Last Updated on December 11, 2019
Every piece of software has two essential elements: Form and function. Function determines how the software responds to user inputs while form determines the interface that the user interacts with. In custom software development, you have to account for both. Somewhere in the middle of both lies software design.
What is software design?
Software design refers to the process of knowing the needs of the user and converting those needs into a form more suitable for them. During the design process, designers work to establish a plan to identify user needs and requirements, then determine optimal solutions.
In a deeper sense, software design encompasses all the activities involving the transformation of software from requirement specification to implementation. Major outputs from the design process include:
Software requirements specification
This document contains information about how the system acts in the form of functional and nonfunctional requirements. These should define how the software interacts with hardware, users, and required other systems.
The high-level design perspective details how the system and its components interact with each other.
The detailed design defines a logical structure in which each module and their interfaces communicate with each other.
Why is software design important?
Software design is carried out in many different ways. Because it involves defining the user requirements and meeting those needs, designers are involved in many facets of the software building process. And during this process, they have many aspects of the software to consider.
When software is modular, it becomes easier to move and remove components when needed. Necessary information is easier to find and edit. It can be a basis for your source code namespacing or structure and isolate test cases per component.
Good software design ensures the software is easier to maintain. The introduction of new features is easier to integrate within the existing code base. Bugs are easier to find and fixes are easily installed.
During the design process, designers acutely document assumptions and identify possible attacks as well as possible entry points for each attack. This entails analyzing risks to make sure the software is able to withstand and resist hostile acts and influences.
The design should be able to accurately tell how the system works internally. This is used to identify possible bottlenecks within the system that could affect the performance of the software.
Software should be usable in different conditions and environments. This means the addition of dependencies to other software modules in the design to make the software easier to move.
The ultimate goal of software design is centered around the usability of the end product. That means the software should be designed to be usable to its target user. One good idea is to generate a design document for the user. In the document, the user can find all the necessary information they’ll need to get started.
A good design can provide information on software deliverables and where they can be deployed. This is essential for customers to know where to look for whatever they need. Missing crucial parts of the software are easier to find by simply looking at the design.