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How does a business analysis improve the software development process?

Imagine that you have an idea for a digital product, budget for it, and maybe you have chosen a company that performs the software development process for you. You want to start working on it and see the first results. You can’t wait for it! You are convinced that there is nothing that can go wrong. But is it a good idea to start coding your application right away?

Practice shows that even the best-polished ideas may have defects or gaps that could be critical from the end-user and business point of view. The pre-implementation business analysis comes with help here. It is a useful tool that will help you collect information on various areas – on the functional requirements, characteristics of the market to which the product is dedicated, the end-user needs and expectations, the sphere of finance, or market competition. Of course, you cannot forget about the risks, the cost of the project, and the work schedule. It sounds a little like a buckle that holds the whole project together, which is what business analysis is.

The role of business analysis in the software development process

Business analysis should start at the very beginning of the project. Definitely, before the development & UX/UI teams fully jumped into the software development process. However, it doesn’t mean that software developers and UX/UI designers should be omitted. On the contrary, their experience brings great value to the business analysis of a new project. These people have already solved many technical and business problems, and they can handle them at this early stage of a new product. Also, participating in the analysis at this point brings long-term benefits to the project. The whole team – especially UX/UI designer and Project Manager – are crucial roles during this phase. A full understanding of the product idea and its specific requirements will direct the team in the right direction and help to design tailor-made solutions in the future.

A business analyst usually handles business analysis, but sometimes this role is also handled by a Project Manager with a business analysis skillset. This role is a bridge between the client (business part) and the development team (technical part). A business analyst has a challenging task. He has to translate business requirements into functional and, consequently, partly technical requirements.

How to conduct an effective business analysis?

Business analysis is a step towards creating a product that will satisfy your customers and surprise the competition. You can follow the sequence of steps below to perform the analysis.

Interviews with the client

Usually, it is a series of smaller workshops. During those sessions, business analysts or dedicated project managers cover questions about the purpose of the product, user’s expectations, competition, and the functions that the ready solution should have.

To conduct workshops, various tools and methods available on the market may be used, depending on the area you want to explore. However, all of them focus on understanding, vision, product, users, finances, competition, and risk.

Understanding

A common understanding of the experience and strengths of the parties cooperating in the project allows defining the conditions for future cooperation and competence areas. You may be asked, for example, about your industry experience or market research. All of this to better understand your needs.

Sample questions:

Vision

​Defining the vision and the roots of the product idea allows you to define the long-term goal of the product’s functioning on the market and better plan its implementation and development strategy. In addition, understanding the high-level ideas of creating a product will positively influence the understanding of your needs by the team and a better fit.

Sample questions:

Product

This part of the analysis focuses on analyzing the individual functionalities of the product to define the connections and relations between them, focuses on how users will perceive the product, and how the whole idea relates to the vision of the whole product. As a result, you can expect a clear image of your product that your audience would like to see.

Sample questions:

Users

By analyzing the part dedicated for end-users, you can discover what they expect from your product, their needs, and how the product will meet them. It is also important to understand how they will interact with your product which allows the whole team to focus on the critical parts of the product from the user’s point of view.

Sample questions:

Finances

The financial analysis is an opportunity for the entire team to understand the possibilities and financial expectations with which you start the project and will allow you to understand the earning plan on the finished product to design it more effectively.

Sample questions:

Competition

By taking a closer look at the competition operating on the same market will enable you to approach the design of a new solution more efficiently. This helps avoid making similar mistakes as other companies’ solutions which allows you to focus on what is positively perceived by users.

Sample questions:

Risk

Risk-free projects don’t exist – prediction of as many risks as possible and preparation of a plan for risk mitigation in the early stage of the project is the key to success in any project. At this stage, you will be able to understand what challenges you will face with your team while creating a product.

Sample questions:

Technical

A discussion at an early stage of a project implementation focused on the technological possibilities and limitations is as important as analyzing business assumptions. Many technical problems can appear due to the complexity of application features and constraints imposed by the selected technology. By analyzing these parameters, you and the team will know what you face and which elements will require more of your attention.

Sample questions:

Analysis of the collected information

Initially, all the team members, especially the Product Owners, should carefully review the collected information. All inconsistent elements which require details or closer inspection should be pointed out. It is also the time to clarify the elements that raise questions and doubts.

Final team involvement

After analyzing the collected information, the whole team gets involved. Depending on a project in a project can be evolved iOS and Android developers (for mobile applications) or back-end and front-end developers (for web applications). For any project, there is always a PM, UX/UI designer, and tester involved in ensuring the quality and standards of the produced software. Team together reviews the information again to ensure that they can bring value to the final product and create solutions at a satisfactory level of quality. 

Creating an analysis document

Once the team double-checks the collected requirements, a person responsible for the project documentation should double-check and include all the details. This document contains all information obtained from the client about the project. All requirements, expectations, and test results are included in it. Furthermore, the document should be a valid benchmark for the entire team’s activities from the start of software development. 

software development process roadmap
software development process roadmap

Creating the scope of the project – why would software developers be grateful?

Collected requirements with the help of the development team and project manager are reflected in the project’s scope – the scope of work to be performed for the product to be considered finished. The project scope for IT projects is reflected in the project backlog. It is a list of all the tasks necessary to produce a ready-to-use product. 

Keeping in mind the importance of an in-depth description of all the needs, a properly crafted scope of the project could dramatically decrease the development time. Software testers would quickly jump into the project, ensuring that software quality is on edge. Software developers will make fewer mistakes. The need for changes will potentially be drastically reduced, positively impacting the project budget.

Software development life cycle – how to schedule the whole analysis

This step includes the estimation of working time and the necessary budget and setting the criteria for the acceptance of the system by the client. Then, graphically, the project’s scope can be overlaid on the timeline in a software development process roadmap.

At the end of this process appears a set of requirements necessary for the implementation of your application. At this point, it is essential to verify and validate requirements again. Therefore, the entire team focuses on monitoring the appropriate quality of the conditions. According to the best standards, the requirements must be consistent – as flawless as possible, technically feasible, and testable. If these criteria are not met, they will soon require programming improvement, leading to additional time, budget, and resources investment.

When sending an inquiry, the focus is usually on the solution, while the software development process is a highly complex set of tasks. Without being aware of the flow of such a process and trying to predict possible complications, you risk additional costs and possible extension of the implementation time, which is very valuable.

The pre-implementation business analysis brings several benefits:

The benefits of business analysis in the software development process
The benefits of business analysis in the software development process

Summary

Is it possible to implement an IT project without pre-implementation business analysis? Yes, the current market proves that it is possible but challenging due to the risks that increase with the project’s scope. In the case of large and complex projects, a pre-implementation analysis is a necessity and standard. With simpler ones, IT expert advice and close cooperation between companies may be enough. It should be noted, however, that this will not replace a professionally conducted analysis. The question is, is it worth counting on luck in this matter?

The Product Design Process – how to REALLY design a web or a mobile application

Some apps you use more, others less. So what does it depend on? As a user, you expect ease of use and functionalities that will make your life easier. Things get tricky when you are the one who is responsible for a digital product.  And here comes the importance of the product design process. 

It turns out that meeting customers’ expectations is not as easy as it may seem. It requires thorough research and preparation, the so-called product design process.

The success of a product depends on it. The problem is that even UX designers don’t have a clear guide for this process. Depending on the project or approach that a company takes, the product design process may vary.
It’s best to entrust the process to professionals since there is no one golden rule, yet there are so many factors involved.

However, it’s essential to understand it before you begin fully. In a nutshell, we want to show you what the product design process looks like in practice. What are its main elements, and which tools might be helpful during its development?

Let’s learn everything you need to know about the product design process.

What is the product design process?

