and so much more. Style guides also dictate the typography and colors the app will use.
From the creation of flowcharts, wireframes and a thorough style guide, UX/UI design culminates with the development of prototypes. Prototyping is used for a variety of learning and testing situations in the creation of almost everything, and UX is no different. The intention is to create scaled-down, flat illustrations of the application to demonstrate how it will look and feel.
They’re experimental in nature, allowing us to validate design ideas and assumptions and easily refine and make changes to our design concept. Prototypes can be shown to multiple people for testing and feedback, and clients get a chance to see how their software idea will appear once it’s brought to life. Going into development you’ll have confidence that the end-product will be exactly as you’ve planned and developers will be better equipped to develop a software application that meets your standards.
End-to-end Cross Platform Application Development
A good piece of software requires taking a structured approach. Before backend development can begin, we take the necessary steps to ensure we’re ready to move forward. UX/UI design is integral to user satisfaction and functionality – if you rush through this stage of development, it will take much longer to get software up and running. The development team needs to understand how an app will look and feel just as much as you need to see your ideas validated.
Vice Software ensures our clients receive the highest quality UX services. We create a streamlined, user-centric experience for your application that focuses on transparency and proven best practices of design. By focusing only on what you and your users need, we are able to create a graphically successful and cost-effective product. Our approach to cross platform application development guarantees that we’ll be able to quickly build a product that exceeds the goals of the project, both in terms of functionality and usability.
Are you looking to build the next great app? With us, you can reap the benefits of a UX-first development methodology and get an app in front of your users as soon as possible. Get a quote from Vice Software today, and see what we can do for you.