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Design Thinking

Creating a product – be it an application, a website, a physical device – means making a connection between the aims of the organisation creating the product and the eventual end-users of that product. Get it right, and you can have a best-seller on your hands – but if you get it wrong, you are facing the loss of significant resources, as well as the opportunity cost of releasing a sub-standard product.

Design Thinking is a methodology specifically aimed at bridging the gap between creators and users, and so improving the chances of creating a successful product. 

Design Thinking is an iterative approach to creating effective solutions to complex or undefined problems. It seeks to reframe the problem in human terms, and to think about the most optimal solution  – the one that best fits the user’s needs – rather than the easiest way to solve the problem – the one that best fits the designer’s needs. 

This approach aims to be flexible and inclusive, by creating and considering many different ideas during an initial brainstorming phase, which helps to eliminate any ambiguities in the initial brief. As ideas become refined, they are subjected to more practical analysis for prototyping and testing. 

Design Thinking is a collaboration between designers and users: designers explore the wants and needs of their users, and aim to get inside their heads, to consider how they think, feel and behave – thus enabling them to create products that users will be satisfied with. 

Injazat can help its clients embrace Design Thinking, and reap the benefits of this rich approach to product design. 

There are five main stages to Design Thinking: 

  1. Empathizing: Understanding the human needs involved. Designers put themselves in the end-user’s position, and consider what they want from a product or service. This can involve both simply considering what a user may want, and speaking to actual users to learn how they think and feel.
  2. Defining: Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways. This brainstorming phase aims to eliminate any ambiguous elements to the project’s goals and objectives, and sees the designer thinking about the specific needs of the user, rather than the problems the project is trying to solve.
  3. Ideating: Creating many ideas in ideation sessions. This process emphasizes “out of the box” thinking – under the principles of Design Thinking, there are no wrong answers. This can encourage participants in the process to put forward alternative or unusual thoughts or ideas that go counter to accepted concepts. Even if these are not practical themselves, they can often help show the way to ideas that are practical.
  4. Prototyping: Adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping. The most promising ideas – those that designers think will best solve the problem for users – are prototyped for user testing, and for validation of the design approach taken. At this stage, practical considerations may eliminate some proposed solutions – the aim of this stage is to fail fast, and iterate with new designs.
  5. Testing: Validation and gaining user and stakeholder feedback. Once the design team believes it has a good solution, it is further developed. At this point, the team undertakes more extensive user feedback, and also seeks validation from other business areas. If users and stakeholders all approve of the product, then it is ready to be launched.

Because Design Thinking is an iterative process, the creation of a product may go through several cycles of these five stages – the final testing phase may initially result in a solution that is more focused on redefining the problem than being a final product.

But unlike more traditional linear design processes, the tightly focused nature of Design Thinking on user experience, and limited time spent on building impractical products, means this process can ultimately save time, money and resources, even if repeated a number of times.

Quick Prototyping

Creating an application is about more than the pure functionality and technical requirements. A crucial, but often overlooked, element is user experience and design – and prototyping is a significant part of getting this right. 

Prototyping is the process of creating a functional or semi-functional model of the final application, for the purposes of user testing and demonstration. 

Through the process of creating one or more prototypes, an organisation can achieve a number of high-level goals:

  • Helps define the ultimate goal of the development process, and confirms the feasibility of a concept: what will this application do, and will it work from a design perspective?
  • Gives non-technical stakeholders such as senior management a tangible demonstration of the project’s goals.
  • Allows feedback from user testing to be incorporated at an early stage. 

By going through the prototyping process, enterprises can save time and money by eliminating impractical or unworkable concepts and focusing on those that receive positive feedback from all stakeholders involved, from management to end-users. 

The Prototyping Process

First, Injazat works with our clients to define the project’s goals, and come up with a definitive list of requirements for the application. 

We then work with professional user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers to develop the look and feel of the application, based on the business requirements. From the start, our designers incorporate usability best practices and UI requirements for platforms such as Apple iOS or Google Android. 

