Whether you’re a seasoned development manager or a newly minted executive embarking on your first development project, designing a new web application is a complex process in which things can go wrong at just about any step. Planning that involves both your development team and your company’s entire IT staff as well as future users can help clarify expectations, establish a framework for moving forward, and ensure that all the essential resources are in place for a successful project outcome.
Here are five essential considerations for execs and developers getting ready to dive into new web application design projects — and how they can help you avoid problems along the way.
1. Current capabilities and problems
Before starting a new development project, it’s important to take time to carefully review your company situation to get a clear picture of your current capabilities as well as ensure the new project can function within your existing computing environment. Also, consider the project goal: What kind of problem are you hoping to solve with the new application?
In this very early stage of project planning, you might also want to discuss plans for future business growth and the direction the company will take with your development team. Answers to those questions can help you plan the scope of the project and outline ways to adapt the new application to meet evolving company needs.
2. The project’s basic requirements and functionality
An essential — and basic — aspect of project planning is to clearly establish a project’s core requirements and define exactly what functionality the project should have. Although the scope of a project can change as it progresses, it’s important to have a working framework for what your company requires from the application and the functions it needs to have.
These considerations should also take into account the current problems you’re expecting the application to solve — and whether your company has the necessary capabilities to support those functions.
3. The availability of necessary resources
Analyzing your overall capabilities for supporting the project during and after completion should also include an assessment of available resources such as the workspace, equipment, and personnel you’ll need. Are the resources you and your development team need to execute the project currently available? If not, can your company provide those resources to move the project forward?
Taking a look at the available resources before beginning a project can establish whether it’s possible to fulfill company expectations for the scope of the project and to ensure you and your fellow developers have all the support you need to meet project deadlines.
4. Frameworks and architectures for developer-side simplicity
Complex projects can get out of hand. One important aspect of pre-planning for a new project might be to determine if you have resources in place for keeping developer-side structures as simple as possible. This helps you maintain a streamlined workflow and easily integrate your in-progress web app with existing systems — and to develop possible strategies for dealing with any problems that come up in the course of working on the project.
5. User interfaces and user experience
Designing with user experience in mind from the start can guide you to create user-friendly interfaces and structures that make it easy for other personnel within your company to use a newly developed application in their everyday work environments. Before starting a new project, consider the skills and goals of the people who will actually use the new application on a daily basis and focus on creating a user interface that’s intuitive and easy for personnel in other departments to use.
Developing an efficient, user-friendly web app takes time, resources, and expertise, and it’s important to get it right the first time. Working with an expert can help ensure you and the rest of your development team ask the right questions and make the right choices — as well as streamline the process.