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User experience design is an extremely vast, multidisciplinary and fascinating field. It shapes the products and services we use on a daily basis, and can make or break the success of a business or brand.
A career in UX design is fast-paced and challenging, requiring a highly diverse skillset. If you want to break into this field, there’s plenty to learn!
In this guide, we’ll provide the ultimate introduction to UX design and tell you everything you need to know about getting started in this exciting industry, including:
Let’s get started!
User experience (UX) refers to any interaction a user has with a product or service. UX design considers each and every element that shapes this experience, how it makes the user feel, and how easy it is for the user to accomplish their desired tasks. This could be anything from how a physical product feels in your hand, to how straightforward the checkout process is when buying something online. The goal of UX design is to create easy, efficient, relevant and all-round pleasant experiences for the user.
“User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
— Don Norman, Cognitive Scientist & User Experience Architect
UX designers combine market research, product development, strategy and design to create seamless user experiences for products, services and processes. They build a bridge to the customer, helping the company to better understand — and fulfil — their needs and expectations.
When talking about UX, the term user interface (UI) design will inevitably crop up. However, it’s important to recognize that, despite often being used interchangeably, UX and UI are two different things.
“UX is focused on the user’s journey to solve a problem; UI is focused on how a product’s surfaces look and function.”
— Ken Norton, Partner at Google Ventures, Ex-Product Manager at Google
User interface design is not the same as UX. UI refers to the actual interface of a product; the visual design of the screens a user navigates through when using a mobile app, or the buttons they click when browsing a website. UI design is concerned with all the visual and interactive elements of a product interface, covering everything from typography and color palettes to animations and navigational touch points (such as buttons and scrollbars). You can read more about the work of UI designers here.
UX and UI go hand-in-hand, and the design of the product interface has a huge impact on the overall user experience. Learn more about the difference between UX and UI design in this guide.
UX design is everywhere: the layout of a supermarket, the ergonomics of a vehicle, the usability of a mobile app. While the term “user experience” was first coined by Don Norman in the 90s, the concept of UX has been around for much longer.
To understand the principles of UX design, it helps to explore the history behind it.
Some of the most basic tenets of UX can be traced as far back as 4000 BC to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui, which focuses on arranging your surroundings in the most optimal, harmonious or user-friendly way. There is also evidence to suggest that, as early as the 5th century BC, Ancient Greek civilizations designed their tools and workplaces based on ergonomic principles.
In the late 19th century, great thinkers and industrialists like Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford began integrating basic experience design principles into their production processes. On a mission to make human labor more efficient, Taylor conducted extensive research into the interactions between workers and their tools — just like UX designers today investigate how users interact with products and services.
Another key figure in the history of UX is industrial engineer Henry Dreyfuss. In his book Designing for People (1955), Dreyfuss provides a very accurate description of what we now know as UX design:
“When the point of contact between the product and the people becomes a point of friction, then the [designer] has failed. On the other hand, if people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient — or just plain happier — by contact with the product, then the designer has succeeded.”
— Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Engineer
In the early 90s, cognitive scientist Don Norman joined the team at Apple as their User Experience Architect, making him the first person to have UX in his job title. He came up with the term “user experience design” because he wanted to “cover all aspects of the person’s experience with a system, including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual.” Since then, each of these areas have expanded into specializations of their own. These days, there’s a growing tendency for companies to hire for very specific roles, such as UX researcher or interaction designer, to cover all of the different aspects of user experience.
For centuries, humans have been seeking to optimize their surroundings for maximum user comfort. These days, the term UX design has strong digital connotations, often referring to apps, websites, software, gadgets and technology.
UX is a broad umbrella term that can be divided up into four main disciplines: Experience Strategy (ExS), Interaction Design (IxD), User Research (UR) and Information Architecture (IA).
UX Design Disciplines: The Quadrant Model
UX design is not just about the end user; it also brings huge value to the business providing the product or service. Experience strategy is all about devising a holistic business strategy, incorporating both the customer’s needs and those of the company.
Interaction design looks at how the user interacts with a system, considering all interactive elements such as buttons, page transitions and animations. Interaction designers seek to create intuitive designs that allow the user to effortlessly complete core tasks and actions.Learn more: What are UX, UI and Interaction Design?
UX design is all about identifying a problem and designing the solution. This requires extensive research and feedback from existing or potential customers. During the research phase, UX designers will launch surveys, conduct interviews and usability testing, and create user personas in order to understand the end user’s needs and objectives. They gather both qualitative and quantitative data and use this to make good design decisions. Learn how to conduct user experience research here.
Information architecture is the practice of organizing information and content in a meaningful and accessible way. This is crucial in helping the user to navigate their way around a product. To determine the IA of any given product, information architects consider the relationship between different sets of content. They also pay close attention to the language used and ensure that it is both convincing and consistent.
Within these four areas, there is a whole host of sub-disciplines. As you can see in the graphic below, user experience design is so much more than just a case of sketching and wireframing. It’s a multidisciplinary field, drawing upon elements of cognitive science and psychology, computer science, communication design, usability engineering and more.
Now let’s take a look at how these disciplines translate into the day-to-day work of a UX designer.
“How do I explain what I do at a party? The short version is that I say I humanize technology.”
— Fred Beecher, Director of UX, The Nerdery
UX designers seek to make everyday products, services and technology as user-friendly and accessible as possible. They employ design thinking to reconcile the user’s desires with technical feasibility and business viability. The diagram below shows the Design Thinking Process, adapted from the d.school. The Design Thinking Process can be broken down into four different stages: inspiration, conceptualization, iteration and exposition.
During the inspiration stage, the UX designer seeks to understand and observe. To do this, they conduct extensive research and competitor analysis in order to fully grasp the problem or challenge they are setting out to solve. This involves interviewing those who are, or will be, directly engaged with the product.https://www.youtube.com/embed/FrsQSplB_Cg
The designer then uses this feedback to identify the user’s goals, emotions, pain-points and behaviors. All of this information helps to form user personas. The next step is to consider what these personas are trying to accomplish when using a particular product, and the journey they will take to do so. The designer considers information architecture and uses various techniques, such as card sorting, to map out user flows.
Once the user flows have been determined, the designer knows what steps the user needs to take to complete their desired tasks. They will visually brainstorm solutions for each of these steps, creating wireframes and prototypes of what the final product might look like.
With prototypes to hand, the UX designer will then conduct usability tests to see how users interact with the product. This shows whether or not the user is able to complete their desired tasks, or if changes need to be made.
UX designers not only come up with solutions to user problems; they also need to present their ideas and designs to key stakeholders as part of their day-to-day work.
This is just a broad overview of the UX design process. In reality, tasks will vary depending on both the size and the specific needs of the company. Larger companies might employ a team of designers, with each focusing on a specific aspect of the process such as research or visual design. In smaller companies and startups, it’s not unusual for the UX designer to wear many different hats and take on the whole spectrum of tasks.