The prototyping process goes through several stages:

  1. Low fidelity: Designers create a number of different iterations of the concept in basic sketch form, showing different approaches and design concepts. 
  1. Medium fidelity: After gathering feedback on the initial concept designs, a few are selected for refinement – the designers will create more detailed mock-ups of the application. This stage may be repeated several times as feedback, including from usability testing, is received and integrated, and designs are refined. 
  1. High-fidelity: Once all project stakeholders have agreed upon the final design, our designers will work to finalise this concept – at this stage working with back-end developers to agree how the application’s Graphical User Interface (GUI) will function in the final working version. 

Along with the high-level benefits of going through the prototyping process, this experience also delivers a substantial number of other benefits: 

  • Detection and elimination of all major misunderstandings between the client and the execution team. 
  • An interactive prototype makes it possible to clarify the technical specification before development, saving time and budget. 
  • Assumptions about how users will interact with the application can be tested and validated (or discarded), and user feedback and test data can be incorporated into the design, as well as the support functions of the project. 
  • A clickable prototype helps to test and confirm the ideas of the project in focus groups before starting the development phase, allowing clients to focus on concepts that resonate with users, and discarding those that do not.

Injazat’s Prototyping Experience

With more than 13 years in app development, and the successful creation and deployment of dozens of applications, Injazat is ideally suited to help organisations with the prototyping process. 

Our pool of highly experienced UI and UX professionals covers a wide range of experience – so whether you’re planning to develop a popular consumer app for smartphones, a B2B web application for your corporate clients, or an internal tool for your own staff, Injazat has the experience to guide the process to a successful conclusion.

 

Agile Teams

For many enterprises, software development is stuck in the past: large specialized teams, working slowly towards one major goal. But with the speed of business increasing every day, such approaches may not work any more. 

Injazat helps bring a fresher, faster approach to application development to its clients, which can allow them to bring better apps to market faster: Agile Teams.  

What is Agile?

Along with the revolution in mobile and web applications, which has seen the number of apps in the world explode dramatically, there has also been a revolution in how those apps are developed. 

Apps in people’s hands, accessible with just a few swipes and presses, means greater opportunity – but also means that speed to market is more critical than ever. And so developers turned to alternative approaches – in particular Agile development, a movement with deep roots, but which came to prominence at the start of the new millennium. 

Put simply, Agile is an iterative process, often based around small teams that work in short “sprints” to complete a limited goal – followed by another sprint, and so on, until the app is ready to be released. All development and testing is completed within each sprint, meaning the app being developed is functional after each iteration – even if it is not complete.

 Agile Teams can vary depending on the project, but often consist of just five to six people, including the Product Owner – who is often the client. 

Benefits of Agile

Agile development can bring a functional product to market far faster than traditional methods. By focusing on adding features incrementally, rather than developing them all in one go, Agile allows an enterprise to release a working app quickly – and then add additional features to it later, after release. 

Agile development can also adapt to a changing brief, or to customer feedback, much more easily. If during the course of development the client’s needs change, the Agile team can pivot, and start working towards the changed goal, without having to scrap the whole project. 

For customer-facing apps an Agile team can incorporate end-user feedback as part of the iterative process. Rather than waiting until the final fully-featured product is completed to see how users respond, Agile allows a company to gather real-world user feedback much earlier in the process, and respond to it immediately. 

Clients can also benefit directly from Agile development, by being part of the development team itself, if appropriate. This can give a client representative a greater insight into the development process, and help them refine their ideas for the project. 

Is Agile Right For Me? 

Agile development may suit organisations that: 

  • Need to get a mobile, web or other application to market as fast as possible.
  • Have changing or unclear product requirements.
  • Want to experiment with new features.
  • Want to make use of user feedback or usage data in development.
  • Want greater insight into the development process, including daily updates and regular demonstrations. 

 

Whatever your needs or requirements, Injazat is fully equipped to take on Agile development projects. With our highly trained and experienced development teams, and more than 13 years’ experience in app development, we are the perfect partner for your mobile or web app project – and will see the project through to completion, from beginning to end.

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