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Harnessing the power of design

Next-generation software requires next- generation design. According to a recent Gartner report, The App and its Impact on Software Design, an app's purposefulness requires a different approach to software development, and CIOs will need to employ an enterprise-wide approach to mobile app design. 

This makes a lot of sense when you think about how software development has changed over the last five years and where it needs to go now. Mobile app development needs to take into account business operations, technical requirements and most importantly, the customer.

Business Operations: DevOps and Design Thinking

Do your developers and designers understand the business of your business? For financial services, this would mean understanding the operations behind estate planning, mortgage servicing, investment management or another area where a business might be building an application.

This is where concepts like Design Thinking and DevOps reinforce that your front-end UX and back-end developers need to understand your business strategy and operations to create a 'purposeful' solution.

When looking broadly at application development, DevOps, which combines technology development with operational process for a better output, has been on the rise, with the total for DevOps tools reaching $2.3 billion in 2015, according to Gartner. But in financial services, CIOs have been slower to take the same approach with Design Thinking, which over the last decade has become the industry standard design methodology.

Design Thinking ensures that the initial problem statement is reinforced by research and customer data for more strategic delivery. Combining Design Thinking and DevOps will make for a more powerful approach.

App Development: An Agile Approach

Similarly, when looking at technical delivery, CIOs have already embraced an agile development approach for back-end coding. This same iterative development could also be incredibly affective for app design, allowing designers to understand customer engagement, contextual changes and ongoing data related to the look, feel, or overall engagement and perception of the application and brand.

Certain elements could be emphasised or de-emphasised as user engagement shows how consumers are interacting with the design elements and the application overall. The logo or skins could easily be switched out for custom experiences. Business could quickly add a new visual element or experience based on day-to-day or minute-to-minute events in a non-disruptive way with user experience always at the centre of these decisions.

Customer Experience and the CXO

Many businesses have embraced a mobile-first strategy or omni-channel strategy, placing mobile design as a critical component of their UX and CX strategies. Some have even created new c-level roles for Chief Experience Officers (CXOs) realising that UX and CX are critical to how brands engage with customers, demonstrate authenticity, build trust, and create meaningful experiences.

To integrate these functions well, businesses need to think about the customer every step of the way. That is the true intent of design thinking and the benefit of the agile approach.

The Enterprise Approach

CIOs should be thinking about an enterprise approach to their design, similar to the way that they have for back-end software development. This should carry over to the business strategy, operations, technology decisions and customer experience.

In the end, powerful design can help CIOs create an experience that underscores the true value of their data, product, service and ultimately their brand.

Alexander Zaky, Head of Experience Design at Synechron, Inc.

Image source: Shutterstock/31moonlight31