The "Creative" Process
I am a developer. I have been for a long time. And for much of my career I've worked on the back end of solutions - managing data and building service layers - having very little to do with the UI. It hasn't been until recently - over the course of the last year - that I've gotten more involved in the user-facing aspects of solutions. In the past I've even been a firm believer in "function over design", but for me a shift in thinking came as I started diving deeper into building Android apps and developing my own web services. The design may just be the single most important aspect of an application, and as such, the creative process behind designing your interface should be one that is continuously inter-weaved with the development lifecycle.
Over the last month(or so) I've been a part of a project to develop a tablet application for field users in remote locations(the specifics aren't really that important to the point at hand). What is important is that this was a project that had a very warped view of how we should approach the design phase. For this particular project the design was treated as a "checkmark" on a TODO list - and the initial offering reflected that. Even I knew something was terribly wrong.
First impressions are important. Nobody is going to care if you've written the most elegant service layer conceived by man if the first thing they see when they open your application is an interface that could have been conceived by their kindergarten niece. Your designers and developers (if they're separate teams) need to work together. They need to evolve your product hand-in-hand - always evolving the user experience.