Development Software Design Service

DevEx enhanced through great UX design

Development is always going to be challenging field, but there’s plenty of room to remove the unnecessarily complex and frustrating parts of building software

DevEx Design CHallenges

Signs your team needs our help

Consensus is hard to reach, even with a team made up of "target users"

Devs like your tool, but it is ugly and cumbersome

Ideas are being prototyped directly in code, and the UX process is bypassed

There is a steep learning curve because designs aren't intuitive

What you're picturing isn't what your product looks and feels like

UX "gotchas" are getting in the way of adoption

Mini Case Studies

Recent projects with enterprise software companies

Hybrid Code and UI Experience

Scenario
Python coding allows data analysts maximum control for visualizing data and getting things done, but not everyone is overly interested in fiddling with CSS or HTML.
Outcome
 A new product concept which incorporates the power of code with UI that makes UI choices almost instant.
Code
Interaction
AI

Data exploration unlocked with AI

Scenario
Data analysts historically have performed manual effort in unnecessary places, for example chart creation, data cleanup, transformation and many other places. Our mission was to determine where we could create behaviour and defaults to ease this pain through AI technology.
Outcome
Product architecture which reduces painpoints along the user journey.
Data dashboard
AI
Interaction
Analysis

UX Opportunities in Dev Tools

The development workflow leaves much to be desired

We recently mapped out what the typical deployment flow looks like for a specific environment. We knew development was hard, but we were surprised to learn just how deep the “gotchas” can get. It seems rare that development tools will proactively tell you system status and requirements for a process to be complete.

In the absence of this, one error at a time seems to be uncovered, where layer after layer of a frustration onion are exposed 🧅🤢

(This must be why (╯°□°)╯︵ is seen around the world in dev forums)

Our perspective as newbies and user/simplicity oriented people was very much appreciated and we were able to add a lot of value. Our layperson questions were serving to expose the status quo of expectations in the developers workflow. After having this experience, we recognized that there’s a great potential here to improve DevEx in many places.

Types of developer products we design

Developer-focused software tools

We work on a variety of DevEX focused tools in different aspects of the workflow

Automation Tools

These tools focus on shipping and testing code and workflow automations of all kinds

Coding Tools

These are the daily tools of dev, with consideration for customization, flexibility and varied levels of expertise

Low Code / Hybrid

These tools take the best of both worlds and combine them into highly relevant use cases

How this fits into our mission at P&P

Why we love working on developer tools

Enabling deep work and focus for developers is a key part of our mission to propel knowledge workers across disciplines. We kinda just love devs—we work really closely with them on all of our projects. This collaboration is one of the foundations to building design solutions that work well and make sense. Design wouldn't be possible without developers and without the vital input and cross-communication that comes with it. That's why we love any opportunity to improve the day-to-day work lives of developers! We see huge potential for UX improvement across these tools and are excited for the kind of impact we can make together.

“P&P has a deep understanding of data and user empathy in complex experiences. They can walk the fine line between innovation and familiarity that is rare in the industry. Plus, they are equally comfortable diving deep into the weeds and zooming way out in a way that is essential for building high quality software.”
Chris Parmer, VP of Product at Plot.ly
"Collaborating with Pencil & Paper was instrumental as we shifted our product culture towards greater user-centricity. Their expertise in B2B software kickstarted this journey for us, and we can visibly see how their guidance shaped our current UX practices."
pot
Nakisa product team, (Nakisa HR Suite)

FAQ

Rule out risks and reservations

Your development product needs to work with the right UX team, we get it. Here’s some FAQ’s we’ve seen before.

Can you guys code with us?

We act as a plug and play design team for a range of situations. From teams who have never integrated any kind of UX design resource, to supplementing and collaborating with existing design teams. Depending on your needs, we can take the lead on new ideas, or support the team you have in place. We shine when it comes to collaboration and integrating quickly in teams. See our article about product management and design collaboration for example

How will designers change our workflow?

We do the full scope of UX/UI design for software in the enterprise arena. This includes “zooming out” and formulating logic around the whole flow, to wireframing (mapping out screens) and producing realistic prototypes. UX/UI design however does not extend to branding or marketing, so we will happily refer you to wonderful teams we know.

In what capacity does your team work?

Our team gets brought into projects across the spectrum of stages. Sometimes we’ll work with a single visionary to establish direction and then grow with the team. Other times, development will be underway and there’s a more urgent context to the work. Ideally we’re brought in earlier rather than later.

What design gotchas should we know about?

We’ve had great success making relatively small UX improvements to software which have significantly improved the usability and flow of products (and it doesn’t always need to be fancy UI or animations either). We believe that incremental improvement to your product and development process can make a huge difference. Often this is accompanied with longer-term work that sets a vision for the future. Both of these approaches work hand in hand to improve your product.

When should a UX team be brought into a new project?

Your business case and ROI calculation around UX investment may come down to several different factors that relate to the specifics of your business. A very common situation we see is the development team spending a lot of time trying to make design decisions, this cost savings might be a useful initial lens to apply. If you’re in a particularly competitive field, where your enterprise product is starting to lag behind in a scary way, you may want to apply the lens of opportunity cost. Many of our clients have used design concept work to de-risk development efforts and secure interest for large opportunities. Regardless of the approach you have, please leverage our resource “How to calculate the ROI of UX” as a guide and inspiration for you and your team.

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Ready to have a conversation?

Get in touch with our crew to find out how our expertise in UX can elevate your product.

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