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software design document templateSoftware design is a process through which the software requirements are represented via a proper plan which highlights all the requirements and specifications which have to be considered by the programmer for writing the code for the software. The software design document lays out this plan in a systematic manner and provides a clear pathway as to how these requirements are going to be met by the programmer. It serves as the primary reference for code development and hence should contain all the information which may be required by a programmer to write the code. The software design document template which has been discussed here is a general template which can be used as a reference while writing a software design document and necessary additions or omissions can be made to the standard document according to the requirements of a particular project.

Software design and development is a process which can be simplified by using a systematic approach. The software design document helps in systematically laying a plan for the programming of the software. But before the coding of the software begins, it is very important to comprehensively test the software for various parameters like the usability, economic feasibility and the commercial viability. The process which is utilized for carrying out these tests is known as the software testing life cycle and you can read more about the software testing life cycle in this informative and well-written piece. To get a better idea about the different concepts of software testing you can check out this amazing course about the basics of software testing.

Here we are going to discuss about the correct template for a software design document and will study each and every individual component of the document briefly. So let us now start our discussion about the software design document template where we will describe all the components briefly for proper understanding.

Cover Page

The document begins with a cover page. The cover page contains the name of the team working on the project and the title of the project. It can additionally also contain the information about the date and the author of the report. The cover page should be well designed as a good design exhibits professionalism and showcases the efforts which have been put into preparing the document.

Table of Contents

The next section should be the table of contents. The table of contents contains a comprehensive list of all the titles of the different sections and subsections which are present in the document. The different sections and the subsections should be numbered properly and should be listed along with the relevant page numbers for easy and effective navigation.


The introduction of a software design document begins by stating the purpose of the document. The purpose of the document should be very clearly explained and any ambiguity should be carefully avoided. Then a brief description about the software and its scope should be provided. The software should be described properly highlighting its scope in the current market scenario. An overview about the document and the product should also be included. In addition, the list of any reference material which might have been used or the list of the different definitions or acronyms which are a part of the document can also be included.

System Overview

The system overview contains a general description of the functionality, context and design of the project. The overview should only briefly describe these aspects and the comprehensive explanations will be done in the sections to follow. The overview should serve as an introduction to these sections.

System Architecture

The complete architectural design of the system should be explained in this section. The complete functionality of the system should be explained by dividing the system into a number of subsystems and then properly explaining the working of each subsystem. The interconnection of all these subsystems should also be explained properly to clearly explain how the final design is to be achieved by connecting all these subsystems.

A clear understanding of the system architecture is very important for the programmer to write the code correctly and hence a lot of emphasis should be put on the development of this section. The subsystems and their subsequent interconnection should be thoroughly explained in a very clear and concise manner to avoid any sort of confusion for the programmer.

Data Design

The information about the different data structures to be used, databases and data storage units is going to be included in this section. This information is very important from the design point of view as it will help the programmer in properly understanding all the data structures and databases which will be required for the coding. For understanding this section properly it is very important to have basic knowledge about databases and this great course about the database management systems will serve the purpose and will make you familiar with all the basic concepts.

Component Design

In this section, the functioning and responsibilities of each component of the design are going to be described in detail. The understanding of the functioning of each individual component is very important from the point of view of the programmer and this explains the importance of this section. Proper understanding of the functioning of different components allows the programmer to break the whole project into smaller sub-projects and this makes the whole process a lot more convenient.

Human Interface Design

This section will contain the complete information about how the user interface of the software will work and how it will look like. The functionality of the software from the user’s perspective should be described and it should be properly explained how the user will access all the features being offered by the software and how the feedback information will be displayed for the user. The human interface is the most important aspect in the design of any software as a simple and user-friendly interface can make even an average software very popular with the general users whereas a complex interface will hinder the popularity of even the most useful and highly functional software.

The information in this section should be accompanied with proper images showing how exactly the designer visions the interface to be like. The images can be hand-drawn or can be draw with the help of some software. The images will work as a reference point for the programmers to properly design the user interface exactly as per the vision of the designer.


This section contains a list of all the data structures and components which will be required by the programmer for coding of the software. The requirements should be properly listed and the list should be as comprehensive as the need be as some of the components might need some licenses to be purchased for and this information should be duly sent to the management team.


This section is optional and can be included if the need be. Kinks or references to supporting documents can be provided in this section which will help in the better understanding of the concept of software development.

These are the major components of a proper software design document and this template should be followed with some minor changes as per the requirements of a particular project. The template which has been mentioned here is just a standard template which can be used as a reference and appropriate tweaks can be made to the document to suit the requirements of the particular project. A software design document is a very important and useful tool which helps in the proper planning for the development of the software and works as a reference for writing the code. A clear and well-written software design document will definitely ensure proper communication between the designer and the programmer and will lead to the most effective usage of all the available resources.

A software design document basically helps in the proper management of the whole process of software development and this can also be achieved with the help of a few other tools like Microsoft Project or Agile. These tools help in the proper management of a software development project and help in keeping the whole process systematic and hassle-free. The tools are very easy to use and learn and you can check out this amazing course about software development project management using Microsoft project or this course about the basics of working with Agile which will help you in learning the basics of using these tools and to become an effective software development manager.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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