Engaging and effective software starts with solid user experience design. Our design Spec Books memorialize that design effort and provide a guide for the entire team as they move from great idea to great software.
I’ve always struggled with the rush to create things, but my formal education in graphic design has always taught me to start with a sketch. This was to allow the mind to wonder without trying to perfect every line and stroke. The concept was to get all the standard, and potentially bad, ideas out of the way quickly.
I feel the same way about software development. While jumping right in and writing code is incredibly satisfying, there is the danger of going down a narrow path too quickly.
On the contrary, I also think it is important not to spend too much time over-documenting before starting to build something people can use. Getting user feedback and analytic results sooner than later is very important, so in that respect, I do support agile software methodologies. What we, at Haneke Design, suggest is that a hybrid process is the best solution.
During the start from scratch phase, which is very common with startups and even large companies transforming themselves, I feel there needs to be that extra time to sketch first. Go big with the ideas. Think through some of the extended use cases etc. Then go and scale back the pieces for your minimum viable product (MVP). After launching the MVP, see how the analytics and user feedback align with your design specification road map. Pivot or reprioritize as you go, but always be sure to apply design-first to any new user stories that may arise along the way. The design process post-MVP becomes a more agile one, but is still a required part of the process and will benefit the end-user and your business.