No matter what product or service they are designing, or what stage of the process they are at, UX designers will ask themselves the following questions:
Learn more: What Does a UX Designer Actually Do?
UX designers rely on a number of different tools as they go about their work. At the research and inspiration stage, they will use survey and polling tools as well as video chat software to interview users and gather as much information as possible. There are also specific programs for wireframing, prototyping and usability testing, with Balsamiq, InVision and UsabilityHub among the most popular in the industry. In addition to design-specific programs, designers also use communication and project management tools to keep track of their work at all times. You can learn more about UX design tools here.Learn more: A Day in the Life of a Remote UX Designer
As the tech industry grows, the field of UX design is becoming increasingly varied. UX designers can find themselves working on a wide range of projects within various contexts. Here are just some applications for UX design.
In the age of the internet and smartphones, the usability of a website, mobile app or piece of software will largely determine its success on the market. Together with UI designers, UX designers are responsible for ensuring a smooth online experience for the user. From ecommerce websites to dating apps, from CRM software to web-based email clients, each and every online journey you take has been carefully designed by a UX professional.
Voice user interfaces are revolutionizing the way we interact with technology. In the U.S., around 50% of adults use voice search on a daily basis, and ComScore estimates that, in the early 2020s, 50% of all searches will be voice-based. UX designers have a huge role to play in the rise of voice, as products like Amazon Alexa can only be successful if they are user-friendly and accessible for the masses. Designing for voice requires a slightly different approach to that of websites and apps: learn more in this beginner’s guide to VUI design.
With the global VR market expected to be worth around $27 billion by 2022, UX designers will increasingly be required to design immersive experiences. Likewise, since the Pokemon Go craze hit, augmented reality has also been working its way into the mainstream. More and more, UX designers will have to adapt their approach to ensure the latest technologies are accessible and user-friendly.
UX design doesn’t only apply to tangible objects and digital products; experiences need to be designed, too. This is where service design comes in. As explained on Wikipedia: “Service design is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between the service provider and its customers. Service design may function as a way to inform changes to an existing service or create a new service entirely.”
Whenever you buy a coffee, stay in a hotel or use public transport, your experience is the result of service design, and service design methodology is very similar to that of classic UX design.
The value of UX design is immense; not only for the end user, but also for the business or brand behind the user experience.
From a user perspective, good UX design ultimately enables us to go about our daily lives as effortlessly as possible. From setting an alarm to chatting with friends online, listening to music or using a calendar app, the ease with which we complete these actions is the result of good design.
When designing these experiences, UX designers must consider how they can bring value to all kinds of users. They do this by practicing inclusive design—otherwise known as universal or accessible design.
As motivational speaker Molly Burke explains, universal design is the practice of “designing and building everything to be accessed, enjoyed and understood to its fullest extent, by everyone, regardless of their size, their age, their ability, or their perceived ability.”
Universal design follows seven key principles:
From a business perspective, designing first-class user experiences is absolutely key to ensuring customer satisfaction and building brand loyalty. Only if a product or service is hassle-free and enjoyable will the user want to return.
“Good design is good business.”
— Thomas Watson Jr., CEO, IBM
According to a study conducted by the Design Management Institute, design-driven companies consistently outperformed the S&P 500 by 219% over a 10-year period. Furthermore, a study commissioned by Adobe found that design thinking in business creates a measurable competitive advantage. Design-led companies reported 41% higher market share, 50% more loyal customers, and 46% competitive advantage overall.
User-friendly, universal design is beneficial to everyone, and UX designers are in a position to truly shape the world around us.
As we have seen, UX design is an extremely multifaceted field. Working in UX requires a highly diverse skillset coupled with a passion for user-centric design. A career in UX can be very varied, challenging and financially rewarding; according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a User Experience Designer in the United States is $97,460.
There is no standard background or path that leads to a career in UX. However, the best UX designers typically share certain qualities and attributes, including:
Learn more: Are you a good fit for a career in UX?
UX designers come from all walks of life, and you don’t necessarily need a university degree to break into the field. Employers tend to look for a mixture of design skills, business acumen and soft skills. Some requirements you will often see in UX designer job descriptions include:
What counts as essential or desirable will vary depending on both the company and on the nature of the role. You can learn more about key UX design skills here.
Many people switch to UX design after gaining experience in another field — like psychology, computer science, marketing or customer service. To get started in UX design, it’s important to do plenty of reading and research, to get to know the UX workflow, familiarize yourself with industry tools and build up a solid design portfolio. The most effective way to prepare for a career in UX is by taking a structured course and working on practical projects. Find out what exactly you should learn in a UX design course here – and feel free to check out these free UX design tutorials.
How many plots are there in Hollywood movies? Some critics say there are only five. How many ways can you structure a program? Right now, the majority of programs use one of five architectures.
Mark Richards is a Boston-based software architect who’s been thinking for more than 30 years about how data should flow through software. His new (free) book, Software Architecture Patterns, focuses on five architectures that are commonly used to organize software systems. The best way to plan new programs is to study them and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
In this article, I’ve distilled the five architectures into a quick reference of the strengths and weaknesses, as well as optimal use cases. Remember that you can use multiple patterns in a single system to optimize each section of code with the best architecture. Even though they call it computer science, it’s often an art.
This approach is probably the most common because it is usually built around the database, and many applications in business naturally lend themselves to storing information in tables.
This is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many of the biggest and best software frameworks—like Java EE, Drupal, and Express—were built with this structure in mind, so many of the applications built with them naturally come out in a layered architecture.
The code is arranged so the data enters the top layer and works its way down each layer until it reaches the bottom, which is usually a database. Along the way, each layer has a specific task, like checking the data for consistency or reformatting the values to keep them consistent. It’s common for different programmers to work independently on different layers.
Image credit: Izhaki
The advantage of a layered architecture is the separation of concerns, which means that each layer can focus solely on its role. This makes it:
Proper layered architectures will have isolated layers that aren’t affected by certain changes in other layers, allowing for easier refactoring. This architecture can also contain additional open layers, like a service layer, that can be used to access shared services only in the business layer but also get bypassed for speed.
Slicing up the tasks and defining separate layers is the biggest challenge for the architect. When the requirements fit the pattern well, the layers will be easy to separate and assign to different programmers.
Many programs spend most of their time waiting for something to happen. This is especially true for computers that work directly with humans, but it’s also common in areas like networks. Sometimes there’s data that needs processing, and other times there isn’t.
The event-driven architecture helps manage this by building a central unit that accepts all data and then delegates it to the separate modules that handle the particular type. This handoff is said to generate an “event,” and it is delegated to the code assigned to that type.
Many applications have a core set of operations that are used again and again in different patterns that depend upon the data and the task at hand. The popular development tool Eclipse, for instance, will open files, annotate them, edit them, and start up background processors. The tool is famous for doing all of these jobs with Java code and then, when a button is pushed, compiling the code and running it.