The product design process can be described as the whole creation of a digital product from strategy, through conceptual work, to implementation. It’s the process of planning both the product’s visual attractiveness and its user flow.

The product design process doesn’t apply only to UX/UI design. It gives you a big picture of the whole project because it considers the business perspective and its goals. It’s a combination of three elements – management, engineering, and graphics.

The final result always depends on mutual work combining various skills  – graphic design, UX/UI design, research, business analysis, development, and marketing or testing, just to name a few.

Though it is complex, it’s worth the effort. Through the product design process, you can tailor the product to meet the customers’ needs and boost their satisfaction.

And that’s just the beginning of its advantages.

What are the goals of the product design process?

In many cases, the values that are important to customers do not align with business expectations, or it turns out that developers do not understand the real needs of their users.

So, the main goal of the product design process is to find the balance between user needs and business value.

In this way, you gain a broader perspective to understand all stakeholders better and develop a product that has excellent functionality, an attractive design and is profitable.

The ideal product design process helps you to:

It should serve as a guidance system for the entire business, like a map that helps determine the best course of action.

The benefits of the product design process
The benefits of the product design process

How does the product design process work in practice?

Once you have a grasp of the theory, it’s time to put it into practice.

It would be great if every product design process looked the same. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. As we said before, even experts can’t predict the exact course of the process – it simply provides a roadmap for the steps ahead, along with tips for skipping or extending them. There are many conditional variables in the process, and, unlike in software development (writing code), the knowledge of the decision-maker and the results of interviews or research are always essential aspects.

Many factors go into the process – the budget, the UX project scope, or even the time frame and size of the business, just to name a few.

Even so, we will share with you our sample product design process framework. It should help you imagine how one might appear in your business. 

Let’s look at the most critical steps, standard design methods, and a few tools that can help you streamline the whole process.

Before you start: product business analysis? 

Even being the best at something doesn’t guarantee market share. If you want to turn your idea into huge profits, you need a detailed plan. That’s where product business analysis comes into play.

A product business analysis begins guides and closes the design process. It helps you determine the costs involved and forecast the profits you might make from the product. It combines the forces of a business analyst and UX designer.

The aim of business analysis is to clarify the product’s technical requirements, decrease development costs, and identify the target audience and their needs. It’s also essential after the product’s implementation for testing, identifying problems, and making improvements.

Product design process elements and who’s involved there

We will now explain the stages of the process and related questions. 

Product design process elements
Product design process elements

Understanding

Is your solution a product-market fit? The key to a successful product is understanding the people involved in the design process and all other aspects of the project – its goals and different perspectives. That’s why the biggest role of designers is to identify users’ needs and align them with the business goals.

Vision

You must have a clear vision of your product – an outline of its appearance and the problems it will solve. This is also the time to communicate your expectations, what precisely you want for your business, and how long the whole design process should take.

Once you’ve clarified these issues, you need to transfer your vision into the digital space. At this stage, the UX designers create a prototype for your product and, in collaboration with the developers and designers, turn your vision into a reality.

Product / Function

What features will your product offer? It is crucial to be extremely specific about your budget, as it directly impacts the complexity of your product.

Find out which functions are the most important and which you should focus on. Remember that people love easy solutions. The easier the product is to use, the more likely it is to be a success. Look at the most popular tools – they are super simple to use.

But you don’t have to worry – UX designers are the people who will make sure that your users fully understand your product.

Users / Personas

Users are the key elements of the product design process. That is why you should make sure you carry out thorough research before you even start thinking about designing the product.

Conduct surveys and interviews to get to know your target audience. As part of your user research, you also need to understand who you’re building the product for. It will be helpful to create user personas to help put yourself in your users’ shoes and start to look at the product from their perspective.

Users are often provided and presented by the decision-makers, but they do not originate from them. Personas, on the other hand, are the result of several steps, research, and studies designed to narrow down the perfect target group.

Competition

When carrying out competitive research, you should look mostly at three things – product offering, the user experience, and visual design. Take inspiration from your competitors and analyze what their good and bad sides are.

Researching the competition will also help you understand their customers’ needs better – look at what their users say about your competitors’ solutions. Maybe there is a gap in the market that no other company has filled, or maybe their users complain about certain elements. Then, ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes but instead find your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). 

Risks

You have to always take into account the risks that are involved in any project. This way, you will be able to understand the market better, and as a result, be aware of the issues that might arise during product development.

What are the risks involved with creating a particular product? The most common ones are missing cost or quality targets, overrunning the schedule, creating a product that will not be profitable or just one that will not attract users. 

Managers and analysts must constantly monitor and analyze the project to mitigate the risks that might occur. 

Product design methodologies

There are different types of frameworks that companies use to design products. Even though each of them is different, they all contribute to validating ideas, solving challenges, and aligning the product vision with the goals and objectives. When it comes to product design, what are the most common methodologies?

Every technique has its own set of benefits and drawbacks based on your own preferences, experience, and circumstances.

Product design methodologies
Product design methodologies

Agile UX

Using this approach, you can launch new products quickly and efficiently. It’s performed in a collaborative environment and with cross-functional and self-organized teams. This method focuses more on „doing” than on paperwork, which speeds up the decision-making process significantly.

The agile method of product development divides the process into multiple small iterations; at the end of each, you will receive the output from the designers. Delivering a small feature after each iteration allows you to give feedback and improve your product accordingly.

As a result, you’re involved in the entire process and its progress is transparent for you. What’s more, you can react quickly to all problems and make necessary changes with fewer consequences to the budget.

Design Sprint

“A design sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with the customers”.
Google

This method was used internally at Google for various products before becoming an integral part of Google Ventures. The initial development process consists of five phases: understand, diverge, decide, prototype, and validate. As a result, the first outcome is given in about three to four days, proving the process to be intensive and results-orientated.

A team consisting of a small number of designers, developers, marketers, and customers develops the project and looks for the best solutions to deliver a product that best meets the expectations of future users and customers.

What are its main advantages? Using this fast-forward approach, you can see how your finished product will look in advance before you make any costly commitments. You will learn if an idea is worth pursuing and, what’s best, you can cut out endless debates and compress months of work into a single week.

Product Canvas

Product Canvas combines Agile methodologies with UX principles. It helps build products that have a great user experience while focusing on future development. The purpose of Product Canvas is to validate the product, not to determine whether or not it should be developed.

It’s more of a tool than a methodology – it conveys what your product is and how it’s positioned strategically. It contains various UX artifacts – user stories with personas, scenarios, storyboards, or design sketches.

To sum up

Having learned a lot about the product design process, let’s summarize all of the most critical points:

If you have any further questions or need help with product design, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll discuss how we can help. We are here to assist you.

iOS mobile app development – an overview of the most important changes of Apple Guidelines

We live in a wired age during which mobile apps have transformed the world, made life easier for everyone, and contributed to the growth of many businesses. As one of the major mobile app marketplaces, the App Store has grown to be an ecosystem that hosts millions of developers and over a billion users. However, it can be challenging to submit a mobile app to the App Store, especially with ever-changing guidelines. Today, our goal is to introduce them to you and explain their role in modern business and mobile app development.

What are Apple Guidelines?

Mobile apps and games in the App Store have been carefully challenged by Apple to be safe, trustworthy, easy to use, and constantly improved in terms of their quality and usability. Apple’s priority is ensuring its customers feel confident downloading new applications. Furthermore, the App Store provides a source of income to developers and app makers.

The guidelines provided by Apple allow developers to create top-notch apps while maintaining performance. Five categories are covered by the guidelines, and all apps on the App Store must comply with them. In addition, they need to protect devices against threats and malware and keep their users’ privacy protected. This last point deserves special attention because privacy and security of users’ data have been Apple’s top priority for years now.

