3 ways no-code and low-code can ease team pain points – and deliver the best UX
Developers and designers have long suffered an unspoken tension, but Elijah Kleinsmith of Signal Theory affirms that low-code and even no-code tools can bridge the gap.
No-code and low-code tools provide a welcome buffer for designers and developers. / Oskar Yildiz
No-code’s origins arguably go back 40 years to Microsoft’s release of Excel to turn data analysis and visualization into an approachable field for non-engineers.
Today’s no-code landscape is far vaster and its benefits – less expensive development, faster iterations, democratizing design input – are wider-ranging. Artificial intelligence and machine learning also promise to revolutionize the way we build digital products in a way that offloads even more coding responsibilities and tasks.
Our firm decided to train our entire creative staff on a no-code website-building tool to take advantage of these benefits. Here are three big changes – 'Aha!' moments – we have noticed since implementing this training.
1. Less friction (and more empathy) between designers and developers
Perhaps the most significant benefit of adding no-code tools to your capabilities today is that they bridge the gap between design and development.
There has always been ‘tension’ between designers, who provide a blueprint for their vision, and developers, who engineer that vision into an actual product.
Luckily, this gap is narrowing. Design tools are becoming closer to development tools with features like prototyping and code snippets. Development tools are also looking a lot more like design tools. Just look at Wix’s latest project, EditorX: a fully drag-and-drop website builder for enterprise customers like Lyft, SAP and Deloitte.
At Signal Theory, we use behavioral science to drive decisions. Removing emotions from big projects is simply not possible. Instead, in trying to bridge the empathy gap between designers and engineers, this training has provided a lens into the visceral state that naturally occurs deep within the development process.
Our design staff had ‘aha’ moments throughout the training, leading to an increased understanding of an engineer’s perspective. Without knowing any code, these no-code tools help build an understanding of the box model, responsive grids and other web programming concepts.
2. Workflow efficiency
Prior to training our creative staff on no-code platforms, our developers would get web design files in a range of formats, from Adobe XD and Figma (if they were lucky) to Adobe Photoshop, and even Illustrator.
After gaining a first-hand understanding of the benefits of modern digital design tools like Figma (CSS snippet output and component design) we now have a uniform approach to our toolset.
No-code tools are being widely adopted across software and design industries with good reason – they not only increase efficiencies for designers and developers, but they also reduce pain points between both roles in their workflows. It’s no surprise that Figma’s adoption rate has skyrocketed ahead of other platforms.
As my colleague and UX/UI designer Katherina London put it: “by utilizing low-code tools across our design and development teams, we’re able to be more efficient, saving time and cost when creating work for our clients.”
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3. Human-centric user experience (UX)
Immediately following no-code training, some members of our staff reached out to our development operations team to get access to a testing environment so they could get to engineering their own ideas.
Our programmers, with some weight lifted from their workload, have moved into new, innovative areas to build on our capabilities: AR/VR, projection mapping, and other experiential design.
UX creative director Shaun Crockett adds: “By removing the strain of code we are able to elevate the user’s needs in the experience”.
This transfer of ownership over the product ultimately champions the user. By removing past barriers associated with a code-heavy environment it is easier for organizations to have stronger user representation.
CMOs and brand owners take note of how a no-code approach can help both the user experience and the bottom line:
No-code makes it easier for those who understand the users’ needs to access projects in ways they never could before. This is especially key for smaller organizations that don’t have a full UX/CX department at their disposal. By removing the strain of code we are able to elevate the user's needs in the experience, resulting in a better product.
The trend of utilizing no-code is going to continue to grow and break down barriers internally – between designers and developers and externally – between users and their experience. If your organization isn’t looking at no-code/low-code they are carrying around an unneeded burden in their day-to-day task, hurting profitability and user experience.
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Signal Theory is a brand development, marketing and design firm with offices in Kansas City and Wichita. Our job is to help people and brands connect in ways that mean something, which is more complicated than it sounds.Find out more