In this case, the basic routines for displaying a file and editing it are part of the microkernel. The Java compiler is just an extra part that’s bolted on to support the basic features in the microkernel. Other programmers have extended Eclipse to develop code for other languages with other compilers. Many don’t even use the Java compiler, but they all use the same basic routines for editing and annotating files.
The extra features that are layered on top are often called plug-ins. Many call this extensible approach a plug-in architecture instead.
Richards likes to explain this with an example from the insurance business: “Claims processing is necessarily complex, but the actual steps are not. What makes it complex are all of the rules.”
The solution is to push some basic tasks—like asking for a name or checking on payment—into the microkernel. The different business units can then write plug-ins for the different types of claims by knitting together the rules with calls to the basic functions in the kernel.
Software can be like a baby elephant: It is cute and fun when it’s little, but once it gets big, it is difficult to steer and resistant to change. The microservice architecture is designed to help developers avoid letting their babies grow up to be unwieldy, monolithic, and inflexible. Instead of building one big program, the goal is to create a number of different tiny programs and then create a new little program every time someone wants to add a new feature. Think of a herd of guinea pigs.
“If you go onto your iPad and look at Netflix’s UI, every single thing on that interface comes from a separate service,” points out Richards. The list of your favorites, the ratings you give to individual films, and the accounting information are all delivered in separate batches by separate services. It’s as if Netflix is a constellation of dozens of smaller websites that just happens to present itself as one service.
This approach is similar to the event-driven and microkernel approaches, but it’s used mainly when the different tasks are easily separated. In many cases, different tasks can require different amounts of processing and may vary in use. The servers delivering Netflix’s content get pushed much harder on Friday and Saturday nights, so they must be ready to scale up. The servers that track DVD returns, on the other hand, do the bulk of their work during the week, just after the post office delivers the day’s mail. By implementing these as separate services, the Netflix cloud can scale them up and down independently as demand changes.
Many websites are built around a database, and they function well as long as the database is able to keep up with the load. But when usage peaks, and the database can’t keep up with the constant challenge of writing a log of the transactions, the entire website fails.
The space-based architecture is designed to avoid functional collapse under high load by splitting up both the processing and the storage between multiple servers. The data is spread out across the nodes just like the responsibility for servicing calls. Some architects use the more amorphous term “cloud architecture.” The name “space-based” refers to the “tuple space” of the users, which is cut up to partition the work between the nodes. “It’s all in-memory objects,” says Richards. “The space-based architecture supports things that have unpredictable spikes by eliminating the database.”
Storing the information in RAM makes many jobs much faster, and spreading out the storage with the processing can simplify many basic tasks. But the distributed architecture can make some types of analysis more complex. Computations that must be spread out across the entire data set—like finding an average or doing a statistical analysis—must be split up into subjobs, spread out across all of the nodes, and then aggregated when it’s done.
These are Richards’ big five. They may be just what you need. And if they’re not, the right solution could be a mixture of two. Or maybe even three. Be sure to download his book for free; it contains a lot more detail. If you can think of more, please let us know in the comments.
Custom product development is costly, mostly because developers build everything from scratch. However, there are things that you can automate and thus significantly reduce costs and time for product development.
In this blog post, we’re going to talk about how to accelerate your product time-to-market with the help of our development framework that automates crucial but repetitive tasks.
Authentication has become an integral part of most mobile and web app architectures. Likely, your app is no exception. Knowing a user’s identity allows any application or system to keep these data safe and provide the same personalized experience across all of the user’s devices.
The authentication process is what ensures users repeat access to their accounts while preventing any unauthenticatedusers from gaining access.
We all know the old-school method of registering a user with their basic info (email, password, phone number, etc.).
The process is simple: users input their credentials on the website or app login form. That information is then sent to the authentication server. Then we match the email and password with the previously stored data. If they match, we give them access. If a match isn’t found, users will be asked to re-enter their credentials and try again.
According to Forrester Research, about 11% of people worldwide leave websites if the registration process is too complicated.
As we all know, registering for a new account is time-consuming and can bother users. Having the option for authorization via social networks allows users to avoid the tedious registration process.
Of course, you might think that it’s not rocket science, and from a technical perspective, all these tasks are routine. It’s hard for us to disagree. However, when developing all this from scratch for your system, you risk spending way more costs and time.
To save our clients money and time, we created a framework. We call it CXAuth. CXAuth allows deploying secure authentication and authorization modules in the client’s system within an hour. This framework is flexible and allows us to automate this process. CXAuth aims to accelerate the project’s start. It provides backend services and ready-made solutions to authenticate users to your app.
In brief, this solution is suitable for:
The process of analyzing your product performance allows us to track how users interact with your app. As a result, it improves user engagement and the product itself.
Related Article: How to increase user engagement: a three-step structure
Let’s take a closer look at these concepts and the benefits of using this framework:
Elasticsearch – a search and analytics engine.
Logstash – a plugin-based data collection and processing engine.
Kibana – allows users to visualize data with charts and graphs in Elasticsearch.
The value of this framework for digital product development is in the ability to track both technical data and the level of business logic. It helps you to understand how to improve the app performance and fix any issues.
When you build cross-platform apps, all of your clients share one database set in real-time. They also automatically receive updates with the newest data. It is called data synchronization. Data synchronization is the process of maintaining consistency and accuracy between discrete data sets. Any change that happens to a particular data set is reflected in the other data sets in near real-time.
You should have a way of synchronizing data between databases in real-time. For example, when data is changed in one place, it should be synchronized with another database. Changes need to be detected and automatically synchronized with another database. This process should be fully automated.
We have developed a set of algorithms and tested them. This set allows us to:
In addition, data synchronization results in cost-efficiency, high performance, data security, data consistency, and accuracy for an organization.
Do you need to have your website or app users upload media to your server? Since you’re not the owner of the incoming files, you can’t guarantee these files to be uploaded in the right JPG and PNG format.
A good user experience is when the user uploads the image, and the system automatically converts it without sacrificing the page performance and image quality.
The structure of our framework makes it possible to transform images and videos automatically, without bothering users to convert these files to match your platform standards. If you want to collect any media files, your users add the files, and that’s it. The framework does the rest of the magic.
Related Article: CX vs UX: The complete comparison
In a nutshell, with the help of our product development framework, you save costs and time. It covers a large portion of the services that software developers would normally build themselves for several weeks, whereas they would better focus on the app experience itself. The services provided by this framework are hosted in the cloud and scale with little to no effort on the part of our software developers. Also, this framework allows you to:
The core principle of a framework: not having to reinvent the wheel. Our goal is to get rid of low value-added tasks and focus on the business needs of our client.
For example, the developer won’t need to spend up to three days and create an authentication form. The time saved we dedicate to more valuable tasks. As a result, you will receive a high-quality code and a better app experience.