Why do they keep changing?

Apple regularly announces changes and additional clarifications to the app evaluation process document prior to its release. New legal and marketing regulations, as well as events in the industry and around the world, force Apple to adjust all processes related to the App Store.

The most crucial business updates in Apple Guidelines (update 7.06.2021)

This June’s updates are intended to support new features in the next OS release, reinforce security, and streamline the approval of apps. On the 7th of June not only were the App Store Review Guidelines updated though, but also the Program License Agreement, Schedules 1, 2, and 3, plus the Apple Developer Agreement. 

Apple App Store
Apple App Store

Below, we’ve highlighted some of the major changes to Apple Guidelines that have affected mobile businesses the most.

New guidelines for Creator Content

Creator apps should share the age rating of the highest age-rated creator content available in the app and communicate to users which content requires additional purchases. 

What does this mean for businesses?

Creator apps are those whose content is not only provided by its developers, but also by its users – the so-called “creators” in this instance.  They create a streamlined experience for customers to interact with a wide range of content from creators. They provide tools and programs for non-developer creators to share, monetize, and author user-created content. Content like this must not alter the core functionality of native applications but instead should complement the content provided by developers. As long as they do not affect guidelines, App Review treats any content – video, audio, games, etc. – as UGC. 

For full clarity, creator apps should clearly state the age rating and disclose any additional purchases that may be required. As a result, all data flowing through and produced by apps is more clear, consistent, and transparent.

Anything in a particular mobile app that requires an additional subscription or purchase (features, resources, extra add-ons, etc.) must be communicated right away with all of the information regarding the renewal. 

Misleading marketing is more strictly prohibited

Whether inside or outside the App Store, the use of misleading marketing is grounds to remove an app from the App Store and Apple Developer Program. 

What does this mean for businesses?

In the past, false or misleading advertising in-app or in other apps/places may have led to the rejection of the submission and forced the required changes to be made in order for it to be approved in the App Store. 

That has now changed.

A misleading marketing campaign, such as offering a service or content that is not actually offered or setting a false price for the app will result in it being removed from the App Store and your developer account being terminated. 

Businesses and developers have been adversely affected by this change since apps can now be removed from the App Store for such behavior (especially if it is repeated). Moreover, businesses can be permanently removed from the Apple Developer Program, preventing them from reapplying with an app and limiting their opportunities to submit others. The result will be that they lose access to a store that makes up 45% of mobile app marketplaces.

How to prevent this? Ensure that your app’s functionality is easily understood by its end-users and conduct an App Review; hidden, dormant, or undocumented features shouldn’t be used in it. Marketing should avoid misleading communication and sharing of false claims.

Creating a trustworthy ecosystem is the focus of the App Store.

Digital gift cards are limited to in-app purchases

Digital gift cards, certificates, vouchers, and coupons that can be redeemed for digital goods or services can only be sold in your app using in-app purchases. Physical gift cards that are sold within an app and then mailed to customers may use payment methods other than in-app purchases.

Updates to Apple’s guidelines bring new rewards for redeeming digital gift cards. From now on, digital gift cards, vouchers, and coupons can be only sold using in-app purchases. Selling them out of an app submitted to the App Store is against the guidelines. 

What does this mean for businesses?

For Apple, the fight isn’t just about transparency and clarity. As they receive a commission fee (between 15 and 30%) from every purchase made through their app, it’s only natural that they want to keep payments within apps. Since digital products can only be sold via in-app purchases, businesses may need to factor in Apple’s commission fees when calculating costs. 

Connected subscriptions and avoiding double payments

Cellular carrier apps can include music and video subscriptions in pre-defined bundles attached to data plans

To clarify that carrier apps can also include other subscription types, Apple has expanded the guidelines that allow carriers to package music and video subscriptions into pre-defined bundles attached to data plans. That is all fine and valid as long as the carrier allows users to revert to an in-app purchase subscription once the bundled service ends or expires. 

What does this mean for businesses? 

Subscription streaming services may offer games including bundled services with applications from third parties. It is necessary, however, for them to be downloaded from the App Store and programmed in such a way as not to generate a double payment from the customer. Those who are not subscribers can not be treated less favorably than subscribers.

By implementing this regulation, the App Store prevents end-users from making duplicate payments that would negatively impact the customer experience.

Limitations on purchase methods

Apps cannot, within the app, encourage users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase.

Neither developers nor advertisers can use information obtained from within an app to target individual users for purchases outside the app. 

While some apps in certain sectors such as reader apps, enterprise services, or standalone apps may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase, their usage cannot be encouraged within the app. 

What does this mean for businesses?

It limits developers’ opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling and forces them to process as many transactions as possible through Apple. Just to name a few examples:

Adequate features requirement

Apps that do not provide adequate utilities may not be accepted on the App Store

There should be features, content, and interfaces in apps that elevate them above repackaging websites. If your app does not meet any of these criteria, it shouldn’t be in the App Store. If your application does not provide lasting enjoyment or enough utilities, it may not be accepted into the App Store.  

What does this mean for businesses?

The user experience is incredibly important to Apple, starting from the moment you navigate into the App Store through the moment you make a purchase to the moment you use the app. They don’t want the experience to be badly affected by the fact that a particular app doesn’t live up to expectations or fulfill the promises it made. As a result, in addition to security factors and technical requirements, utilities and functionality from the user’s perspective should also be considered when developing an app. For mobile apps, businesses need to focus on transparency and a flawless user experience without hesitation, guesswork, or misleading information. An app may be rejected if it is not user-friendly enough. 

Account creation and deletion regulations

If your app supports account creation, you must also offer account deletion within the app.

Additionally, there are a few extra regulations when it comes to accounts:

The app must also include a mechanism to revoke social network credentials and disable data access between it and the social network from within the app. 

An app may not store credentials or tokens to social networks of the device and may only use them to directly connect to the social network from the app itself while it is in use.

What does this mean for businesses?

Mobile apps and social media have a well-known marriage – social media facilitates app growth and is used for social gaming. Apps, however, cannot require users to log in via social media platforms if doing so is not necessary for use. Inviting friends to use the app, downloading basic profile information, or sharing on social networks are not considered core app features. 

If your application requires such a log-in, you may be required to prepare it for review or face potential rejection.

Updates to the Developer Code of Conduct

Enhanced developer trust and safety responsibilities have been added to the Developer Code of Conduct. 

Manipulating any aspect of the App Store experience such as reviews and charts is not permitted. Additionally, excessive customer complaints may be considered when determining whether a developer is compliant with the Code of Conduct.

What does this mean for businesses?

Apple places the highest priority on safety and transparency. If an app does not shine brightly with positive reviews, it may be removed from the App Store and its developers may be forced to pay excessive fines as a result. When Apple receives constant reports about an app, it investigates them. In the last couple of months, Apple’s policies have become more strict, and we expect them to only get stricter because Apple is concerned most about quality. Every app itself and any communication, content, or placement should be clear and accurate. 

Furthermore, apps cannot purchase positive reviews or force their current users to leave such opinions. There needs to be truthfulness in all information provided by the developers. Both developers and apps can be booted out of the App Store if they do not follow the rules, and restoring offending apps may only be possible with a long written statement that Apple may reject anyway. 

Over to you

In the mobile app world, new niches are constantly being conquered and new solutions are being implemented. Because of this, Apple Guidelines are constantly changing as they adjust to new technologies, realities, and challenges they face. Therefore, this article will be updated once new guidelines are rolled out. 

There are many other changes to the App Store besides those we listed here. Our article highlights only a few of the changes, but you can find a more complete list here.

How to reduce the costs of creating a mobile app MVP?

Ok, so you’ve decided to get your mobile app MVP developed. Instead of going full version ahead, you would rather try out some prototypes first to validate your business idea. 

