For a web product, the path from idea to market is challenging. It involves a great deal of meetings, decisions, planning, and budgeting, which can be both exciting and nerve-racking depending on the competence of your development team.
Given that SteelKiwi is often praised for planning and communication, we decided to share with you the path that our customers take from clicking the send request button to signing the SteelKiwi Software Development Agreement. This should give you a better understanding of what to expect when hiring our web development team.
Getting in touch
To start a conversation with us, you can click on the bright orange Get in Touch button on the SteelKiwi website, which will take you to a contact form asking for your name, email, and a message. We usually reply to messages sent through this form in just under a day.
Once the dialogue has started
From the very first email, we aim at getting a better understanding of you and your idea. At some point after the initial greetings and questions, we ask our customers to fill out a General Information Brief.
This brief contains general questions about the product you want us to develop, including about technical, functional, and design specifications. Your answers will help us understand if your project is a good fit for our team and what course of action we should take next.
Depending on the initial project materials you have, we offer different onboarding approaches.
Designing the product
Starting from the ground up
If you don’t have any designs or documents ready, we should start by creating them. The following briefs are dedicated to figuring out your product’s design specifications.
The User Experience Brief
Wireframes are the beginning of all products. They’re page-by-page prototypes outlining a product in terms of the user experience (UX).
In other words, they show the path users take from logging in to achieving a goal such as booking an appointment, scheduling a training, or buying a product.
This animation represents the booking flow for Your Living-room Trainer, an online personal training platform. To create something like it for your platform, we would ask you to fill out the General Wireframing Brief. It contains questions about your vision for the product, its target audience, what competitors you’re looking to outdo, and so on.
Answers to these questions will allow us to start working on the aesthetic aspects of design. Let’s have a closer look at what is involved in designing the user interface.
The User Interface Brief
Compelling design is the key to success. Users are more likely to continue using your product if it’s beautiful, and we work hard to make sure it is. Let’s look at the Your Living-room Trainer project again but this time from the design perspective.
To get an understanding of your design expectations, we ask you to fill out the General UI Brief. It contains questions about your preferences in terms of style, colors, brand guidelines, and more.
Among these questions is one asking whether you want our designers to develop a logo for your product.
The Logo Design Brief
Logos can be used to create a new brand identity just as they can help reinvent an existing one. Our SteelKiwi designers know the importance of a good logo, especially since a couple of months ago we created a new one for ourselves. Let’s take a look at the process.
You can see how our designer played around with different graphics and typography, figuring out the best way to translate our company’s goals and aspirations. We ended up using logo 2.4, as it embodies our company’s values: minimalist yet bold and powerful.
Here’s another example of our logo work for Hashtag Hound, an app that finds apt Instagram hashtags to promote your business.
You can see how our designer fiddled with different concepts, combining graphical and typographic elements. In the end, our client chose logo number 15, as it combines a hashtag (#) and an H, making it a graphical representation of Hashtag Hound.
To create a logo for your company, we need to ask a few questions about what you want it to look like. For this purpose, we’ll ask you to fill out the Logo Design Brief.
In this brief, we ask a variety of business and marketing-related questions to understand the goals and values that you want your logo to convey. There are also questions about the logo structure and elements you would like it to include.
Starting with the initial design materials
We also work with customers who have UI/UX already done. As long as the project itself is interesting and technically challenging, we’re be more than happy to develop it. A great example of such a case is MuslimKids.TV, an online media and entertainment platform for children.
To assure that we deliver the highest quality products, we need to make sure that your existing designs will serve as a nice starting point. For this reason, we have a team of developers review your designs and confirm whether we can work from them. If something needs to be changed, we typically ask if the original designers can do it. We can assign a designer of our own to the task if they can’t.
Preparing functional project requirements
Functional project requirements are typically created before or at the same time as the design work. It’s crucial to have project requirements outlined fully and properlybefore development. To accomplish this, our designers, developers, and project managers have a number of meetings with the client to figure out what the exact features of the product are going to look like.
At this stage, it’s important to outline on paper everything that needs to be part of the future product, even if it’s something seemingly obvious. The less ambiguity in the project requirements, the less chance of anything going wrong with development. The level of detail of the requirements also affects the precision of time estimates. Of course, the requirements can and usually do change during development, but the more details we start with, the easier it is to identify flaws in logic at the earliest stages, saving time and money in the long run.
After outlining both design specifications and project requirements, we can sign the Preliminary Design Approval Form to confirm that you’re fully satisfied with what the design looks like so far.
With the design and project requirements prepared and outlined, our next task is to estimate how much time it will take to implement all features.
For this purpose, we have the team that’s going to work on your project sit down and talk through its each and every detail. This team typically consists of the project manager and the designers you’ve been communicating with so far plus developers who will create your application and quality assurance engineers who will make sure that every part of the product runs smoothly and is bug-free.
Teams are formed based on the project specifics. We account for each developer’s soft and technical skill sets, previous work experience, and their availability for the duration of product development.
Estimating the time required for a project involves several steps, and at this point we’ve already covered a good half of them.
Get a good grasp of project requirements
As you can see, we’ve already covered project requirements, but the importance of well-written project requirements cannot be stressed enough. They’re the blueprint that we use to build the actual product.
However, another valuable step is putting the requirements in order. For this reason, our developers estimate the scope of work based on design and product requirements, then prioritize features from most to least important, structuring the project based on the Agile methodology.
Based on the list of prioritized features, we can figure out the stages of development starting from the minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP containing a number of the most important product features can be released to market as soon as possible. This way you’ll start getting a return on investment before the product is fully released and we can make changes based on feedback from actual users.
Estimate the development time
To estimate how much time your project will take, we have developers look at the scope of work and then estimate how much time each feature, button, interface, or other element will take to develop.
Then we have the project manager take a look at their estimates and add the time necessary for management and communication: meetings, sprints, presentations, and so on. The project manager also counts in the possibility of something going wrong, be it a technical complication or a human issue. These risks always need to be taken into account and discussed beforehand.
Negotiating and signing the Software Development Agreement
After a long process of planning and preparation, we prepare a Software Development Agreement that outlines all the development details and the legal basis of our further cooperation.
Before signing, we negotiate the contract terms. Only when all parties are satisfied with the agreement can we sign it and start developing your product. This concludes the long yet exciting journey from request to agreement.
Would you like to test out this process?
If you have an incredible project idea and are looking for a no-less-incredible Ukrainian IT development team, don’t hesitate to contact one of our sales department representatives and start a conversation today.
You can learn more about some of our other fascinating projects on the SteelKiwi projects page.