Software development is a complex field with many aspects to consider. Coding is only part of the big picture, which involves functionality requirements, design preferences, client relations, business demands, and marketing efforts. Developers, especially those newer to the profession, might overlook some of these requirements, which can lead to unfortunate results.
However, many of these errors can be avoided. For example, better design awareness can be learned, market factors can be explored, and, to cover quality assurance, outsourced QA testing services can be secured. Here we describe five common mistakes that software developers make, and how to avoid them.
1. Lack of Focus on Design
An application may have flawless functionality, but no one will ever discover it if it also features poor design. Without an easy, attractive, well-designed interface, users may become irritated at best and frustrated enough to stop using the application at worst. For example, 38% of visitors will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.
On the other hand, a well-designed interface will encourage operation and give users a positive impression of the application and the company that developed it. Developers who already have a knack for design can build on this skill through practice or learning opportunities. Those who don’t can work with design and user interface (UI) experts to ensure all the important parts of an application easily come together.
2. Overly Complex Code
The code doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. Developers in the early stages of their careers may be especially prone to this misconception. In fact, code that is overly complex can present difficulties for the developer and others in terms of reading and maintaining the application later on.
Developers are taught to write code that can be reused. But not every component must be reusable. Additionally, components that may be needed later can often realistically be left out. Developers should keep in mind that making the process easier and more manageable for everyone involved is more important than writing seemingly impressive code. Ironically, simpler code may take more effort to create but the additional thought that goes into it will make life easier later on.
3. Trusting Others’ Code
Developers often use snippets of others’ code as a starting point for their own applications. This practice makes the coding process easier by providing ready-made components like graphical elements, security features, and more. However, many of these pieces may include vulnerabilities that then become part of the new application.
The fix for this issue is to run security audits on all portions of code used, no matter the source and no matter what deadlines are looming. This process may take some time but is worth it, given the problems that can occur when a new application is “infected” with problematic components.
4. Not Understanding Market Factors
With deadlines, budgets, client demands, competition, and other external factors at work, sometimes code must simply be “good enough.” Though most developers would always prefer to create perfect code, there may be instances when these other factors take precedence. For example, time-to-market demands may require delivering an application based on code that isn’t perfectly elegant but is perfectly serviceable.
Not yielding to external pressures in the service of perfection can result in missed deadlines, unplanned expenditures, unhappy clients, or loss of revenue due to a competitor “getting there first.”
Developers should choose “code that works” over perfect code. In addition, these professionals must recognize that sometimes external factors will force them to add or remove a particular element or make other tweaks designed not for perfect functionality but to wow customers or clients.
5. Poor or Absent Testing
Often because of the pressures mentioned above, developers may choose to skip the testing phase. It’s understandable, given the extra time needed to execute this part of the process. But is it really worth the time savings? When an application ships with bugs or, worse, security issues, the time and money lost to recover from such a debacle can add up to way more than the resources needed for testing upfront.
Testing is critical to ensure that both business and technology goals are met, including highly functional applications that sell well and help the company retain an excellent reputation. For developers with limited resources, outsourced QA testing services are an excellent option because they offer valuable support at a reasonable cost.
Software developers must consider a wide range of factors in their work and it’s understandable that some of them may slip through the cracks at times. However, attention to these details can improve not only the application code but also all-important design and other factors that contribute to successful application development and deployment. In many cases, the way to improve in these areas is simply to be aware that they’re important for the success of any company or team.