It will not be quite as functional as your desired app, it is most likely to consume a large part of your budget if done in the wrong way.

How can you take control of your mobile app MVP and minimize the cost? Let us guide you through this topic.

First things first, though. 

What is mobile app MVP, actually?

In short, MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. Despite literal meaning being the same for every industry and use case, it is worth checking various perspectives and viewpoints. 

In terms of users and their perception of mobile app MVPs, it is a set of functionalities that allows the product to be presented on the market and put through initial testing or user assessment. While only a very small amount of features are available with this solution, it must still be useful and fully functional – it should not have any errors or shortcomings. 

That is how it works for business and development, too, though there are a few extra considerations to keep in mind during those stages. 

When it comes to the business side of MVP, it should include way more than just key functionality. In fact, the business sense of MVP may depend upon analytics tools and verifying results. MVPs don’t just test features for the sake of testing – they need to collect feedback from early adopters for improvement and development where necessary. Without analytics, it would be difficult to answer any questions regarding further development. 

Mobile app MVP vs business goals

Based on the above description, two major goals can be identified – and they ought to be in alignment.

Goal #1: to develop a product that permits you to reach the market as rapidly as possible. 

MVP is developed under the assumption of being fast and inexpensive. The key is to write the product in a way that enables further development and any changes to be introduced beyond the target version. This approach needs to be reflected in MVPs since an MVP that is not fully functional and unscalable may hinder the development of a final version. 

Goal #2: to equip the MVP with analytical tools.

Analytics tools must include both qualitative and quantitative methods of collecting data, users’ feedback, or insights for further development of the mobile app MVP.

Mobile app MVP benefits
Mobile app MVP benefits

How to reduce the costs of your mobile app MVP

Like everything else: it depends. 


There’s no magic formula for success – but there are a few patterns you may find useful in this step. 

Start with a plan

There is a tragedy without a strategy, the saying goes, and it is hard to disagree with this. Taking a strategic approach from the very beginning gives a clearer picture of the whole project.

What should be included in such a plan?

Rethink reduction in product scope

The goal of having all features in an MVP version may not be attainable, so reducing project scope is well recommended. Finding a balance between usually challenging, high-level requirements and a designated budget may be difficult, so either the budget needs to be increased or the requirements need to be lower. 

There are at least two paths you can take here: 

It is impossible to reduce the cost of an MVP project while maintaining the characteristics and features of the mobile application. It is suggested that you decide whether you absolutely require all the screens included in the MVP version. If some of them are not necessary, you can easily skip them in the MVP version, thus allowing more resources to be used for other business activities.

A similar situation occurs with graphics and animations. At the MVP stage, it would be wise to limit their use as much as possible – even a seemingly simple animation can consume a lot of resources and be costly. In many cases, using animations in this stage would not make business sense. The MVP mobile application should maximize the use of the system’s capabilities, and additional features can be added in later versions.

The use of native, ready-made components influences the shape of an MVP, its speed of development, and its cost.

It is worthwhile using elements such as UISwitch, even though the creation of custom elements may seem straightforward, it is known that predicting their behavior in hundreds of different scenarios influences the cost and length of MVP development for a mobile application. Moreover, rather than coding the solution from scratch (for example, chat in a mobile app), it is worth using the elements that are already available and configured.

Help others help you

In some cases, there is not much knowledge or approach to MVP from the clients’ side. They just want to get things done, regardless of the method. CrustLab helps clients understand the whole picture, establish measurable goals, validate the concept, and plan outcomes via dedicated workshops. This is an excellent solution especially for those clients who would appreciate guidance in navigating through MVP. 

Analytics of MVP

Many incorrectly believe that MVP is only a “demo version” to check some features and determine if it works. It is, of course, but for this to be determined, both hard and soft data must be available. Without analytics, they won’t. Data should support most business decisions, and one of those is the decision as to whether to develop MVP into a fully functional product. 

In terms of mobile app MVP, there are quite a few tools to consider. They all vary in functionalities and features, yet they all have in common the ability to support effective analytics. Some of them are quite general and cover analytics as a whole, while others may be well-suited to specific analytics of mobile applications. 

  1. GTM – GTM allows for managing the marketing tags after the MVP has been shipped, significantly reducing the need to rebuild the MVP. This is the main reason that many MVPs rely on GTM for their analytics, which is likely the GTM’s selling point.

  2. Smartlook – Smartlook is capable of advanced analytics including recording user sessions (to view any point in the customer journey) and generating heat maps for each point in the journey in order to identify trends and spot patterns in user behavior. With events, funnels, and filters, a specific moment or action can be specified.

  3. Firebase – the primary advantage of this product is that analyses, crash reporting, hosting, and A/B tests are all available in the same product. It also includes the Google Analytics mobile app. In the beginning, this product may pose a viable option, but it becomes very expensive once your traffic increases. 

  4. Google Analytics 4 – Google Analytics 4 offers a much more unified platform for app analytics by directly leveraging the Firebase Analytics schema and reporting interface. After linking your Firebase project to a GA4 property, you have access to a range of reporting templates for analytical data that unavailable through the Firebase itself. 

  5. Apple App Analytics – it is a basic, but adequate mobile app analytics tool. It offers usage data, sales data, and app store data, where applicable. Going without saying, it only works with iOS apps. 

Of course, there are many other tools, systems, and applications that you can use on various stages of mobile app analytics. For the MVP, it is best to go for a complex yet quick implementation solution that will enable you to receive the world’s first insights from those who matter the most – your potential users. 

Although quantitative data is the most important one you can capture during the stage of verifying and analyzing the performance of your mobile app MVP, qualitative data is also important. How can you collect data without gathering hard data? 

Those are only a few examples, to name a few! In short, anything that helps give us an insight into the factors which may lead to a better quality mobile app MVP should be put to use. 

The more, the merrier. 

Over to you 

There is no doubt that the cost of developing an MVP is usually less expensive than that of the final product. There is no need for that to be always the case, though, if tasks are not prioritized and MVP is the opposite of what is called for. MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product which is the minimum set of features that can satisfy the needs of a limited group of potential consumers. No more, and no less. MVP needs to answer whether it is worthwhile for the company to develop the prototype into a mobile app and whether there are strong customer demands and needs to be addressed via the final product.

The experiment may be biased if the system is overdone, is not functional, or has many features. The result may be that, although the app is close to completion, it is not wanted or has a lot of bugs to resolve. The more features there are to implement or fix in the MVP, the longer and more costly the project will be.

To reduce the costs of putting together a mobile app MVP, it is important to reduce requirements, research needs, set goals, organize resources, and balance expectations – and verify what questions to address at the start. 

The anatomy of custom software development pricing

„How much does this custom software development project cost?” is similar to „How much does a car cost?”. There is no one answer since the anatomy of custom software development pricing depends on several factors. 

Today, we will break down custom software development pricing by detailing what factors contribute to it, how it may be structured, and what factors we consider when putting a price tag here at Crustlab.

What is tricky about custom software development pricing, then?

Many prospective clients of software development are unsure of how much they should be paying. You may be one of them. It may be hard for you to understand what factors contribute to a certain price, why it is higher or lower than expected, and how the software development partners determine how much money to charge. As a result, you may be hesitant to fully commit to the overall partnership at the outset, even if a software development agency has nothing but good intentions. They are unable to reconcile your expectations with the price to be paid. This is the reason why understanding the complete process is crucial to success. 

That would be a fair statement if we said that there are hundreds of factors that influence the final price and shape of the project. The price range of the services offered by a selected software development company is one thing, but there are many other factors that you should consider. 

What factors affect custom software development pricing

Have you ever seen a genealogical tree? We believe so. Pricing of software development projects may follow the same principle. There are many branches that give rise to other branches, and pricing is exactly defined in this way. 

