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What Makes an Application Valuable to Users?

Regardless of what digital tool or solution you are building—a website, a smartphone application, an application for a wearable device, or anything else—data is what makes an application useful and valuable. I use the word data in a very broad way. In some cases the word content is used. Either term refers to the information (including files) that your application is either gathering, publishing, or processing.

There isn’t much value in a blog post without words or images, in the same way that a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application without actual sales contacts or notes isn’t useful; a real estate app without property descriptions or photos doesn’t do much; and accounting software is worthless if it doesn't have actual expense and income data for your business.

While this concept may seem obvious, too often, software bells and whistles are prioritized over what is more important: good data and good content.

On the flip-side, there aren't a lot of people who like looking at a massive collection of unorganized text. Most of the time we want our information curated, organized, and designed in a way that it is most helpful and relevant to how we are using it at that particular moment. That is how good design provides optimal value. Communication is not the same as transmission.

Design, as a discipline, extends far beyond the specific placements or colors of things on a screen. With software applications, it involves additional dimensions including interaction behaviors and user workflows. Design helps make your data to make it more valuable and useful to the end user.