When you’re looking for a developer for your web application, you may want to consider engaging with a design first. A designer will help flesh out the concepts visually which will be very helpful when it comes time to actually building your application. In this article, we explore some concepts when it comes to creating new software applications.
That phrase is one that all developers come to hate. Guess what, your developer has a great idea for an app too, and he’s heard one too many pitches for a new application that is “going to change the world”. Yes, we’ve heard it too. The number of NDA’s we’ve signed for applications that already exist in the market is amazing. Equally, the number of “good ideas” we’ve heard, only about a handful were awesome, and usually, the person with the idea didn’t have the right kind of funding needed to bring it to life. (And no, we will not go into partnership with you, we have our own ideas for some killer apps that we’re not sharing until we’ve brought them to life).
Awesome! Now it’s time to do some homework. If you’ve established that your idea is fantastic, and you’ve either got a chunk of cash burning a hole in your pocket (seriously), are keen to learn to program yourself, or have convinced someone else to fund this for you, then the first place to start would be creating a UI (user interface) mockup - show us what we are building. An application without an interface is very rare (we’ve built these, but requirements are quite complex, and they’re not consumer applications). A UI mockup is the first part of showing others your idea. A UI mockup and help you work out design issues and eliminate wasteful features.
When you’re designing your application, you need to consider how the user moves from one function to another. What size should the buttons be? What colours work best together? What should this screen have on it? All of these things help a user use your application. You’ll be familiar with applications that felt poorly designed - you would have clicked 100 times just to get to the right place; this happens because the application was not well designed, rarely poor implementation of that design, or when the design was not designed at all!
We always start with whiteboard or paper. This allows us to get a “feel” for how the application will move around. What happens when we click that button? Should there be a pop-up modal, or will a notification bar work better for this? What do we want the user to do next? Paper will help you move things around and re-work small parts until you have a better idea of what will work, and what won’t. Remember, paper is cheaper than designer time.
When creating new web apps we try to involve a few people. Ideally, your team should consist of a key user (or two), the project sponsor (or key lead in your team), project manager, designer and tech lead (or architect). This team should be able to consider most options quite early on. They should also be guiding the respective development team to ensure the vision isn’t lost by feature creep (adding in unnecessary extras), or by a rogue developer. Building an application shouldn’t be a one-person job! Having just one or two people is likely going to lead to disaster (google confirmation bias, you’ll see what we mean).
If you’re looking to have a web application developed, we’d be happy to discuss this with you. We have designers and developers, so can help you at any stage you’re at. If we decide to work with you, we’ll work with you on the project scope for the initial project. Creating an initial project scope ensures that your budget can be clearly set and you know what you’ll be getting at the end. Software projects tend to take longer than expected, and scope changes as the project evolves - this is all normal but needs careful management.