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How to integrate UI and UX into software development
Anyone that’s been involved in a software development project will know that they are the sum of many parts. When those parts come together, beautiful things happen; your systems are not only meeting your business needs but users enjoy using them.
In order to achieve this goal, increasingly you need to be deploying multi-disciplinary teams that include User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) designers (read about the difference here). The extent to which UI and UX is integrated into software development projects varies from company to company. In some cases education is required to ensure you retain UI UX throughout the software development life cycle.
The importance of UI and UX in the software development life cycle
Despite how thorough the design specs and requirements gathering, there are usually unforeseen events which either limit the functionality of your system or require additional features to be added. Progressing with changes during the development without involving the UI and UX experts could lead to disjointed end solutions with an inconsistent look and poor usability.
5 tips for integrating UI UX into your software development methodology
1. A consultative approach
From writing design specs through to development and testing, the UI and UX team will be advocating the needs of the user which can sometimes be lost after the initial stages of development if the UI/UX contract ends here. Maintaining UI/UX skills on a consultative basis can work well here to ensure that any changes are kept in line with the original design spec as well as the system requirements.
2. Concepts and prototyping
UI/UX experts are skilled at dissecting complex information into visually appealing and usable designs. Their solutions are best brought to life by prototyping elements of the system or drawing up concepts which can be used by developers and also be subject to early testing, particularly in agile projects.
3. Cultivate a culture of transparency
It is important that developers understand the UI/UX thinking and that UI/UX can understand the developer’s constraints. Developers need to know the challenges faced by the users and designers need to make sure they are thinking of clever ways to overcome any technical obstacles. Open communication and regular discussion is key to producing the best outcome for all stakeholders.
4. Integrated testing and quality assurance
In theory your testing team should be able to write their test scrips by referencing the original specification documents. Thorough requirements gathering including user surveys and persona analysis by the UI and UX team should result in testing being better aligned to business and user needs.
5. Consider agile techniques
UI/UX professionals are critical in the agile software development process. You should consider using aspects of the agile methodology which promotes involving both designers and developers at every stage of the development. This should ensure that the system is being checked against the original wireframes and prototypes to build a well-design user interface that truly engages users.
To achieve the best results from your software project, creating multidisciplinary teams is a must. For further help or to integrate our UI/UX team in your next project, why not talk to us today.