Welcome to my first in a series of design processes instructions and examples. These are setup in such a way as to walk you through development cycles in relation to creating, producing, usability testing, and execution from a UI Design stand point.

I’ve been wanting to get back to the core of this blog for some time. I think I finally have made some time to do this. For anyone that has missed out the original core of this blog is to examine the brainstorming, creation, and execution of an application. This can easily be a process that any company or individual can follow when creating a web application. Size of the application has no bearing on whether these principles can be applied.

In our sample application we will begin working through the brainstorming, feature set creation, and mock layouts of new Cthinker App. The application I will be building in this example is a social aggregation tool. We will take a look at several social aggregation web sites as well as walk through the process of designing one from scratch.

Where’s The Vision

Not a lot of people talk about the vision when it comes to application design. It’s especially important though if you are looking to build an application better than your competitors. Without vision and a way to distinguish your product it makes it extremely difficult to truly produce the best software. It’s also important to make sure you have a large scale vision of where you may want to go with your product. Vision is something that should change and adapt to the times. Vision should keep up with both technology and trends.

What’s The Value?

Besides the obvious monetary ROI. It’s always important to come up with reasons that a particular application is valuable. This helps you to flesh out the cost or investment in the application and also helps isolate what potential profit can be made by launching a new application. Listed below are a few more items you should look at before considering the total value of the proposed application design.

  1. Do other similar applications exist? If so can I do it better?
  2. Is the target market so small that the potential for profit or usage by clients is marginal?
  3. Will the cost of maintaining the application outweigh the cost of producing and running the application?
  4. When do you expect a return on your investment?
  5. How can the application design be kept simple, teachable, and learn-able?
  6. Will there need to be training to use the tool? (Just because something is usable doesn’t mean everyone will understand the usage).
  7. Are you going to build out the application in phases? If so make sure each phase is independent and contains your MOST important features while being highly usable.

Later we will explore how vision and value help you to build a successful brand. Branding is another aspect extremely important if you are constructing a suite of applications and are trying to create a overall consistent user experience.