If you’re looking for a reliable team to build your product, we’re here to help.
A UX designer is one of the most in-demand careers in the creative industry right now. Understand the fundamental skills a UX designer should have.
Few fields offer more growth opportunity than user experience (UX). User experience roles are considered to be some of the best jobs in America, according to CNN. Entering this promising industry requires the right training and skills to meet rising business demands.
UX describes all interactions a customer has with a company, its services, and its products, the Nielsen Norman Group explains. Designers who specialize in UX work to ensure all points of contact, from the opening of a product’s box to the layout of its digital interfaces, are easy and enjoyable to navigate. The UX skills that designers need are varied, stemming from areas such as graphic design, psychology, engineering, and marketing. UX designers must cultivate a wheelhouse of both applied and soft skills to excel.
When students possess an applied skill, they have knowledge of a specific competency. This might, for example, mean gaining familiarity with UX tools such as Adobe Creative Suite.
UX designers can benefit from mastering these five applied skills.
To effectively perform their jobs, UX designers must understand what their audiences want and how they view the world. This means mastering the ability to plan, conduct, and analyze findings from a variety of research methods, UXmatters explains. Aptitudes in user testing and analytical research are particularly helpful.
Information architecture involves organizing information in an understandable manner. Applicable to websites, apps, software, printed materials, and even physical spaces, information architecture may include systems like labeling, navigation, and search functions.
A wireframe is a blueprint for each screen of an interface. Its main purpose is to show how something works, not how it looks. Wireframing defines the elements that need to be present from page to page. It includes all the interface components that are needed for all possible interactions and is generally designed in gray scale, using boxes and lines.
Prototypes allow designers to test functionality. They help designers to ensure there is a match between a system and its users before construction on the final product begins. Prototypes allow designers to test both page functionality and overall navigation. As problems are identified, the UX designer may go through several iterations before landing on a design that meets both business and user goals. UX designers should have the ability to prototype quickly and effectively.
Because design is highly graphic in nature, UX designers need to be competent in visual language. Proficiency in visual communication includes an understanding of concepts like:
In addition to mastering technical requirements, UX designers must have certain “soft skills,” or aptitudes applied to multiple work settings. These might include qualities such as adaptability or self-awareness. “Soft” UX design skills may include the following.
Professionals who are curious have the capacity to engage with clients, products, and challenges in meaningful ways. Curiosity leads to asking insightful questions, active listening, and engaging more deeply with problems. UX is a consistently changing field. Developing a sense of curiosity helps designers keep up.
Empathy is the ability to understand and feel the emotions of others. UX emphasizes a positive customer experience. That’s why the best UX designers take the time to learn about people and their inclinations. A deep understanding of end users allows designers to create products that truly engage and delight.
Communication is essential in UX. Designers must convey product ideas, explain thinking behind designs, and work with other teams. Their work also requires elements of storytelling. Effective communication skills help designers create, collaborate, adapt, and improve products and systems with ease.
Good UX design means incorporating the ideas of developers, clients, and team members. UX designers need to effectively give and receive feedback, explore solutions, and incorporate the expertise and needs of everyone involved in a project to create the best products possible.
If you want to gain an edge in the UX industry, you have numerous options available.
Online degree programs provide you with groundwork to base your career on. The digital format of online programs offers invaluable hands-on training. Earning higher education credentials also provides a boost in your job search. However, beware of short-term programs. Learning UX for a week might be interesting, but it won’t necessarily help build the foundation for a successful career.
Learn from the best, by staying on top of the publications, blogs, and social media postings of the UX industry giants.
Knowing other UX professionals means opportunities for professional development and employment. Societies such as the User Experience Professionals Association or AIGA (the professional association for design) can provide valuable support and community.
Perhaps the best way to improve your UX design skills is to enroll in a university degree program. At Lesley University, you can find the resources you need to establish your UX career.
At Lesley University, the online BS in Design for User Experience equips students with the training they need to influence and inspire in the field of UX. Students will learn how to research, interpret, conceptualize, and design interfaces that create more holistic and interconnected user experiences. This asynchronous, interdisciplinary program allows students to begin or refocus their careers to successfully work in a wide array of contexts and work environments.
From the very beginning, any digital product development project needs a clear idea of what exactly to build and why. Often, the “clear idea” can be associated with a long list of requirements – a fixed list of project specifications.
Quite a scary phrase, agree? For this reason, most software projects start to shift to a more flexible approach, where they can easily respond to new information, user and market needs, as well as their business goals.
We talk about Agile scrum methodology. To map the connections and dependencies between all the software development pieces and business needs, we break down all the requirements into prioritized steps, which are user stories.
In this blog post, we give a foundational understanding of what user stories are, how we write them at CX Dojo, and how they can be used to create products using an agile workflow.
User stories are short descriptions of something that users of your product want to achieve, written in a simple and non-technical way. They are used to define the product backlog in an Agile development workflow. As a rule, a user story consists of three elements:
They usually follow this format:
“As a [type of user] I want [some particular feature] so that [some benefit] is received.”
In other words, every user story includes who, what, and why of product features. Let’s take a closer look at each part:
As a [type of user] – For whom is this feature designed? We should also determine their intent, as well as the value they’ll gain from this feature. This is achieved by creating a buying persona.
I want [some particular feature] – What is the user trying to achieve? Here we describe the end goal of the user not aspects of the feature itself.
So that [some benefit] – Define the potential problem that requires to be solved so that the user can benefit from the feature we’ve implemented. In other words, how will we deliver value to the user, and will it solve a problem?
With the help of this template, you can write them at whatever level of detail you want. At the highest level, you can write a large user story that covers a huge range of functionality. For example: “As a user, I want to get access to the list of local restaurants. ”. Such large user stories are called epics.
That’s a lot to work from a single sprint or iteration. So we usually break down epics into smaller chunks like:
“As a user, I can register in the app so that I can see a full list of local restaurants”.
“As a user, I can log in to my account so that I can have access to data based on my subscription”.
A user story allows us to get requirements written in a language that is understandable for both business and the development team. If written properly, our customer immediately sees the result of the implementation of particular functionality. At the same time, this allows the development team to be more flexible when choosing technical solutions and meeting customer expectations.
The key thing is delivering business value. You should start writing them with a clear business value statement. At the moment when you haven’t done anything yet and the costs are minimal, define “why you need this functionality or feature”. After reading a user story, the product development team knows why they are building a feature and the value that the feature creates for the end-user. With the help of user stories, you can crystallize the value of your idea early on and further create better user experience, more effective roadmaps, and ensure that the user can easily accomplish their goals with the product.
