Design first – developing a new website
Two colleagues of mine started a pet project that they hope to turn into a small business soon. When talking about it they told me that they got themselves a Twitter bootstrap theme first. So they had something nice to look at while focussing on functionality.
Another colleague not to long ago told me that he thinks it wrong to start a new project from a visual process.
Those two statements sound contradictory but aren’t.
Starting with a design gives a new and therefor abstract idea a first appearance and gets everybody involved. The danger of this approach lies in the possibility that people often tend to take this for the whole creative part and pull out as soon as the design is ready.
However that’s when the real work starts and everything has to be implemented. It’s wrong to not consider this a creative part and even more so to consider this phase is not needing creativity from non-technical people.
Design even in a click dummy can tell you a lot of things but not everything about your idea. All the qualitative aspects like performance and scalability or dull quantitative aspects like architectures and costs. Design can show you what functionality to expect but it can not tell you how it will feel.
So having a design early on is certainly beneficial but it doesn’t tell you the whole story.