Elements of the custom software development pricing
Elements of the custom software development pricing

Type of the delivered project

This stage influences other stages and enables at least some initial estimation in pricing. 

We could enumerate different technical areas of every project. To be more precise, we could say that every software development project consists of a few core elements that typically require a completely different skillset. Typically the bigger the project, the more necessary components, especially when a backend part is needed. 

First of all, it is essential to identify whether the developed project is designed to run on the web or mobile platform. As a result, there is no straightforward answer to what is better, or what is more economical – it depends on the business goal, requirements, and budget at the end of the day. 

Then, it should be indicated whether the project scope refers only to the back-end, only to the front-end, or both back-end and front-end. Below you will find a more detailed breakdown of the price estimation.

Breakdown of the elements in the estimation

When we estimate your project, we take into account the following key aspects of every area:

Front-end Development

By ‘front-end development‘ we mean a visual part of a web application designed for the end-users of your system or related to the UI/UX of your system management panel. As a general rule, we assume that every website we create needs to be responsive (scales automatically when viewed on a mobile or tablet device). If this assumption is made, the cost of development is typically increased by 10%. In addition, your app might also be optimized for mobile use and look and behave like a mobile application – here is where Progressive Web Applications come into play. Additionally, estimations are strongly influenced by the visual effects used – animations or custom transitions – and by the complexity of communication protocols.

Mobile Development

For mobile app development, it should be specified by a software development partner whether it will be developed as a native platform or as a cross-platform projectThe price may also depend upon whether the designs are still under development, not ready at all, or already completed. Additionally, potential integrations with external APIs – both in terms of their number and size – can also have an impact on the final pricing. 

The development of mobile applications can be simple, yet it can also be extremely complex and time-consuming. 

Likely, the sentence did not shock you, but please note that sometimes mobile apps could cost even hundreds of thousands of dollars and more. 

During the estimation process, the most important thing that is noted is the number of screens that will be implemented. Every screen could add a little scope of work that in total could result in a substantial amount of time being spent.

Android and iOS provide a large number of default layouts and styles. If you need to create something of extraordinary value, an additional effort is usually required. 

In the same way as the front-end development, integration with the back-end is also essential because multiple communication protocols may be involved. There are also considerations such as push notifications and integration with external devices, typically over the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). Developing a conceptually simple mobile application could prove to be a challenge, as you can imagine. 

Backend Development

It is particularly challenging to estimate the backend part. Our recommendations may vary depending on the project. Usually, we recommend a serverless approach because it is the most scalable architecture for the backend system. The cloud solution provider is also very important. For example, both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform provide a significant number of ready-to-use components that reduce the cost of development and potentially increase the cost of the solution in the long run. In addition, the price of external services connected to the system can also be affected – for some typical service providers, we can offer our implementation, reducing the project’s overall cost. 

Projects run in the cloud cost more by definition since it requires extra DevOps services (the team that is responsible for the technology itself, including implementation, monitoring, and ongoing maintenance of the product). This may increase the overall project pricing by quite a considerable amount of money. 

So, the selected environment might also have an impact on the final price. As an example, the way the back-end of the project should be specified precludes the possibility of the project being a cloud-based one. This may include the implementation of the aforementioned AWS or GCP, but is not limited to those technologies. 

DevOps

Nowadays, DevOps activities are becoming increasingly crucial. When estimating a project, we consider these activities as an investment for future cases. DevOps can significantly reduce the cost of projects, especially when it comes to more complex projects that require an advanced backend architecture. 

The Configuration as a Code approach ensures that you will not get lost in the multitude of configurations deployed on multiple hosts, nor will you have to worry about the configuration of your cloud provider. The more complex the project, the higher the cost of DevOps. On the other hand, the more you will save in the future, and the maintenance costs will also be reduced.

UI/UX

Timeline and deadline

If it is quick and cheap, it isn’t good.
If it is good and cheap, it’s not quick.
If it’s quick and good then it’s not cheap.

This certainly applies to custom software development pricing. 

Among the most important points to remember is that projects that are implemented „quickly” are also characterized by a lot of dynamic changes. This is especially evident in the startup environment, where the founders lack experience creating IT projects.

It is important to note that processes are among the most important elements in any organization. A fast pace can delay the implementation of viable processes and methodologies.

This results in the client making irrational decisions, the team not having time to implement appropriate recommendations and technical solutions, thereby wasting time making multi-layered changes.

Nevertheless, you should be aware that if your project must be delivered immediately, and you do not have time to research and test, the price may be considerably higher. If there is still enough time for development, those resources can be allocated responsibly and lead to long-term cost savings. Working with the team on the scope and deadline of the project will allow you to choose the most optimal solution.

Team

Another factor that dictates custom software development pricing is the team behind the development. The number of developers necessary to “deliver” the project is very important for its cost because even one extra developer can cause the price to vary significantly. Furthermore, there is an unequal distribution of developers, so the years of experience and specialization (programming language and technologies) should also be considered and determined for the pricing. It is important to take the changes into consideration, even if they may not be constant (may only relate to a specific stage) or seem small. 

What should be highlighted here, however, is the required set of skills.

The determining factor may be the programming language or the target technology that will be used to develop the application. Large projects require the contribution of a Software Architect, who sets technical guidelines and drafts technical project documentation. Also, we recommend an automated DevOps approach for projects, where each component of the architecture is configured and automated with only minimal human intervention, which increases the initial cost of the project, but will ensure considerable savings in the future as well as a significant reduction in maintenance costs.

It is interesting to note that some clients choose to implement their own testers or seek to be excluded from the testing team in order to reduce costs. Savings that appear to be made at the preliminary stage can result in a significant increase in costs in the future if the verification process is flawed or nonexistent. CrustLab, as a supplier, is unable to provide a guarantee for the delivered products in such circumstances. This may result in a further increase in costs.

As well, it is extremely difficult to estimate the cost of a Project Manager or QA work since it is not an ongoing effort – it depends on the size of the team.

Our estimate for the Project Manager’s work time at Crustlab is 15% of the time reported by the programmers or designers who are part of the project team. Likewise, QA accounts for 15% of the total cost, but for cross-platform mobile projects, this ratio increases to 30%.

Another topic is the design – whether the client brings a pre-designed layout or whether it will need to be re-worked, or created from scratch, by a graphic designer and/or UX specialist.

Complexity

There is no doubt that the lion’s share of custom software development pricing is determined by the functionalities within a given application or website. Functional requirements define the functions that an application or website must fulfill, and they are mostly what determines the final price.

Each function has its own costs, since it requires writing functions, designing their interface, or installing, configuring, and training the system. The cost of each individual functionality differs, as do the combinations of functionalities or the complexity of their components. To be able to calculate the exact price and select the appropriate solutions, it is important to determine the functional needs.

If it is evident that a particular software development project will be expanded and modified in the future, the solution can be chosen more accurately, thereby reducing the cost of foreseeable upgrades and modernizations.

Methodology

Project pricing is sensitive to the process and methodology used. Failure to use a correct process and methodology may result in a dramatic increase in project implementation costs.

For example, If the team performs the Agile Scrum methodology with the client’s Product Owner, for example, the costs might be reduced.

The adoption of an agile methodology and a proper collaboration process between the Product Owner (possibly on the client-side) and the team, usually represented by the Project Manager, may be instrumental in reducing project costs.

Crustlab prices all projects inclusive of a Project Manager, Tester, or a team of testers, programmers, and designers. It is a comprehensive team that works based on the agile methodology.

Earlier Waterfall approaches cause the process to be overly rigorously divided into stages, which increases the risk of time being wasted on things later found to be unnecessary or criticized by the end-user. If the project is developed using scrum, an extra amount of time is required for meetings, and this will reflect both in the cost and the duration of delivery. 