It’s also worth noting that user stories are not a magic wand and they won’t replace complete project specifications. They act as a starting point for further refinement by the scrum team. Primarily, a they serve the following purposes:
User stories are not always the same: some of them can be completed faster, others might take a bit more time and resources. A set of user stories form epic. Epics are too complex to implement in a single sprint or iteration, so we break them down into several smaller stories. It’s also more convenient to discuss the product at a high level, for example, with stakeholders with no technical background, by looking at it as a set of epics.
When creating epics, a product owner includes the following things as a very basic structure:
Epics and user stories further shape the entire roadmap of the system.
In a nutshell:
User stories: short, compact descriptions illustrating a customer need and desired outcome.
Epics: larger bodies of work which group related user stories together.
In case of Agile methodology, anyone can write them. At CX Dojo, The Product Owner (PO) “owns” the product backlog on behalf of the stakeholders, and is primarily responsible for creating and managing it throughout the development lifecycle. Our client is not obliged to understand the technical nuances, just like the development team shouldn’t dive into the client’s business aspects. Therefore, the product owner acts here as a link between the development process and the customer.
A basic user story is like a summary. It should be short, unique, and not misleading. We always create a new story from the perspective of any particular role: a business or a user. This part is considered to be the cornerstone of the user story: it creates empathy in the team for the user and a clear understanding of the problem to be solved.
The second required part is “comments”, which are the key clarifications that the business wants to communicate. Writing the “comments” section should contain a small set of business rules, if any, or more detailed explanations and steps of a previous part.
The final part is the acceptance criteria. It’s a must-have ingredient of each user story, which is written from the product’s point of view. Acceptance criteria is a so-called checklist that determines whether all the parameters are completed and working. Before the developers mark the user story as “done”, they have to make sure that what has been written in the user story works as planned and tested. Acceptance criteria is an important part of the entire development process as it helps to clarify what the team should build before they start to work as well as ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the problem/solution of the product.
At CX Dojo, when writing acceptance criteria, we adhere to the following rules:
Okay, maybe so far it looks a little confusing until you see real examples of user stories paired with acceptance criteria. Let’s take a look at one of our projects. This is an online platform that helps to find local restaurants. For this project, we’ve already created a number of user stories so let’s take two of them as an example: one from the user’s perspective and one from the perspective of a restaurant owner.
Basic user story:
As an unregistered user or logged in user, I can see the restaurant preview page, so that I can navigate to the selected restaurant, see restaurant description, and contact details.
As an unregistered user, I can see restaurant details only for one restaurant.
As a logged-in user, I can see details for a number of restaurants that are nearby if those are available in my region.
1. [Details Preview]- Restaurant preview page.
2. [Hello Preview] - where a user can choose a restaurant to see more details.
3. [Registered Preview] - where an unregistered user can select a restaurant to see more details.
4. [Search Preview] - where a logged-in user can select a restaurant based on search criteria.
As an unregistered user, I can click on the restaurant on [Registered Preview].
As a user, I can see if there is no internet connection with the ability to retry to connect.
As a logged-in user, I can select a restaurant on the [Hello Preview] page to see the details.
As a logged-in user, I can use multiple categories to sort out restaurants that are nearby.
As a logged-in user, I can see which criteria were selected (mark in orange or gray out).
As a logged-in user, I can use a search to find a restaurant by name and see search results.
As an unregistered user, I can see the Details Preview page of the restaurant that is available for unregistered users.
As an unregistered user, I can see restaurant description, address, and contact details on the Details preview page.
As an unregistered user or logged-in user, I can click the “Start your way” button on the map and navigate to the restaurant by pre-installed navigation app.
As an unregistered user or logged-in user, I can click the “Telephone number” button (if exists) so that I can use my phone to dial in.
As an unregistered user or logged-in user, I can click on the website URL (if exists) and the link will be opened in the browser.
As an unregistered user or logged-in user, I can click the “Pro tips” button and content should be updated accordingly.
As an unregistered user or logged-in user, I can zoom in or zoom out the map.
As an unregistered user or logged-in user, I can click the “Back” button to return to the previous page.
Basic user story:
As a restaurant owner, I want to attract my potential customers with photos of my establishment.
Implement uploading restaurant cover photo.
Implement uploading restaurant photos.
As a user, I can upload cover photos up to 2mb by clicking on the image container.
As a user, I can upload multiple restaurant photos up to 2mb by clicking on the “add image” button.
As a user, I immediately see newly uploaded photos.
Photos are bound to the restaurant without hitting the “save” button.
As a user, I can delete a photo by clicking the “trash” icon in the right upper corner of the uploaded image thumbnail.
Once you’ve written your user stories, you can begin estimating them. The development team estimates them in story points. Each one is prioritized according to:
Then we add up the time for all user stories in the backlog, divide by the number of developers working on the project, and calculate a rough estimate of how much time it will take to complete the project. The further you are into a project, the better you’ll be able to calculate the average number of story points your team completes per sprint. By knowing the sprint duration and multiplying it by the total number of stories divided by velocity, it is possible to estimate the duration of the entire project.
User stories help manage the development process more effectively. With this approach, the business is confident that the team is moving in the right direction and the implementation of each story speeds up the product release. In order to complete more user stories during each sprint, you can expand the team or create up to two separate scrum teams on complex projects.
All great products (and not-so-great products, for that matter) begin at the same point A: Development. If a growing business is the fruit of your labor, new product development (NPD) would be the seed of an idea. It’s the silence before the bang.
But it’s not just new companies that benefit from NPD; product development is a critical part of any thriving business, no matter its age. Markets change, competitors change, and if there’s one thing that the digital era has shown us it’s that customers change too.
As a result, even the most seasoned companies with the most established offerings won’t be caught standing still. Take Apple, for example: The company moved from Macs to music to iPhones and beyond in a relatively short period of time. Truly successful companies are always generating new ideas and refining their existing products.
In this article we’re going to take a look at:
In this article, we’re going to be looking specifically at digital products. In a way, digital products can be similar to digital services in the sense that they automate tasks or operate like a tool. As a result, you may sometimes see these words used interchangeably. We want to clarify on how we’re using the language here:
The development process is the means by which a product, digital or physical, is created. In practice there isn’t a ton of difference between digital and physical product development—but as you’ll see, the models we mention evolved out of the tech and software industry and reflect that origin.
Before we dive into the individual models, let’s check out a high-level overview of what the digital product development process looks like.
Even if you subscribe to a specific model for digital product development, you’ll find these common themes:
This is the phase of pure ideation, also known as the Fuzzy Front End (FFE). This pre-development phase is fueled by creativity and limitless possibilities. The key to this stage is to put ourselves in the customers’ shoes, and there are many avenues that can help you do that:
In the initial stages of ideation, it’s really a matter of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. We want to generate as many ideas as possible.
If you are struggling with the ideation phase (or need to reign it in) you might try using a structured technique. While it may seem counterintuitive to use structured thinking to break down creativity barriers, many companies find success with creative thinking techniques like SCAMPER or SWOT.
