How Graphic Design Influences Software Engineering
When developing software it’s essential for the development team to understand how Graphic design influence user experience and ultimately shapes the success of the App.
Graphic Design isn’t just about what something looks like — it’s also about how it works.
To paraphrase Steve Jobs’, the importance of design perfectly sums up why this visually oriented medium plays such an important role in building successful apps.”
Typically when a person thinks ‘software engineering‘, they immediately think tech and programming — not graphic design.
The thing is that graphic design and user interface are so intrinsically connected that without thoughtful ‘design’ the engineering alone is rendered incomplete if the other aspects are absent.
When it comes to software design the importance of user experience can NOT be left out of the equation. To Steve Jobs it was all too obvious that graphic design was such an essential part of software development in terms of the user they were prioritized equally.
Let’s take a look at how graphic design influences the engineering of software today…
The Devil Is in the Detail
No matter how great your app is in terms of features and functionalities, it won’t go very far if every element hasn’t been well thought out.
Even a detail such as the choice of typeface and font size can be a make-it-or-break-it factor when it comes to whether your potential users will actually decide to use it.
And let’s not forget that stats say that 75% of new app users fail to return after using the app just once.
There are many reasons for such a high churn rate, but the poor user experience is certainly among the top ones.
If your micro-copy is unreadable because the font is too small, or if you don’t take into consideration eye-tracking which will help you understand where exactly people are looking when they’re using your software, you’ll probably end up with an app that won’t be intuitive and easy to use.
So, test the size of your fonts and try to optimize the blocks of text in your app for a better user experience.
Any designer knows you’ll want to stay away from Comic Sans if you want to be perceived as serious or trustworthy. Fonts, icons, weight and color all play such a critical role in your app development — they simply can’t be left to chance.
Even the most seemingly irrelevant graphic elements can have a profound impact on the software development process.
Design the Disconnect Between Front and Back End Development
A while back, when there was a sharp line between server-side and client-side development. Graphic design wasn’t exactly the first thing that came to mind of those who were responsible for the back end.
It was mainly reserved for front-end developers who dealt with the user interface.
Although this division still very much exists, we can’t deny that full-stack programming has become increasingly popular and important. This means that the gap between software design and engineering is closing quickly.
Even some programming languages that are largely used for the back-end such as Java, have been improving and enhancing their visual frameworks.
With many new full-stack technologies, such as Python and Ruby on Rails, have been picking up steam, graphic design is back in the picture and it’s much easier to build a functional and at the same time aesthetically pleasing app.
Helping Businesses Understand Their Users Better
In order to build an effective app with a high level of usability, it’s necessary to understand a target audience’s needs and preferences.
In order to do that, companies create ideal customer profiles and buyer personas, which are based on theoretical assumptions and customer data. And this user-oriented perspective is exactly what graphic designers have in mind when they’re creating graphic elements and user interfaces.
Software engineers who are mainly concerned about how to build an app from a technical point of view and properly develop its features can greatly benefit from working side by side with graphic designers, as they can better understand what end-users find useful.
In other words, being aware of how graphic design works, software engineers can be prompted to adopt new approaches and practices and get out of their back-end comfort zone.
Together with a well-thought-out project specification, this coordination with graphic design can be crucial for building successful and user-friendly apps.
The Matter of Trust and Credibility
It takes only a couple of milliseconds, 50 to be more precise, for a user to form their opinion about a website. The situation is similar when it comes to an app.
Generally speaking, people are visually oriented beings, and they tend to trust well-designed websites and apps more than the shabby ones. A study corroborates this as 46.1% of consumers asses the credibility of a website based on its visual design.
Oddly enough, visual appeal beats usability when it comes to first impressions. Namely, people are likely to be more inclined towards “attractive” sites and apps even when they have positive experiences with those with low appeal and high usability.
This perceived credibility is particularly important when a website or app requires users to share their personal or sensitive information because nobody would be willing to provide a credit card number if an app looks as if it comes from the Windows 98 era.
So, it’s clear that graphic design has a significant influence when it comes to this.
Creating Immersive User Experiences
As we’ve already stated, user experience is of paramount importance when it comes to building new apps, and graphic design is what can take it to the next level.
Namely, only a couple of years ago, many apps, particularly those for mobile were still clunky and hard to navigate.
But, different tech advancements, design elements have become more sophisticated thus paving the way to a more seamless and coordinated synergy of graphic design and software engineering.
So, instead of intrusive controls, different buttons, and extensive typing, we have reached a stage in which users can interact with apps by means of gestures, cues, and even fingerprint sensors.
All this creates immersive and visually-driven experiences that are essential for the success of any software.
All these facts show that graphic design is a core part of software engineering and that it’s virtually impossible to build a popular and user-friendly app without joint and harmonized efforts of these two fields.