Furthermore, it is not possible to continuously make changes, which is crucial for many software development projects. This all impacts the potential price.

Possible billing models used in IT

Custom software development pricing models
Custom software development pricing models

Fixed-price

For this model, the price for the work is estimated in advance. At the stage of work on the project, changes cannot be made to the project without renegotiating the terms of the contract. Moreover, due to the fact that the price for a specific work is set in advance, it requires very specific specifications and details from the client. 

This option is available for all projects whose value can be determined before the start of work. However, the project must be considered with careful preparation of its specifications, taking into consideration also its time of execution, its schedule, and its scope.

Time & Material

It is a type of billing based on the time units actually worked by each employee in the project and the cost of the materials.

The contract allows for a good deal of flexibility, as changes can be made during the development. In this model, the contractor is informed regularly about the state of the project and receives a detailed report on its progress. It uses this information to verify the state of the project and to make any changes that may be necessary. This model is preferred by customers who have a general idea of the final product but are unable to accurately describe the scope of work and the timeline. It has a clear advantage in reducing overhead since the client pays only for the actual work without any added risk costs.

FBSC: Fixed budget & scope controlled

That’s a little bit of a hybrid.

The goal is to have a good understanding of the project at the beginning of it, both on the clients’ side and a software development partner’s side. Using input from clients and the experience of a software development partner, a responsible budget can be set and a defined timeline can be determined. Using this approach, the scope of the entire project is not set upfront. Thanks to this approach, the scope can be altered without affecting deadlines or budgets — by reprioritizing individual tasks. 

Close cooperation with the client allows them to monitor the financial condition of the project, so they can make adjustments as they may see fit, making the product a better one.

How we tackle custom software development pricing in Crustlab

This quote from Adam Gontarz, the CEO of CrustLab, could say it best:

„When we are talking about pricing and project estimation with our potential customers, we always try to give great feedback. Clients often face the problem of having an extensive range of offers they receive. An adequate split of the scope and justification of the numbers is crucial, as well as an appropriate justification of technical solutions. We give a lot from the very beginning to make the difference – our estimation and pricing process is customer-oriented since this is something that brings the highest value at the end.”

At Crustlab, pricing for custom software development is relatively straightforward, and can be illustrated by the following equation:

The time needed to complete all the tasks x the rates of individual people in the project = the price of your project.

PM, knowing exactly what the scope of the project is, writes it into user stories, for example, „as an application user, I would like to be able to view statistics regarding my activities”. Based on these stories, certain tasks are then assigned to specific people. The most experienced people and the ones who have the deepest understanding of the project requirements are selected for the project. These tasks are then time-estimated, and the total hours of the engaged parties are multiplied by their respective hourly rates.

Additionally, it is possible to extrapolate data from past work to build estimates for the current project in the event that the current project is similar to a past one.

Over to you

It is the same anywhere when it comes to pricing for custom software development: it depends.

Depending on the nature of the project, the complexity, and the level of detail of the requirements, a suitable billing model and pricing is selected.

However, it really does depend on the specifics of the project, established before the start of the project (regardless of the method). 

Sometimes you can opt-out of some things, add others later, and you can also combine billing methods. In other instances, the result is entirely determined by how long it takes to perform the work and what the deadline is. These are very specific and individual arrangements that vary from project to project.

We’re not only here to deliver your project from A to Z, but also to discuss and choose the most appropriate options with you. Get in touch with us! 

Before you start: what to discuss with your software development agency

Finding a software development agency is not rocket science. Choosing the right one? Definitely is, though. Before selecting a particular IT company for your project, it is important that you verify it back and forth. Although a thorough examination of their portfolio, skills, and expertise is essential, you also need to assess their approach to your project and business. 

Every software development agency that takes your project seriously will ask questions throughout the project to fully understand what it takes. The more prepared you are for answering them, the stronger your ability will be to take your project to new levels with the right team and attitude. 

Here we will go through the most common terms, methods, and questions you need to consider when collaborating with your software development partner. TL;DR, we’ll cover:

Fasten your seatbelt, we’re starting right away.

All you need to know about BANT

BANT deals with your budget, however, the budget itself is not the only factor IT companies consider during the valuation process. 

BANT is a method that software development agencies commonly use to verify that project assumptions and expectations fit within a particular budget and, to put it shortly if they make sense. Verifying the project at the outset may enable both parties to better understand the project, come up with alternatives, or simply avoid disappointment and misunderstandings in the collaboration. 

BANT stands for four terms: Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline.

BANT – what does it stand for?
BANT – what does it stand for?

Going through BANT is highly beneficial for clients, who can verify whether they are on the same page with a software development agency, acknowledge risks and challenges, and identify potential bottlenecks. In the end, this may reduce time both to them and to IT companies, who may choose to resign from taking the project if they are unable to deliver it within the proposed framework.

While BANT is a method that many software development experts implement, it’s not the only one you’ll encounter. Another alternative is the MVP, which, in short, is a smaller test version of the project in order to verify its business sense. 

Let’s briefly switch to this one.

The importance of MVP in software development

Is there a need for the MVP in all projects? No, probably not. However, if every project in the world went through it, then probably some of them wouldn’t have been developed the way we know, or they wouldn’t have failed.

MVP is one of the easiest methods for validating or specifying a product or software idea. 

The MVP is a limited version of a given product that offers the essential and most important features to verify if the final product will be successful. It describes the fundamental and basic functions that constitute the value of a product. In this way, the software development agency receives feedback on the functionality of an application, and the client can verify whether the selected path makes sense or not.

By creating an MVP, the main intent is to be able to get a quick and reliable evaluation of an idea or product during the testing phase. Here at CrustLab, we often recommend this solution to clients who work on “under construction” projects or whose ideas might benefit from extra validation. We could also suggest conducting workshops where the vision for the project could be developed together with us.  

However, this does not always have to be the case. You may already know precisely what you want to accomplish, don’t you? And those requirements and expectations are usually incorporated into the RFP. 

RFP: what to know about Request For Proposal

The term RFP is an acronym for the request for proposal. Frequently, it also includes RFQ (request for quotation), including the signing of the contract and setting the conditions. This step is more detailed – a client who has an RFP often already knows what he’s looking for, what he can afford, and what kind of cooperation he wants. Software development agencies can ask for additional information, and workshops are also an excellent way to clarify any doubts.

Even though an RFP is not mandatory at the onset of collaboration, it is beneficial, even if created in a short version, for both parties. This may allow a software development partner to better understand the project’s foundation and point out areas to revisit. RFPs also allow for the provision of alternative solutions and provide accurate estimations of the time and cost of the project. 

This gives the client predictability and provides flexibility to plan in time and budget and enables them to present a demo version to investors or potential users. RFP may also create an opportunity for quicker entry into the market and more profitable earnings.

There is nothing wrong with not having a request for proposals (RFP) – not every project or product had one at the outset. A reliable software development partner should be a real partner at this phase, too, and guide you through the whole process regardless of your RFP, or its lack. They should understand – and navigate through – what the customer’s business needs are, what functions will be fulfilled by software/product, the distinctive features of individual businesses, the business applications, what the product offers to the market, and what its main sales value is.

Here is a sample RFP for your reference.

RFP template

An RFP like this may be sent to several software development companies in order to obtain the best offer and pick one for the actual development. However, many questions will arise, not only from the client’s perspective. 

Questions a software development company may ask

In fact, the more information development companies ask about, the better it is for the entire project’s future. Asking questions does not indicate poor knowledge or lack of skills; rather, it indicates the software development company’s willingness to get to the bottom of the problem and provide precise estimates. 