SCAMPER was popularized by Bob Eberle to ignite creative brainstorming. Each letter of the acronym represents a different way of developing a new product:
For example: Someone had the clever idea of combining a mobile phone with an mp3 player and a camera.
Industry disruptors like Amazon and Netflix eliminate an intermediary.
Twitter is a great example of a company that adapted. Before Twitter was Twitter, it was Odeo — a podcasting platform. Apple beat Odeo to the punch, so Evan Williams held a series of hackathons with Odeo employees. He asked them to hold off on their normal tasks and instead consider how Odeo could be reinvented. On the last hackathon, Jack Dorsey created Twitter (a rough MVP, if you will). This was an historical pivot, and it essentially came from asking the question “What can we do with the product we already have?”
SWOT analysis is a simple framework used to assess a company’s current position in order to inform a new strategy. This can be applied to marketing and sales initiatives (or any other facet of business that requires strategy), as well as product development. The idea is to take stock of the existing circumstances, and to use that reality to chart a course forward.
SWOT consists of:
SWOT is also called external-internal analysis, because the first two points tend to relate to internal forces, and the second two points tend to relate to external forces. Using this framework as a guide, we can discover ways to minimize risk and maximize resources.
At this point the product development team will likely be linking up with the marketing department. After all, we can’t talk about strategy without talking about the customers that strategy is in service to, and understanding customers falls largely into marketing’s purview.
If you use one of the creative problem solving methods in phase #1, it’s likely that you will already have considered your current standing in a market or industry. That comes in handy as you now move onto developing strategic elements like:
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to strategy, and this is where teaming up with seasoned growth experts is beneficial — they bring the insight and expertise needed to bring all these elements together.
If there’s one thing to bear in mind about digital product development, it’s that the process tends to be highly iterative; whereas that idea from phase #1 is the germ of sand, phase #3 is the layer upon layer of nacre.
The first layer is the prototype. The idea here is to establish the most basic version of the product. This means it will likely have little to no functionality. It’s mostly a basic design with the UI and UX hashed out. Like a mockup that can be as high- or low-fidelity as needed. The prototype is often used to solicit initial feedback from stakeholders and prospective users.
Then, there’s typically some iterative development that takes place. One way of breaking this down is:
Prior to the official release, the digital product is continuously put through the wringer. These strict quality control procedures help to eliminate defects. And then comes…
…the peak moment. Also called commercialization, this is when a company publicly rolls out a product.
Depending on how polished the product is, you may or may not opt for a soft launch. Often with digital products, there are still bugs and kinks to be worked out. Launching an MVP or keeping the launch semi-private may actually help you scale more efficiently. Following that, there may be other, bigger marketing pushes.
There is a lot that goes into a successful launch but it can be mostly boiled down to three key components:
Of course, launching a product is just the start. Following launch, the singular objective of a company is growth. We’ve written about using insight-driven data for growth here.
What we’ve laid about above is the general trajectory of the digital product development process. There are, however, specific models that tech and software companies often use.
In our experience, the best approach tends to vary on a case-by-case basis. You may need to meld models together in order to tailor something to your company’s needs.
Common models and methods include:
This is the most traditional approach. Waterfall development offers a logical, top to bottom progression in which one stage must be entirely completed before moving to the next stage.
What it looks like:
Between each of these stages, there is usually a “stage gate,” which is a review of the prior stage.
Pros of Waterfall:
Cons of Waterfall:
Agile development (or more specifically, SCRUM) is waterfall development’s more dynamic and iterative cousin. Rather than one long timeline, agile is arranged into “sprints.” A sprint is usually a duration of weeks and each sprint is distinguished by a list of deliverables. At the end of each sprint, the result is evaluated by the project team and customers. Agile relies heavily on customer involvement throughout the entire development process.
What it looks like:
You’ll notice, however, that the stages aren’t too different from what we see in the traditional waterfall model. Perhaps the biggest differences between the two are:
Pros of Agile:
Cons of Agile:
Adapted from Toyota’s legendary manufacturing process (which has gone on to shape industries all over the world), lean development is all about quick delivery and quality-first progress. The lean digital product lifecycle usually looks something like this:
What it looks like:
It can be thought of as a subset of agile development, since it also speeds up the development process by taking an iterative “learn as we go” approach.
Pros of Lean:
Cons of Lean:
There are as many approaches to new product development as there are businesses; in our experience, it’s never the same journey twice. If you’re about to take the plunge into product development, consider partnering with Orogamis growth experts. We’re well-versed in digital product development and know how to leverage data and market research to provide you with the strongest possible foundation for the development and launch of a new product.
Great user experience (UX) means better business results. What are the best practices to design a great user experience? In this article, we will walk you through UX best practices by providing you cool examples and guidelines.
Given the popularity yet confusion surrounding this term, we have decided to walk you through user experience you definitions, best practices and some valuable examples of do’s and dont’s.
User experience (UX) is made of all the interactions a user has with a product or service. It is the personal, internal experience customers go through when using a product’s interface.
Let’s take as an example an e-commerce website. If a customer finds the buying experience to be long, complex and complicated, then her UX will be a bad one. Say instead her purchasing experience is easy and hustle free, then the UX will be considered a good one. This will probably push the customer to choose and purchase the products on those websites where she experienced a good user experience.
While it is still important for a product to function, experience has also become extremely relevant: the better the experience you’re offering, the more likely customers will choose you over your competitors: UX can be a differentiator in a crowded marketplace.
UX design is all about creating extremely user-friendly interfaces that can enhance users’ satisfaction and usability.
UX design is entirely based on users’ needs: any UX designer building interfaces should, first of all, shape her work on users’ needs and perceptions: what type of person will visit the website/app? What will they expect? How can I make their experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible?
Web design plays an important role in user experience. Nowadays a lot of companies interact with clients on their website or app. Sometimes users complete the entire customer journey on websites without even going to a brick and mortar store. All of this shows web design is an important part of user experience. It is then definitely worth spending resources on it.
Many aspects matter in websites user experience but here is a selection we made with the top 5:
UX is often confused with similar yet different terms e.g. usability. We have decided to finally clear out all these terms, starting from usability.
Usability is the ease of use of an object/interface. While user experience covers the whole interaction between the user and the object/interface. Usability is a subset of UX, as it surely an important part of the user experience, but one of many. User Experience covers also other aspects of the product/interface such as branding, design and function.
Customer experience represents every step of the journey from when users are looking for information and running price comparison to when they are actually trying the product, it involves all channels and it involves every aspect of a brand.
User experience instead deals with people interacting with a product and the experience they receive from such interaction. UX is then a part of customer experience.
While UX is the internal experience of customers as they interact with any aspect of a product/service, UI is the sum of all the visual elements of a product/service. UI is all about screens, pages, icons; it of course contributes to making an experience better (or worse) but it is just a part of the whole.
We selected three websites with a remarkably good user experience. These can serve both as a guide and as a source of inspiration.
