Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Report: Companies going all in on human-centric software development this year

Software DevelopmentReport: Companies going all in on human-centric software development this year

While developers have always had to care about user experience, over the next year they will take this a step further by investing more heavily into what’s known as human-centric software development.

According to Progress Software’s 2024 Human Side of Software Report, which surveyed 700 developers and IT leaders, over half of organizations will invest more in this type of development, which places a focus on creating applications and features designed with their users in mind, and specifically considering that people of different mental and physical abilities will be using them. 

“Technology is the engine running our digital world, yet too often the experiences we engage in lack the finesse of applications built with humans in mind. Clunky, inaccessible interfaces hamper what should be seamless interactions. Even more so, for people with disabilities,” Progress stated in the report. 

There are five pillars of human-centric software; It must be trustworthy, easy and intuitive to use, enjoyable, inclusive and accessible to all, and have rich functionality. 

Seventy-six percent of the survey respondents consider human-centric development more important than it was just two years ago, due to a mix of business opportunities and cultural shifts. 

Progress only considered 12% of the organizations surveyed to be mature in this area, 47% were average, and 41% are immature. This is based on how many of the following five tenants a company follows: 

  1. Defining user needs and problems
  2. Ideation
  3. Empathizing with users
  4. Testing
  5. Prototype production

“Despite the data showing the majority of organizations were immature or average, 57% stated they believe they applied these design thinking principles entirely when creating a framework. In other words, organizations believe their practices to be mature despite not displaying mature practices. This disconnect between reality and perception shows the need for greater self-awareness and rigorous internal benchmarking to accurately reflect an organization’s human-centric design maturity,” Progress wrote. 

Almost all of the respondents (97%) said they experienced challenges adopting human-centric design principles. The top challenges included meeting customer demands, complexity or lack of agility, difficulty measuring results, lack of investment in tools, and a lack of cross-team collaboration during software development. 

Progress’ recommendations for successfully implementing human-centric design are to upskill existing talent and be more diverse in hiring, doing a self-assessment to determine reasonable goals, and implementing cohesive design principles and tooling.

“Time is running out for organizations to create an inclusive and sustainable human-centric digital world. Delaying will only make the path harder. Businesses not willing to properly invest in accessible user experiences will soon find themselves replaced by those who do,” Progress concluded.

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