Design Your Client’s Apps Before You Code Them

Hey! This is the Daily Overpass! My name
is Eric and I make apps! Now today, I want to talk about why you should always
design your client apps before you code them. When we first started doing projects for
clients, we would always save the design until the end. Well, you know, would sit
down with a prospect, we would talk about their application, they – they’d
sign it off, they’d make the first payment and then we go it. But then, you
know, either I’d code it or one of my developers will code it and we would do
all the functionality. We’ll release some beta builds and they would check it over
and everything was fine and that just seemed to go, it just
seemed to flow. And we would do design at the end. And one of the things
that I found was that we went over budget on a lot of projects or you know,
our internal budget because of design. And most of the scope creep in my
experience has been designed related. So, to give you an example, well, we
actually go time to release it, it’ll be like, “Ooh, could we move this over here?
Could we do this over here? I don’t know if I like that font for that button… You
know, I don’t know if this is going to be confusing for the user. Can
we add an animation at the beginning? Can we add some onboarding, that kind of
stuff?” And it really – to give you an example, I remember having an argument
with one of my client. He was saying, “You know, I don’t understand – why isn’t this
app going live? When can we – when can we release this app?” And I say,
“Hey, we’re ready to release now. “Are you ready to go live?”
“Well, I’m not sure if it looks professional enough.” And I go, “Sorry?
What do you mean it doesn’t look professional enough?” “Well, it just
needs to look more professional. How long is that gonna take?”
And I said well, “Can you tell me exactly what you want because that
didn’t really mean anything to me.” “It just need to look more professional.” I
said, “Well…” “So, how long is it gonna take?” and I said, “What’s gonna – I
don’t know. It could take a day, could take a month, could take a year.” And he
goes, “‘m running a business here. That’s just not good enough.” And I said, “Well,
needs to look more professional is not good enough.” We go through each
screen, and go through each one and you know what, this is the only time it ever
got heated with a client. That this conversation – I’ve had other
conversations with clients where it was like, well if for games and stuff, was
like the characters’ too cute or whatever. So design by its very nature
is very iterative. You never know exactly what they want and a lot of times, they
can’t tell you. As a software developer myself who thinks in terms of
code, it’s difficult for me to do that too. So, what we do now is we try to get
design signed off early on in the project. So like, we’re
using – well we use wireframe tools. I use always use Balsamiq. Lately we’ve been
moving over to a Adobe XD, the Experienced Designer, which is, you know,
which I really, really like because we can collaborate on it within the team. We
use in the past, but I found that to be too expensive, just on a on a
monthly basis, I think for what it does, I found it to be a bit expensive for my
liking. So, we use Amazon XD. Now, what we tried to do is get the
design like just sort of build out some prototypes, get it either prototypes or
just JP, oh sorry, JPEG or PNG images. Just say ok and you click on here, you go
here, you go here, go here and that should hold off development. So, development
doesn’t progress until we get that signed off. Now, if we have like back-end
processing or something like that, then that’s fine. We can start working on
admin screens or the the backend and all that kind of stuff, but for me, I just – I
found life got a lot easier when nothing moves forward until we get designs
signed off earlier. Because, and this is my theory here, just based on –
based on the the vibe I got from people in the past was, a lot of times when it
comes to just to go live, there’s this sort of stage fright. This
kind of it has to be perfect before it goes live. We, you know, if I try
to say, “Look, we needed to go live because we don’t know anything about the
application, we don’t know how well it’s gonna do, we don’t know how the users are
gonna accept it, you know, we could – we can make guesses but at this
point we should not be going into asking friends what do you think of this, “Oh, my
friend Dave said we need to add this in, all that kind of stuff.” At that point we need to just go live and see what it does and then we could
go back in and adjust it. But because it’s this stage fright, it’s
almost like, you know, I’m not good enough, like if you were gonna go – like
let’s say, you were gonna go on – on a big date or something and you’re just –
you’re really nervous so you keep checking yourself in the mirrors,
“actually, I’m gonna comb my hair again or let me go change my shirt,” that
kind of stuff. That’s what happens in terms of design because it’s seen as a a
low-priority thing. And I know that other developers will say, “We’ll give you five
changes of design and that’s it.” Or “We’ll give you three options, you have to
choose one.” But we – for me, I want them to really like the application and in order for them to really like the application, they need to agree
on design up upfront. Anyway, it’s just something that I found, for
those of you are working with clients, I think design – getting design out of the
way early, then it also makes it a lot more apparent what to change. So, if they
ask for a change, you say, “Hey, we’ve already – design’s already been nailed down.
And this is not the most easy especially not easy with games, but that means that
your designer who works on this, like like our designer Sandee does, it has to
understand the interface elements of the app so the coders don’t get there and
and say, “Oh, we can’t we can’t do this, we can’t do a round button that spins
around and flips off and pings off the size of the walls or whateve.” The
designer has to understand UI elements and the developers have to be able to do
that and it’s kind of marrying them up together. So, it’s a delicate balance but
somehow, you know, we seen the muddle through. Anyway, I hope that helps.
Let me know if you, guys, had any trouble with design. For me, just being a
technical person dealing with design, I mean, I know what I like. But you know,
when you work with other people, it gets a lot more difficult and I
could tell – I could tell some horror stories when it comes to designing
projects and ithe design phase. So, anyway, let me know what you, guys, think. If you
have any trouble with this kind of stuff. And anyway, that’s it for today. I’ll talk
to you, guys, tomorrow.


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