We consciously implement Design as a constant throughout the lifecycle. While Development is usually the ruling element of a conventional approach, our lead is Empathic Design. This puts the end User Experience (UX) and all stakeholders first. It is the powerful driving element that determines and gives meaning to technical and project specific objectives, and shapes overall success.
Why Empathic Design in Software?
Software products cause emotional responses in users, it is inevitable. These reactions can be positive or negative. Knowing this, wouldn't you want your product to produce a positive reaction? A great first impression? A memorable experience? Several techniques allow designers to “get in the shoes” of users and stakeholders to increase the chance of engagement and adoption. An app that speaks to our deepest emotions and memories has a higher chance of staying in our devices regardless of how intuitive or productive it is.
In short, why Empathic Design in software? Because we humans are judgmental, emotional beings.
What is Empathy?
To relate to an experience someone else has had. This relation creates an emotional bond. The strength of the bond is determined by how similar both contexts are; the closer you can relate to that experience, the stronger the emotional bond will be. A powerful emotional bond can heavily influence our decisions.
Empathy in an App
One-Moment Meditation is a 5-star app loved by thousands of users. Its success comes from its simple, casual, and whimsical approach to meditating. It features a character known as Little Guy, who is like you: a busy citizen with things to do and places to be. People love using OMM to meditate because it relates to them, it creates an empathic bond.
What is Design?
In the context of software, “design” (preceded by terms like UI, UX, product, etc.) is usually understood as the work of shaping the product in a way that people can use it.
Design provides abstract, intangible elements such as code and architecture with a face that humans can interact with.
To understand better, try replacing “design” with “planning.” In a software project, (ideally) everything is planned: the architecture, the technologies, platforms and libraries to use, costs and expenses, hours and resources, colors and screen flow, etc. However, the way people will interact with the product is often not planned in depth, not to mention the emotional reactions it will generate.
UI — plan the visuals: colors, images, illustrations, icons, buttons, etc.
UX — plan the navigation and way the screens will flow into each other.
Empathic Design in Software - plan the product in a way that it creates a strong emotional bond with its user.
This is the step farther that we take at DVmobile, where our experienced designers collaborate with architects, developers, marketers, and you to not only create stunning visuals (UI) and a coherent navigation flow (UX), but to construct an emotional bond that will differentiate your product.
Designing a full digital transformation
DVmobile partnered with Collective Goods, a retailer of novelty products, to design iOS, Android, and Web apps, a tablet Kiosk, and an Order Management System. We created beautiful apps following CG's new branding guidelines and colors, and an easy shopping experience tailored to their particular market. Not only was this a digital transformation for CG as a business, but for many of their customers as well, so we put a lot of care in designing the first shopping app many people had ever used.
The Five Steps
Our design principles are based on User-Centered Design and Design Thinking, methodologies that originated in the practice of Industrial Design. Their objective is to create innovative solutions based on the real needs of people. Since the users of digital products are humans like the consumers of physical products, these methodologies are just as valuable and applicable for software design and development.
We have taken the 5 conventional steps of Design Thinking and related them to phases of Agile software development in order to bridge the gap between designers and engineers, as the iterative process takes place through our phases of Inception, Construction, and Transition:
Compare each step of Design as it follows similar goals in parallel to Agile; from accurately capturing the initial requirements by active listening and discovery — to prototyping and measuring how far is the proposed solution from the center of the target.
The following diagrams dig deeper into each step as they follow the example of the design and development process for a Voice-activated Home Automation iOS app:
The ability to quickly validate concepts is as critical in Agile software development as in the design of any product. Prototyping allows for exploration and comprehensive understanding of not only the breadth of emerging technologies, but how they can be effectively combined in a way that uniquely suits the business.
Focusing on a scaled Agile approach provides the internal confidence to lead and implement change efficiently and successfully. Further, the adoption of DevOps and Continuous Delivery models enable teams to deploy quickly and iteratively to build on what is working and address issues with a fix-it-forward methodology.
See statistics and benefits of Rapid Prototyping in our infographic, fill the form to download it.
Without a doubt, modern software development is unimaginable without Design Thinking. At DVmobile we continue to polish our design expertise and embrace the "designer's attitude" by employing empathy, teamwork, and quick failure to learn more about our clients, stakeholders, and end users.
Contact us to learn more about how we can implement Empathic Design for your project and build an extraordinary User Experience.