Top 10 Principles of Software Design Software development and designing are one of an essential things in the world of computer science. There are numerous programs available fulfilling various needs of people but what magical sorcery actually makes one software superior from others? I’ll try to elaborate some core aspects of software designing. Everyday new technology is being introduced to the world and new efficient ways are invented to get the job done but regardless of technologies being used a good software must follow the principles given below to dominate the market. It is advised to every developer out there to follow these significant features which are crucial for effective software designing.
This is the most thing for a good software design, you must think beyond normal try to create something new, something that has never done before. Why would someone buy your word processing program or 3D modeling software if there are plenty of available in market providing same functionality? You must dig in deep what customers actually want? What can make them even happier? New and easy to use graphical interface? Or speedy and efficient throughput? The more creative you are the better it is! Never try to copy or mimic something that is already available be innovative introduce new possibilities new ideas.
Before digging into subject what qualities a software must possess or principles it must follow let me make it very clear no matter what “Customers First”. Whenever you are starting the project the very first thing you need to focus on is customer’s point of view. Think like them what you require, how you need to get it done, what are the constraints and what makes you happy? Tackling these questions with customer’s perspective is the first thing you must follow then move towards toward selecting technologies, tools, contracts and requirements. What is the purpose of coding and designing a software for months and years if you don’t get enough customers so remember “Always take care of your customer or someone else will”.
Whatever you are developing you and your team will have to go through your code infinite times. Make sure whatever you are coding is readable, easy to understand and modify, follow a good technique to write your code which is easy to edit if required. When you are working on any project there would be lots of bugs hiding deep in your code, many logical errors would be easy to debug if the code is healthy. Chose a good technique to declare variables, write methods and making classes don’t try to make something you yourself will forget after a period of time and comment a lot! It will save much of your time and make your team happy. One more thing you must follow is to avoid waste, by that I mean don’t try to overdo anything like extra documentation, processes and tips just stick to your requirements and try to solve them in chunks. When you are working in groups and have distributed workload or you are trying to solve problems in chunks the biggest problem you will face at the end is integration. Sometimes programmes don’t focus on integration area which results in difficulties while connecting all the chunks they have for their software. Try to think of ways which will make integration easier at the end. As a developer, the biggest difficulty I used to face was editing and debugging my code because of my crappy way of writing. After reading several books on how to code better my life became much easier and happier.
I have many friends who work for weeks and months just for something that has no real value in software designing for example animation at the start of program or extra stylish user interface which actually makes the product complex and in result many simplicity loving users fade away because the product isn’t doing something useful instead it is providing same feature lots of programs already have. The only thing new is difficulty in understanding structure and deep learning curve of the program. So whenever you are developing something think of things that are useful, things which will solve real value problems of users in an easier way. Don’t waste your time doing things that will have no value for the customer. Making your software stylish and beautiful is essential but you don’t need to overdo it! It will only harm the whole process and customers.
Consider you are working on a whole new website or another development project, what will you choose a modern easy to use UI with awesome looks or some old school blog model? Let me give you another example if you are writing an action shooting game what would you prefer pixelated graphics or some real badass graphics like Battlefield? If your answer is pixelated graphics let me laugh at you because no one will buy your game instead they will spend their bucks on the battlefield even if the customer have no idea about the gaming industry. Just because it looks better. The same principle applies in software designing if your website looks professional people will trust on your publishing likewise if your software is easy on eyes with the elegant look (not to confuse elegant with over themed and stylized look) I’m pretty sure you will be able to attract a vast amount of audience. But remember one thing don’t make things difficult for users you must maintain elegance with ease of use for superior design.
There are numerous programs in the market promising for this and that but in reality, they are not doing what they promise to do. Some developers face difficulty while fulfilling the promises they made and some developers are a bunch of a**h***s and trust me being one of them is the worst thing ever. These developers have no intentions to satisfy customers all they want is money and downloads that’s why they publish false description and promises with their software which they never fulfill, it is a publicity stunt no developer must do! Whatever you are developing be honest don’t try to promise something you can’t manage to achieve or don’t publicize the things you won’t be able to accomplish with your software instead be innovative and most importantly be honest!
When you are making a new graphical user interface or something new try to think ahead of time and select the proper design which will last long enough. The more future proof your software is the better it is. For example, think of Apple’s icons, small squares with curved edges stylized with a minimalistic look. It has been the very long time they are following the same icon design till now, they made some improvements and made them prettier with time but the main design is still being followed after many years. A good design must be long lasting whatever you develop to make it future proof.
Be resource friendly and environment friendly:
Things get pretty easier if they are resource and environment-friendly, it’s not like some industrial work that consuming less and wasting less would make the environment clean and happy but you can still follow the idea of environment and resource friendly just to make your customers happy. Don’t develop something that will make CPU, RAM or other hardware suffer. Use lighter frameworks, compressed images and optimize your code for maximum results. It will speed up your software, don’t try to make cool looking intro or ultra-high resolution web based project. Page load time and computing time can be increased with the efficient use of resources and most importantly many users will be satisfied and remember one thing not all of your customers might have high-end PCs or lightning fast internet connections that are why to think before you do.
There is a very popular rule for designing software known as 80/20 rule and by that it means first twenty percent of your time must accomplish eighty prevent of your work. Then comes the polishing and improving each and every part of your software. The last twenty percent of your work must consume eighty percent of your time. Software design is considered best when every minor and little part of it is perfect and polished and trust me it gets really tedious and frustrating to cover each and every little segment of your software and sometimes you will want to quit but never give up. A good design is the production of the good and hardworking designer. Test again and again and try to analyze your software from every point view from all sides. Another thing you must focus on is ease of use along with information availability. Your software must deliver brief and complete information to users in the best way possible.
There are some things only you are aware of from your software or best ways to use the program with efficiency minimum time. The only way your customers will learn how to properly use the software in a best way possible is through help and documentation section. Consider you have created a game engine consisting of your personally made libraries having methods to accomplish different things but how would your customers know what function to call what arguments to pass. The only way of helping users is guiding them with proper API and brief documentation section covering every part of your software. It depends if you want to give them through animated clips or thoroughly written text, whenever you design a software don’t forget to make a deeply elaborated help and documentation section.
The key to success is to keep on improving if your software has minor bugs debug them! If you can manage 20 users per server make them 40 or 25 at least. The long road of improving and getting better is hard and frustrating but if you have enough willpower it gets unremarkably rewarding. Don’t stick to the same stage for a long time keep on pushing your limits no matter what happens promise to stay focused and trying your best to maintain your software. Make beta versions of your software and receive feedbacks from users about what they want and what things you are lacking it is a great way of learning and overcoming your mistakes.
These were some of the principles of good software design according to me, I know there is the lot more to say discuss but I can’t cover them all here. If I missed something or I’m wrong please let me know. Thank you