We think it is also important looking at some websites which provide quite a bad experience to users. You can learn from the worst as much as you can learn from the best!
We thought to give you also some examples of products with good user experience. This can help you better understand user experience.
A good user experience, as you have seen, is made of many different factors. What matters the most is keeping the customer at the center of the designing process. At the end of the day, it is the customers’ needs and feedback that push products towards improvement and innovation.
User Experience design process is a long process vital for firms. It consists of many different steps:
If you own an e-commerce website, we strongly recommend you also look into Google UX recommendations, which are great guidelines to follow.
As we have just mentioned, user experience mapping is a great technique to carefully study in depth the steps users go through. By doing this you will be able to spot the needs and pains of the users at different stages and also understand how to better satisfy them.
It can be very helpful to write down user experience maps, as visual aid can bring a new perspective. We recommend using StoriesOnBoard, a useful tool to design users’ maps.
When designing a website, you may give for granted some features and your opinion might be biased. If you force yourself to think like a first time user, you will instead be able to build a more satisfying experience. First-time users have three main questions:
Giving a quick and intuitive solution to these concerns is a good way to start building the user experience.
It is nowadays possible to follow the steps users take online thanks to web analytics tools, e.g. Google Analytics. By following users behaviour, you can surely draw conclusions regarding their online experiences, but analytics will never give you a complete picture.
User experience questionnaires can instead uncover much more and can give you a concrete idea of what the users think. What’s better than directly asking your users?
Our tool UserReport allows you to quickly enable a survey on your own website. By making very specific questions to your users, you can gather significant data useful to make the experience even better.
A UX survey sample could feature these questions:
These are just examples, you may want to investigate some aspects of your website more than others. E.g. if you have an e-commerce business, you would likely be interested in gathering as much info as possible regarding the purchase stage. If you are a publisher, you would probably collect more data about the quality of your content. In any case, with online surveys you have the chance to get closer to your users and their needs.
What’s more, UX questionnaires, give you also the opportunity to segment your users and create user experience personas. What does this mean?
When gathering users’ feedback and opinion regarding your website, you also can collect sociodemographic information. You will be able to divide your website visitors into groups by matching sociodemographic data with their opinion regarding UX. Your website probably has a specific target, e.g women between 20 and 35. Clearly, their opinion matter to you more than any other. Thanks to online surveys you will know what your specific target thinks about their user experience.
Once you have gathered data and you know what the users more relevant to you think, now it is time to put words into action.
Analyse data and find common patterns. Try and change small things, then look at feedback again. UX design is a continuous cycle, and it needs to be if you want to differentiate your business and be successful.
Try and test different options and always keep an active survey on your website to check your improvement and progress. Users’ feedback will always bring you meaningful insights.
Being a product owner can be overwhelming – like you’re trying to juggle lots of things at once. Between defining the product scope, creating a great experience for your customers, working with cross-functional teams, and understanding when something is your number one priority and all focus should be on that.
In this list of never-ending tasks, the key one is the ability to manage project risks. Risks are almost inevitable, and to mitigate them, you need to prepare yourself. Even a simple activity can turn into an unexpected problem. Addressing and realizing those risks in advance can save you time, costs, and sometimes your product. When you plan the digital product development process, first of all, answer this question: “do I understand the problem I’m solving, and is this problem worth solving?”
In this article, you’ll find more about risk mitigation planning, why you need it, and how to build products customers actually need.
First of all, let’s figure out what are the reasons that something can go wrong in your project. Here are some of the most common risks associated with product development.
As an industry expert, you might think that you know what your users need. This assumption creates a risk of working on a product that, as a result, will be used only by you and possibly by several more people (sorry for being straightforward). The risk is higher as you grow the product idea on assumptions or without conducting enough user research.
Starting a business is hard. A survey conducted by CB Insights among 101 failed startups states that 70% of startups fail because there is NO market need for a product (42%). It follows that companies should build products only according to the real needs of their users.
There are several questions that you should answer to minimize the risk of building a product that doesn’t meet users’ needs and wants.
The result of your answers will help you to differentiate your product and create a unique value proposition (UVP).
There’s no universal formula to guarantee project completion on time. However, there are a few tips that can help you mitigate the chances to fail meeting the project deadlines.
Things happen. When the work on the product is in full swing, one of the developers leaves the project.
As a result, you might experience team members’ change-over or lack of qualified specialists. To minimize risks associated with human resources, try to organize team members into small groups. In this way, team members can jointly plan a project, share knowledge, perform code reviews and work together on tasks from the get-go. Also, the team should be able to easily perform work if one of its members is temporarily absent or has left the team.
Before you start working on the project, you’ll want to be meticulous when deciding on a tech stack and whether it suits your business goals. This choice can make or break the entire product performance and UX. Here are four (at least basic) rules we recommend to keep an eye on when deciding on a new technology stack for your next project:
Here are a couple of things to catch up on when managing risks and your project:
You can’t resolve a risk if it’s unknown. For starters, try to make assumptions, brainstorm all potential risks, and write them down. This way you structure all of your concerns. Think of all the possible things that can go wrong and note them. Don’t forget to refer to past projects as this is a source of real risks that you can prevent in the current project. After you make a list of possible risks and review them, assign who is responsible for what risk.
Don’t be afraid and don’t avoid talking about risks. On the contrary, pay close attention to risk communication during team meetings and make sure that everyone in the team perceives risk management as an integral part of the project.https://giphy.com/embed/rZwm8oOApXjDBjs3Pk
Prioritization focuses on what matters most in the risk mitigation process. However, ‘what matters most’ can vary during the project: some risks may have a higher impact and probability than others. To evaluate what risks may have the most negative impact, and have a higher probability of occurrence create or use ready-made evaluation tools to categorize and prioritize the risks.
Before defining how to manage risks, the project team should identify what can cause the identified risks. Think about the effects and consequences of a particular risk. https://giphy.com/embed/SAAMcPRfQpgyI
First, let the entire team answer these questions as accurately as possible:
The acquired information will provide valuable insights into your project, and you will find it helpful later when optimizing the risks.
For each major risk identified, create a contingency plan to manage it. You then act according to how you’ve prioritized those risks. Arrange a meeting with your project team and try to find answers to the following questions:
Answering these questions allows your team to improve the digital product development process. Based on the above-mentioned points prepare an action plan and convert it into feasible tasks. Once you implement the risk mitigation plan, your work isn’t finished. Risks are dynamic and tend to transform, evolve, and reappear throughout the entire project life cycle.
Yes, risk mitigation might seem like a daunting task. But if you do your homework and embed a risk management strategy into the digital product development process, you can reduce the chances of project overrun, escalating costs, resources challenges, and more.
