Design-Driven Development

Design-Driven Development

Design-Driven Development Jonathan Poland

Design-driven development is a product development approach that places a strong emphasis on design, with a focus on form, function, and user experience. Rather than seeing a product as a collection of features, this approach aims to create products that are useful and meaningful to customers. By considering the needs and preferences of customers from the beginning of the development process, design-driven development can help companies create products that are more likely to be successful in the market. The following are illustrative examples.


Creating user interfaces, environments and physical things that have an attractive form. This involves viewing form as a primary business concern as opposed to an afterthought. In many cases, a design driven team might spend as much time on form as function.


Incorporating features that integrate well with the rest of the design and are truly something customers find useful. Design driven development considers the possibility that a function will subtract from a design as opposed to add value.


Full consideration of non-functional requirements in areas such as speed, reliability and usability.


Thinking of products and services as an end-to-end experience. This requires connecting with customers to understand perceptions. For example, a banking website that requires 5 slow screens to get to a tool that customers most commonly use may find that customers perceive the site as an annoyance as opposed to a friendly tool.


In many cases, a firm spends a great deal of time communicating a brand identity but does little to incorporate that identity in products. Design-driven development has potential to give products an identity that reflects your brand. For example, if your brand identity embraces safety, make your products the safest on the market.

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