4 Advantages of Design-Driven Development Approach

design and app development

At ein-des-ein, we think that the design-driven approach to developing apps, websites, and marketplaces is the best approach. It starts with a comprehensive business analysis and design that cover all the major steps towards a project’s completion. Based on our experience, if done properly in the very beginning, business analysis and design can help determine the direction, greatly reduce expenses for development, and create a foundation for a seamless user experience.

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In this article, you’ll learn why at Ein-des-ein we see design-driven development as a priority in our work. 

What is a design-driven development approach?

There are several reasons why business analysis and design play a huge role in the project’s destiny. 

We’re going to give this up early – the main benefit of the design-driven approach is an opportunity to formulate the project vision together with the client. The client arrives at essential conclusions during those first analysis and design sessions.

This approach helps identify the main pain points early, come up with significant improvements, and address the issues that could be overlooked otherwise. Timely and accurate changes save our clients time and money. 

This is how we think of the design-driven development approach. In many ways it proved to be the ideal one for our clients.

Advantages of the approach

Now let’s dive into outlining some positive outcomes as a result of the design-driven development approach.

Evaluation of the project scope 

Before any development work, our business analysts, UI/UX designers, project manager, and the client sit down to discuss and answer some important questions:

  • How can the product stand out in the market?
  • What is the product’s main value and how can we convey its mission in the best way possible?
  • What features are absolutely essential?
  • How each feature impacts the user experience?

These are just a few discussion points in a business analysis process that sets the project off on its journey. The next step is to do customer persona research, create user flows, and build detailed clickable prototypes. This part of the work influences how clients envision the final result. It also highlights what really needs to be done for a product to be successful.

After all, this need to be specific may slow things down in the beginning, but saves a ton of time in the long run. When it is time for the development team to take over, the scope of the project is already reasonably clear.   

Early problem identification

After we gather the requirements and all the ideas are put on the table, it’s time for the UX design work to begin. UX design is basically packaging the most complex processes into a simple, logical app prototype. UX design affects user experience the most as it tests the logic of the app and goes through its most important user scenarios. For example, the registration and authorization screens, the appearance of the home page screen, order placement and payment screens, etc. 

Building the prototypes and thinking through every screen and user action allows identifying inconsistencies and pitfalls at the initial stages. In fact, this is a crucial factor when it comes to time and resource efficiency. Spotting problems later at the development stage translates into more money and time spent on correcting those inconsistencies. 

More accurate project cost estimation

When most elements of the project are ready and the initial testing is done, it is much easier to deliver a detailed final cost breakdown. The costs don’t fluctuate when developers take over a polished project with all the major issues eliminated at the design stage. After working with clients for years, we noticed that the project costs became more predictable and on average got reduced by 30%. With our approach, the cost estimate is never rough. 

The downside of the ballpark estimation is that clients often get the price right from the get-go. That price includes an additional 20-30% to account for the risks. For example, if certain features turn out to lack anything or work differently from what was expected, they will have to be changed at the development stage. In that case, those 20-30% go into that “correction work” expense.

However, with the design-driven development approach, the high accuracy of planning eliminates this kind of risk. The actual price the clients pay for the project is not influenced by unforeseen expenses.

Ready instruments for marketing  

This might be one of the main benefits that come with the design-driven development approach. Only after a couple of months, clients have a solid list of deliverables that includes highly detailed clickable prototypes, wireframes, and all the major design elements. This means that the solution can be tested or demonstrated to potential investors.

Wireframes are an important instrument that allows making changes with minimal impact on the project’s timelines and cost.

If it’s a mobile app, clients can start creating ad creatives to test and see how much a lead might cost and determine a target audience. This is also an opportune moment to test the app with a focus group and bring the results back to our team to implement improvements.  

Here’s a list of deliverables you will have at this stage:

  • Scheme of user flows
  • Highly detailed clickable prototype
  • Wireframes
  • Specification document with each feature’s description within the design system
The project path has less obstacles after the first couple of milestones are reached on time.

Bonus: Design systems in place

Why are design systems important? First, let’s define what a design system is. It is a set of guidelines that determine how all of the product pieces should look, function, and interact with each other as part of a unified system.

Design systems are in place at Ein-des-ein as we strive to build modern, scalable products in a fast, affordable manner. After the first steps of ideation and research, designers focus on setting a strong foundation for the upcoming work by creating a system. That system is not only about typography and colors, it’s about building a connection with the brand and coming up with a solid plan that facilitates work and saves time.

A well thought out design system can be shared early with clients to ensure that the vision is right. Clients get an opportunity to say their word early on and approve the initial design direction moving on to more complex stages like reviewing wireframes. Basically, this helps save so much time and give both sides an opportunity to work smarter. 

If you’d like to build a product and want to discuss our approach with us in person, please reach out by filling out the form. We are happy to dive into your project idea and provide our help and services.

Mini-FAQ

Can I bring my own design ideas before the project starts?

Yes, you can share your ideas in the beginning of our collaboration. During business analysis and active project discussion, as a client you get to be as involved as you’d like to and propose edits and suggest improvements. Your ideas will evolve and transform as we go along to arrive at the development stage in its best shape. 

Why are UX and UI design equally important? 

UI design is the design as we know it—it’s all about colors, design elements, fonts, and button shapes. However, UI and UX should go together, because the UX design is absolutely instrumental to serve user needs. UX design is also a must for projects that are characterized by a great deal of uncertainty.

What design tools do you use?

We use a variety of modern design tools that help our team to save time and produce the best results. We use Figma, Adobe products, and Invision among others. You can see a full list of the tools we use on our website.