“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” -Steve Jobs
But it’s not like developers don’t know what design is. They’ve just been giving other factors like features more importance. But as the industry changes, companies are focusing more on design than on features. Before we discuss the importance of design let’s first look at the two types of designs.
Conceptual design in easy words is mind mapping. Initially, developers lay out the plan conceptually in this phase in a non-technical manner. Different companies adopt different techniques in this phase. Most often the standard techniques being followed are flow charts, CRC diagrams, Component Diagrams, Wireframes, etc.
Upon completion of the conceptual design, You get a rough idea of the structure of your software. This essentially will enable you to understand the flow. Once you understand the flow the design is a lot easier for you.
Simple cardboard models, role-playing, or clickable digital prototypes are used to prototype user stories. You understand better through this visual representation. This approach focuses on eliminating mistakes and highlighting possibilities for further development. Alternative business models are created and their prototypes are designed if needed, to uncover where value is added, costs occur, and efficiencies or new revenue streams lie in wait.
In the first phase, you figured out how things were going to be done generally, in this phase, the design shifts to the technical side of things. A technical blueprint is developed that will guide the implementation of the software. The assembly of the software down to each module is started. Developers design many softwares and are very experienced but can get overwhelmed if they don’t follow a set system.
With years of experience in the industry, we have seen technologies come and go. No company can predict the future but they can ensure that the software they build adapts to new requirements, new technology, and new trends. This adds value to your design and makes it robust for years to come.
During the technical design phase developers should integrate mechanisms to enable automation. This automation later benefits the design by making it a more manageable and efficient system. A hidden benefit of automation is the reduction of the future cost incurred if you need to have the software redesigned or managed.
The technical blueprint defines an architecture to assemble your software. Whenever the team decides on architecture, you can always have it referenced. A reference architecture gives you proof that the proposed software design is valid and functioning. Companies that provide a reference architecture ensure that the customer understands that while their design will be unique, a similar design is working for another solution as well.