In Pursuit of Digital Transformation - Benefits and Strategy

Design Thinking: Keeping the user at the centre of software design

‘Product Design’ is a concept that has come a long way since the early days of the industrial revolution, and through the two world wars where better design of military equipment was critical to winning every battle. Since then, product design has evolved and is very popular in industries such as automotive, aviation, manufacturing, consumer goods, consumer durables, furniture and construction.

Product Design recognizes the idea that the user is, and should always be, the central focus of the design. Aloha Technology believes that ‘User Experience’ of UX is central to the concept of product design. It emphasizes careful research and analysis of what the user seeks and what would delight the user. That should be the basis of design, and one should not jump directly into building the most feasible solution.

Product Design and Software

Strangely, the software industry has been rather slow in warming up to the concept of product design. Most software development companies are staffed with moderately or highly-skilled technical people with little to no exposure, or capability, for creative design thinking.

Further, the waterfall model takes a very flat or 2-dimensional approach to software design. The most feasible solution is arrived at based on the technologies and skill sets the team or company possesses. Thereafter, completing the development with no cost or time over-runs becomes top priority, leaving no time for reflecting on the UX aspect. This explains the plethora of clunky or poorly-designed softwares in the market.

Thankfully, in recent years, intense competition among software manufacturers and the profusion of mobile apps that sport a smart design, has kicked up some momentum for design thinking. Developers and design engineers are asking more searching questions such as:

  • How will the application scale from a single server to multiple servers?
  • How adaptable should the UI be, to ease change management?
  • How will the application morph when it’s ported to different OSes and devices?
  • How simple and effortless should the application feel, to the end-user? Is this even important?

As is obvious from the above, asking the right questions triggers the move towards more design thinking across the team and company.

Agile and its limitations

Agile methodology which is an iterative process of managing both design and development has become very popular in recent years. Given its ability for reduced time to market, better change management, and better collaboration between various teams, agile has been touted as the ultimate methodology for software development. However, agile comes with its own limitations which affect design thinking.

  • Spaghetti code: Since quick iterations are always the priority, code is changed as and when features or requirements change. However, some of the old and unused code is left behind creating bulky and sloppy code.
  • Very little focus on perfection: Since everything is developed or changed iteratively, the software architecture and design is rarely frozen, leading to poor or mediocre design.
  • How agile is it really: Sometimes, for the sake of better design, changes may have to be made in the middle of a sprint. Is that allowed? Or will it be factored for future versions?

There are a few backdraws to Agile methodology, Aloha Technology understands this, but in comparison to all other methodologies, the methodology challenges are easy to circumvent.

Microservices – a big boost to Design thinking

In the last couple of years, Microservices based design is becoming very popular for building smaller, mobile apps as well as large enterprise apps. This has given a boost to design thinking. Microservices are smaller pieces of the larger application, which run independently and communicate with other parts of the application through their APIs. They also help the software scale up or scale down with ease.


Implementing creativity-driven design thinking is not very difficult and only requires an investment in time. Designers should have enough time to research, architect and design a great product that is bound to delight users. It also requires a flexible approach to the project management methodology without being rigidly tied to any one philosophy. Aloha Technology developers work in an environment that puts customer-centric the main actor in software design.