Although there may be some predefined templates and patterns of questions (as you’ll see below), they are usually individual cases depending on how complex the RFP is. Some questions may already be addressed in the RFP or may simply need clarification as they only scratch the surface, but there may be numerous areas not covered at all. 

The more information software development companies ask about, the better it is for the entire project's future.
The more information development companies ask about, the better it is for the entire project’s future.

Should there not be an RFP at all, questions will accumulate quickly. 

The importance of being proactive at this stage and providing answers quickly may improve the overall process, speed it up, and enhance collaboration, which will all contribute to a successful final project. 

Below are some frequently asked questions (and their variants) by software development companies upon receiving an RFP or a simple request. Take this more as a guideline for what can be asked and what details may be required to provide. There could be hundreds and hundreds of questions in this stage

  1. Stage of project development:
    – How long has the project been in development? (if applicable)
    – Is the project monolithic or is it organized into microservices?
    – Could you provide more information about the project architecture itself?
    – What types of tests were conducted?
    – Has a static code analysis been performed?
    – To what extent does domain knowledge contribute to the success of the project?
    – Has the monitoring of system operation been undertaken?
    – Did any large-scale custom systems have to be considered in the implementation of the modules?
    – What technology was used in the front end?
    – Which version of Java does your server run?
    – On what modules does the whole system currently operate?

  2. Team & collaboration:
    – How many people will make up the development team and what is their hourly commitment during the week?
    – Which methodology is adopted by the team?
    – Under the current status quo, will the support be limited to maintaining the current version of the product, or will it be possible to develop new functions?
    – What was the development team rotation throughout the project?

  3. App specifications:
    – What is the minimal version of the operating system the application should support?
    – What is the main UI framework?
    – Will the project be marketed through official platform stores?
    – What level of analytics will be required for the app?
    – Will the app need payment processing?

  4. Additional features:
    – Should the offline mode be supported, developed, and synced?
    – Are third-party authentication services planned?
    – Does the biometric authentication need to be supported?
    – Will push notifications or in-app messaging be utilized in the strategy?
    – Is multi-language support provided for this product?

Of course, those are only a few questions that could be asked. Various factors may be involved, such as the project’s scope, budget, technology, and requirements. Although, our list may have shed some light on how specific – or generic – some questions are.  

Now it’s your turn 

If you stumbled upon this article, and now arrived at this point, then it is likely that you are interested in working with a software development agency. Well done! The better prepared you are, the more successful the collaboration will be. Mark our words.   

No matter if you have already established an RFP or never heard of it until now, if you have run an MVP or not, you should have a good software development partner on board. We know one – we are one. Get in touch, and we will be glad to guide you through your journey.

Web development design – how to avoid traffic loss due to feeble UX?

The web development service consists of creating mostly business websites with a simple structure and more complex web applications running in a web browser. Historically, only computers were connected to the Internet, so products created as part of web development were adapted to be displayed on monitors and laptops, as that was the only need. Nowadays, thanks to advanced web and mobile technologies, users use the Internet in a completely different way. In 2020, according to statcounter.com, traffic from mobile devices accounts for more than half of all internet traffic.

mobile traffic market share
The global share of mobile traffic since 2017 is greater than desktop according to statecounter.com

Then, suppose you want to increase your website’s or web application’s conversion, extend the average time and engagement of users, and increase returning users’ rate. In that case, you have to focus on guaranteeing clear and intuitive UX design for both web and mobile. A high bounce rate and user frustration resulting from unreadable design and navigation, and too long loading times are signs of feeble UX design. Read this article to know what you can do to avoid losing traffic and be ahead of the competition.


The most common web development design mistakes

It is said that mistakes are the best teacher. However, learning from your mistakes can be both painful and costly. It is better to learn from the mistakes that others have made. Therefore, read the list of the most common UX mistakes preceding web development:

CrustLab’s Responsive Web Design
CrustLab’s Responsive Web Design
how to avoid the most common mistakes in web development
how to avoid the most common mistakes in web development

Tips on how to improve your web application design

Now that you know what UX mistakes to avoid in the design phase preceding the web development process, let’s move on to the list of tips and good practices that will help you improve the quality of the UX:

CrustLab’s Responsive Web Design 2
CrustLab’s Responsive Web Design
CrustLab’s Responsive Web Design 3
CrustLab’s Responsive Web Design

Summary

As you can see, the web development design process is a complex process that involves a lot of issues that require special attention. Working on improving the UX of web products is not easy, but it will undoubtedly pay off. At CrustLab, we have many years of experience in this type of service and high-class specialists who are ready to help you. However, if you want to face this challenge yourself, prepare a web application plan based on the above article and send it to us, and we will share the feedback for free.

UX/UI vs. dev – how to collaborate on product design?

UX/UI designers and developers are from two different worlds, but they meet in a complex process of product design. These are two completely different professions, but often also completely different personality types, work, and communication styles. Cooperation between designers and developers could be difficult, but they would never create a product without each other’s help. In this article, I present the problems that often arise in this type of collaboration and provide tips and solutions that will make developers’ and designers’ lives easier.

Product design process – how does it look like

Product design consists of several stages, and in each of them, a different specialist plays a key role. In this article, we only briefly describe this issue. If you want to know them in detail, read the dedicated article on the product design process. In the initial phase of ideation, the client and Project Manager plays a prominent role. Their conversations aim to discuss the product idea, close the list of functionalities and necessary features, find weaknesses, and propose better solutions.

A thorough analysis of the idea lays the foundations for a UX/UI designer work who plays the leading role in the second part of the product creation process. Only by knowing all the assumptions of a project could he prepare high-fidelity mock-ups. To achieve this goal, he will need a set of different skills. To enumerate a few like graphic skills, knowledge of UX/UI design principles, a sense of aesthetics, knowledge of trends in the industry for which he designs, and basic knowledge of creating web and mobile applications.

A refined idea and hi-fi mockups are handed over to the programmer, who starts the development phase. Its task is to reflect the assumptions in the source code, creating a final working product. It would not be possible without the „instructions” in the form of mockups prepared by the designer. Only mutual communication between the developer and the designer and a full understanding of the project assumptions is the way to complete the third phase of product design.

Still, during development, testers join the process before the official launch of the product. Their task is to verify the product’s correct operation and compatibility between the designer and the developer’s work scope. Then the problems in UX/UI vs. dev cooperation come to light.

The complex and multi-person process described above is only a tool for the main actor. A fair product design process is one that focuses on the customer and his vision. From the very beginning, the customer is supported in decisions made at every stage of work by the entire project team. Familiarize yourself with the list of questions that a designer may ask before starting work on product design.

Product design process schema
Product design process schema

A fair product design process is one that focuses on the customer and his vision. From the very beginning, the customer is supported in decisions made at every stage of work by the entire project team.

Misunderstandings between UX/UI and developers

In my experience, designers and developers probably have more in common than they realize, but there are definitely some distinct differences in the way that we think about things. Designers love to think about design systems, and developers think about modular code that is easy to maintain. But the way that we go about it may be slightly different.

Developers have found a way to break down their work into smaller pieces, and designers tend to think of the whole as „whole cake” and „how we eat the whole cake”.

This is the point where they start arguing. Engineers want to be able to send code in small steps and create something very quickly with an Agile methodology. Designers want to take a big step forward in a holistic way – they want to provide a consistent experience. This may be a moot point for these two groups.

Aron Walter DesignTalks

As mentioned in the quotation, the differences in designers’ and developers’ work result primarily from the approach and work style. The most common misconceptions in product design work include:

UX/UI designers at work
UX/UI designers at work

Designers look at the project as a whole, want to refine it before proceeding to the next stage. Developers divide the project into smaller tasks and prefer working on smaller, disconnected tasks.

