Avoid high costs through user experience - design without technical competence

User experience design cannot be separated from software development

Why Lean UX can't work if development isn't implemented right from the start

As a digital agency with a technical focus, we get to hear one sentence over and over again:"We have already developed and tested the prototype".

Customers first work with a design agency and then deal with the implementation later. They may even perceive this as agile and lean, giving themselves the opportunity to develop a product successfully.

In all these years we have never experienced that the finished product conforms to this prototype.

There are several reasons for this:

  • Technical restrictions
  • Costs of implementation (that force another solution)
  • New findings in the process
  • Prioritisation and time pressure
  • Lack of presence of UX designers in the project

We explain why it makes more sense to start with the technical implementation right from the beginning.

Factor 1: There are several possibilities

Only if you know your technical possibilities, you can plan what you need.

There are often several scenarios and these also have to be evaluated technically.

For example, we do this at the same time as evaluating various product features and interface elements.

If you don't do this, limit your product to the capabilities of your strategy or design consultancy.

If decisions have to be overturned later in the implementation (and this will happen), then there is no basis for a quick resolution of the situation.

Factor 2: Cost of implementation through top-down user experience

The effort and therefore the costs of implementing elements, especially in the user interface, which are more or less identical, can vary drastically.

A typical hint from designers:"We wanted to create something that didn't exist before".

If you don't need to develop a unique, never-before-seen element to stand out from the crowd, consider whether it's within your budget.

Only a technically experienced team can help you decide which efforts are worthwhile and which success.

Factor 3: Prioritization and time pressure

The task of good UX designers is also to determine the order in which features are to be implemented. Card sorting measures which steps are to be preferred.

This is important, but this technique must also be implemented together with a scrum process, which is then responsible for the development of the application.

For example, certain priorities can only arise from technical requirements. Safety-relevant considerations or consideration of the application performance are neither things that a UX designer is absolutely familiar with nor are they easy to recognize from a bird's-eye view.

Factor 4: Everything changes - including the user experience

No matter how well they plan: Every sprint will bring new insights and ideas. Because you would have to go back to the design table each time, many teams decide to partially throw the original concept overboard.

Questions can no longer be clarified ad hoc in the sprint, the designers are no longer in the team and decisions have been made and paid dearly.

This shows how difficult it is to separate the two elements of user experience design and software development.


Firstly, take the time to look for a user experience agency that also wants to deal with the technical implementation.

Second, open your process to team collaboration.

Thirdly, make sure that the entire planning process has enough flexibility for plan changes due to technical decisions.

Our recommendation is: Start a project with a workshop in which technical, strategic and design service providers are represented.

You then design an agile process in which everyone involved has a clear interface in every sprint.

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