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    Custom Software Solutions - Initial Designs
    James Nagy
    / Categories: Development
     

    Custom Software Solutions - Initial Designs

    You have conceptualized an idea, you then prototyped it and received feedback. You completed a detailed wireframe and the concept is beginning to gel.  Now you are ready to begin designing your software application. So, why can’t you just start here? You have a great idea and why waste all that time going through prototyping and wireframe design when I can just get into the process and do something that won’t be thrown away at the end. Well you could, and believe me a lot of individuals and companies do just that. With rapid application development tools and slick agile software development methodologies you think you could just skip ahead and jump right into software application design.

    Well you couldn’t be more wrong, and here is why: if you have read the previous descriptions of those stages, you would understand that the time and effort involved with making changes in those steps is much more cost effective. Taking the time to do a proper software design means that making changes at this stage will be very time consuming. It is sort of like deciding to move a wall or add an electrical outlet to an existing wall after everything has been sanded, taped, painted cleaned up and all the furniture has been moved it. Yes, you can do it, but at what cost? Typically at this stage, making sweeping changes to an untested design can set a project back weeks or even months. By this time, you should already have had customers looking at the outputs from the previous steps and you now have a good understanding of their needs and wants. What you are doing now at this stage is picking out the color of the paint, the style of carpet, the type of window treatments and the kind of furniture you want in your house. If you are still thinking about usage, features, and functionality –then you shouldn’t be here yet!

    Team: At this stage, you should have front-end developers / designers and graphic artists engaging on the project. Their exposure and experience with the designs will be key when transitioning into the development phase. Business Analysts should be involved here to ensure requirements are being met and a consistent experience is being established. Try to engage with people within your organization that have good domain experience, not necessarily software development experience.

    Step 1: Establishing / Following Established Best Practices – Your organization has a best practices / usage guidelines documentation right? If not, then there is no time like the present to develop them.  All custom software applications that your organization creates must have a similar look / feel to them. Start with the menus, make sure that they are consistent between applications. Do you remember when Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint went through a transition period where they tried to bring the menu structures in alignment? That was not only painful for them, but for all of their users.  So, make sure you do this up front with your first custom application and when you build the next one, this step will be easier. Common elements that may be shared between applications should be designed to be shared. These are typically things like persons, products, locations, specialized / unique items, etc. Also, similar type elements that may be reused within the application should be designed to be reused. These are typically things like calendars, drop down lists, multiple choices items, etc. Finally, creating the right overall look / feel for your custom software application is key. People who are familiar with one of your products should be able to look at any of your products and know that this is one of yours. Think about Microsoft Office Applications, you can tell an MSOffice application a mile away because of the unique look of the Ribbon Bar.

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    James Nagy

    James NagyJames Nagy

    Looking for a business consultant, how can I help? As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of J&S Tech Designs, I have three decades of experience and expertise to share with you and help your business, product, or idea thrive.

    Other posts by James Nagy
    Contact author Full biography

    Full biography

    As a strategic leader and entrepreneur, James Nagy has a record of generating growth by leveraging the latest technologies to drive sales, marketing, product development, and profitability. He is known for identifying and capitalizing on market trends, developing effective tactics for implementation, enhancing operating performance, and serving as a trusted advisor and business partner. Skilled at working across operations, James builds strong, cross-functional relationships and communicates complex technical information to diverse internal and external stakeholders.

    A big picture visionary, James identifies and reacts to market trends, providing disruptive strategies that go beyond IT to include sales, marketing, and product portfolio management. Building on his experience as Director of Software Development with premier companies Midas International Corporation and SXC Health Solutions, Inc., James launched two successful consulting companies, Sprocket Websites Inc. and J&S Tech Designs. As the Managing Director, he provides innovative solutions to clients in small- and mid-cap companies.

    When he is not advising other business leaders, James lends his expertise to a variety of organizations. He is a Founding Member & Committee Member of the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce; he serves on multiple teams and committees for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce; he is a Founding Member of the Chicago Area DNN User Group, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the New West Symphony. In his free time, James enjoys Sci-Fi, coin collecting, traveling and wine tasting.

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