Tips for UX/UI vs. dev collaboration

The key to the successful cooperation of UX/UI designers and devs during product design is knowledge of other fields’ basics. Both professions have the same goals and play for the same team, although they practice different disciplines. The collaboration will be easier if both sides make an effort to learn the basic principles of others’ work. A high level of mutual understanding will result in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, and in such conditions, it is much more pleasant to work. Therefore it is easier to obtain satisfactory results.

Another aspect that will help achieve better results is communication not only on the level of knowledge of the same language but also on understanding individual words or phrases. Understanding the other party’s vision or a thorough understanding of the feedback will save you a lot of time and unnecessary work. For example, designers need to be better at communicating their work’s value, not just qualitatively. Developers should patiently and clearly state the technical limitations, even if they are apparent.

The structure of the team is also essential. If you want to work out the best solutions, the basis will be to create conditions for a real and substantive discussion. There is no room for such a conversation in a project team where there are disparities. Often, designers are in the minority, making it very difficult for them to break through their arguments.

Another facilitation in the cooperation between designers and developers will be frequent meetings and feedback rounds. These should always occur before the next part of the product is submitted for the customer’s approval. Internal verification of the source code’s coherence with the mockups prepared by the designer will avoid minor differences and mistakes, increasing the quality of the final product and customer satisfaction. Read the article describing the tools useful in cooperation between UX/UI designers and developers.

UX/UI design icon
UX/UI design icon

Another facilitation in the cooperation between designers and developers will be frequent meetings and feedback rounds. Only time spent working together will help developers learn from designers and vice versa and develop new solutions that neither group would come up with separately.

Summary

The tips described above result from our experience in product design. These are proven solutions that can be a significant help for you or your team. Unfortunately, nothing happens immediately, and you will need time to work out an effective way of working together. Therefore, you must think about developing such a model of cooperation over the long term instead of focusing only on the current project. Only time spent working together will help developers learn from UX/UI designers and vice versa and develop new solutions that neither group would come up with separately.

UX/UI designers and developers are from two different worlds, but they meet in a complex process of product design. These are two completely different professions, but often also completely different personality types, work, and communication styles. Cooperation between designers and developers could be difficult, but they would never create a product without each other’s help. In this article, I present the problems that often arise in this type of collaboration and provide tips and solutions that will make developers’ and designers’ lives easier.

A fair product design process is one that focuses on the customer and his vision. From the very beginning, the customer is supported in decisions made at every stage of work by the entire project team.

Designers look at the project as a whole, want to refine it before proceeding to the next stage. Developers divide the project into smaller tasks and prefer working on smaller, disconnected tasks.

Another facilitation in the cooperation between designers and developers will be frequent meetings and feedback rounds. Only time spent working together will help developers learn from designers and vice versa and develop new solutions that neither group would come up with separately.

How to choose a software house for a new project?

Choosing a software house for a new project is an important and difficult-to-make decision. The right software company could be invaluable support in building your product and a key factor in its success. Think carefully because the IT company you choose will be part of your daily work for the next few months and maybe even for years.

However, not everything lies with the contractor. Before you start looking for a software house for the new project be prepared. You must know exactly what you want to do. Define and write down your ideas, requirements, and scope of work. Prepare documentation and specify the budget you have. If you do not have all the assumptions, this article will give you the right tools to develop them.

software developer at work
software developer at work

Before you start looking for a software house for the new project be prepared. Define and write down your ideas, requirements, and scope of work.

Questions that you should ask when looking for a software house

At the beginning of the cooperation, each software house will try to collect as much information as is needed to plan and evaluate the project. To be prepared in this regard ask yourself the following questions:

software development team

When choosing a software company for cooperation, think about how you imagine onboarding and project start.

Answering the above questions will help you narrow down the search area and reduce the time it takes for an IT company to meet your needs and expectations. What’s more, by collecting this information you will be a more reliable customer who knows what to expect. Thanks to that your conversations with various software houses will be substantive from the beginning. However, if you do not have all this information, do not break it down. A software company with the right approach to the client will offer you product workshops during which you will verify the idea and discuss all relevant issues.

Important aspects when choosing a software house

When you know what you expect, it’s time to choose the software house that best suits your new betting project. If you have experience and knowledge in the industry, start with recommendations from your network of contacts. Add recommended software houses to your list and keep looking. What should you pay special attention to?

Business fit with your software development partner is a key

Make sure that your software development partner has successfully implemented betting projects in the past or its specific branch that interests you, e.g. horse racing. Visit the website of the company you are considering and review the „case study” tab. If you find projects similar to your idea – that’s a good sign.

Social proof of the IT company

Next, check reviews about the IT company on Google, LinkedIn, FB, and Clutch (or other software development listings). If the opinions are personal, try to reach directly the people who collaborated with this company. Talking to them will help you make a decision. Also, check if the company has industry awards and distinctions.

Understanding your needs

A software company that knows and understands your industry will ask you specific and precise questions about the project. All this to get as much information as possible from the beginning. The more detailed the questions, the more reliable your new partner is. You should work with the software company that asks questions you haven’t thought about and can point out mistakes in your plan.

software development meeting
software development meeting

A software company that knows and understands your industry will ask you specific and precise questions about the project.

Prices when choosing a software house

Often the price of the project is the main factor that determines the choice of a software house. It is natural that you are looking for the most attractive offer, but the lowest price doesn’t mean the best solution. Collect several opinions and compare them with each other. Estimations well below market costs should give you food for thought. At a low price, there is a risk of getting low-quality source code instead. That will generate problems in the operation of the finished product. As a result, the initial savings will be covered by the high costs of fixes repairs and maintenance. If you have a limited budget, divide the project into stages with the software house. That will allow you to create a refined product at the pace that finance allows.

Transparency between you and your software partner

Cooperation with a software partner that is transparent can save you unnecessary nerves and give you full control over the project at every stage of its implementation. Make sure what the onboarding process looks like, as well as current communication, progress reporting during development, or the frequency of deployment. Consider all these factors when choosing a software partner for the next few months or years of cooperation.

IT company with the right technical stack

The experience of the IT company or even individual team members is an important factor that you should consider when making decisions. If you have clear technology requirements, choose an IT company that can meet them. If you do not have the proper knowledge to determine the required technology yourself, ask the software house for product workshops, during which you will specify the project vision and choose the best technologies for its implementation.

Comprehensive software development service

When looking for the software house to implement the project, think ahead. Is the IT company you are considering offering only development services? Or does it have a sufficiently comprehensive team to guarantee you the preparation of both, web and mobile digital products? Can you count on mentoring and consultations? In addition to writing the code, can you count on support in product design? What will happen after the development phase? Will the software house you are considering be able to support you in maintaining the product after it has been launched? Consider the company’s work style and methodologies. Is it flexible and what forms of cooperation does it offer? Choose a software house that offers as many of the services you expect as possible. Cooperation with one partner on many levels significantly facilitates communication and positively affects the quality of the product.

Soft aspects that you shouldn’t ignore

Aside from all technical and business aspects of the project, pay attention to the human factor. Sometimes your intuition knows best. It is important that during conversations with the software house you feel that you understand each other well and also like each other. Make sure you will not have communication problems, meet the team assigned to your project.

Questions that you should before you start looking for a software house

The decision to outsource IT services is not risk-free. A mistake in this matter can be very expensive for you. To minimize the risk of it occurring, please note whether:

You are ready to choose. Good luck!

Choosing a software house to collaborate with is often a difficult and always important decision for your business. The right technology partner can significantly affect the success of your project. You have deep research and several informative meetings ahead of you. I hope this article will help you prepare well and choose the best possible partner. If you are looking for a software house for a betting project, see the CrustLab portfolio and contact us!