An awful lot of SMB’s aren’t taking advantage of this medium. Visual content like graphics, infographics, and videos are a fantastic opportunity for companies of all sizes. SMB’s are notorious for focussing on offline marketing and only using their social platforms sporadically. Hopefully, once you understand how powerful visual content can be, you’ll change your tactics and experience the growth potential that it can unlock.
If you take a look at some of the biggest brands in your industry, you’ll notice that almost all of them are regularly releasing visual content. If it weren’t effective, they would have stopped a long time ago. Visual content performs particularly well on the internet, especially as mobile users grow. Reading on your smartphone is a pain, making visuals the best alternative.
A lot of industries don’t take full advantage of visual content. If you find that your larger competitors aren’t using it extensively, then this could be your opportunity to surpass them.
If you’re able to produce visuals that they aren’t, you’ll have a monopoly in that marketing channel. Even in attractive industries like real estate and fashion, far too few brands are using photos and graphics to convey a message. Instead, they stick to massive amounts of text that is difficult to read on mobile.
Graphics used to be expensive a decade ago when there were less skilled designers. Now you can hire a designer on the other side of the world to create your graphics or videos for a fraction of that cost. The cost of graphics was one of the greatest barriers to entry for small businesses. Now, you can use Upwork to get ahead of your competitors. A simple graphic to use in your blog content or as a post header might only cost you $10.
Similarly, an infographic to explain a more complex issue in a graphical form could be had for $25 – $40. These graphics can be used in your outreach but can also be shared on your social media platforms and submitted to image galleries. Videos can be more expensive depending on what you want to create.
An easy way to cut the cost of your videos is to record it yourself with a smartphone or digital camera and have a professional edit it. Most good videos are attractive because the editing is good. As long as you record some decent quality footage, you will be able to create a high quality video by hiring a skilled video editor.
A lot of your content would be easier to consume in a graphic or video form. It takes paragraphs and paragraphs to explain something that could easily be shown in a quick photo. Not only that, but studies show that people prefer to consume their information in a visual way rather than through reading text. Videos are easy to make, and the cameras on most smartphones are more than good enough to create a short clip that you can use on your website.
One of the biggest impacts that visual content will have on an SMB is in their content marketing. Certain SMB’s will find content marketing difficult because their industry is niche or their brand is still being established. Graphics and videos are particularly easy to market because there are so few of them. A large proportion of companies has some form of blog or content section these days. This makes it harder to stand out and therefore harder to market that content on other websites. But because so few SMB’s are using visual forms of content there is still a tremendous opportunity for you to exploit.
If you use Google images to search for a niche part of your industry, you might be surprised how few graphics or photos there are. If this is the case, then there’s a gap in the market that you can fill. The fantastic part about visual content marketing is that it’s very scalable. You can share the same image on hundreds of different websites without any issue. Unlike with text, you don’t have to recreate anything to share on the site that is publicizing your content. Influencers and Bloggers are less likely to share your content if it’s just a big chunk of text. They want to share things that are visually appealing because it reflects well on them.
A lot of the reasons why SMB’s ignore visual content are myths. They think that it’s too expensive, too time-consuming or not useful. With internet speeds going up every year and more users moving to mobile devices, you need to include visuals in your content strategy. You don’t have to be Pablo Picasso to create something attractive and shareable; you just need an idea that people will like and a small amount of money to hire a designer.
The architecture of a system describes its major components, their relationships (structures), and how they interact with each other. Software architecture and design includes several contributory factors such as Business strategy, quality attributes, human dynamics, design, and IT environment.
We can segregate Software Architecture and Design into two distinct phases: Software Architecture and Software Design. In Architecture, nonfunctional decisions are cast and separated by the functional requirements. In Design, functional requirements are accomplished.
Architecture serves as a blueprint for a system. It provides an abstraction to manage the system complexity and establish a communication and coordination mechanism among components.
Software design provides a design plan that describes the elements of a system, how they fit, and work together to fulfill the requirement of the system. The objectives of having a design plan are as follows −
It comes before the detailed design, coding, integration, and testing and after the domain analysis, requirements analysis, and risk analysis.
The primary goal of the architecture is to identify requirements that affect the structure of the application. A well-laid architecture reduces the business risks associated with building a technical solution and builds a bridge between business and technical requirements.
Some of the other goals are as follows −
Software architecture is still an emerging discipline within software engineering. It has the following limitations −
A Software Architect provides a solution that the technical team can create and design for the entire application. A software architect should have expertise in the following areas −
Quality is a measure of excellence or the state of being free from deficiencies or defects. Quality attributes are the system properties that are separate from the functionality of the system.
Implementing quality attributes makes it easier to differentiate a good system from a bad one. Attributes are overall factors that affect runtime behavior, system design, and user experience.
They can be classified as −
Reflect the structure of a system and organization, directly related to architecture, design, and source code. They are invisible to end-user, but affect the development and maintenance cost, e.g.: modularity, testability, maintainability, etc.
Reflect the behavior of the system during its execution. They are directly related to system’s architecture, design, source code, configuration, deployment parameters, environment, and platform.
They are visible to the end-user and exist at runtime, e.g. throughput, robustness, scalability, etc.
Quality scenarios specify how to prevent a fault from becoming a failure. They can be divided into six parts based on their attribute specifications −
The following table lists the common quality attributes a software architecture must have −
|Design Qualities||Conceptual Integrity||Defines the consistency and coherence of the overall design. This includes the way components or modules are designed.|
|Maintainability||Ability of the system to undergo changes with a degree of ease.|
|Reusability||Defines the capability for components and subsystems to be suitable for use in other applications.|
|Run-time Qualities||Interoperability||Ability of a system or different systems to operate successfully by communicating and exchanging information with other external systems written and run by external parties.|
|Manageability||Defines how easy it is for system administrators to manage the application.|
|Reliability||Ability of a system to remain operational over time.|
|Scalability||Ability of a system to either handle the load increase without impacting the performance of the system or the ability to be readily enlarged.|
|Security||Capability of a system to prevent malicious or accidental actions outside of the designed usages.|
|Performance||Indication of the responsiveness of a system to execute any action within a given time interval.|
|Availability||Defines the proportion of time that the system is functional and working. It can be measured as a percentage of the total system downtime over a predefined period.|
|System Qualities||Supportability||Ability of the system to provide information helpful for identifying and resolving issues when it fails to work correctly.|
|Testability||Measure of how easy it is to create test criteria for the system and its components.|
|User Qualities||Usability||Defines how well the application meets the requirements of the user and consumer by being intuitive.|
|Architecture Quality||Correctness||Accountability for satisfying all the requirements of the system.|
|Non-runtime Quality||Portability||Ability of the system to run under different computing environment.|
|Integrality||Ability to make separately developed components of the system work correctly together.|
|Modifiability||Ease with which each software system can accommodate changes to its software.|
|Business quality attributes||Cost and schedule||Cost of the system with respect to time to market, expected project lifetime & utilization of legacy.|
|Marketability||Use of system with respect to market competition.|