Low-Code and UX: Can They Work Together?

Low-Code and UX

Imagine this scenario: you have a brand new idea for your app, and you need it to be up and running in, let’s say, 30 minutes? That sounds doable, right?

The truth is that for your UX/UI designer, it may take more than 30 minutes. In fact, that brand new idea for your app could need about 3 hours to be studied, another 6 hours to be coded, and probably a week of testing.
Unless, of course, the designer understands low-code and its benefits. That’s why today I want to talk about the advantages of low-code and how to implement them.

What Is Low-Code?

Let’s start by the beginning. Essentially speaking, low-code development is a visual approach to software development.

It allows the UX/UI designer to automate any step of the application lifecycle to deliver software solutions.

Basically, instead of using hand-coded programming, they use low-code platforms to create apps through a visual user interface combined with model-driven logic.

Since low-code reduces significantly the quantity of time spent coding by hand, hence, accelerating the new implementations and developments in this app of yours, you may think it’s actually a quite popular alternative, but it isn’t.

The reason? Well, despite being a convenient tool, low-code needs to be handle carefully, otherwise, it can lead you to a huge labyrinth and you can stay there for hours (even days) trying to figure out what’s wrong.

Depending on this idea you need to implement, low-code can be the right solution or a terrible approach.

The Low-Code Manifesto

Yes, it has its own manifesto with 9 essential principles (by Mendix). I bring this matter to you because I believe it’s important to understand what low-code is about, and how it can help you speed your coding.

  1. Model-driven development: The foundation of low-code is MDD. The goal is to transform ideas into apps for your business, but that the same time, they can deliver value through abstraction, openness, and automation. It’s a model built on collaboration and communication, even before the coding begins.
  2. Collaboration: One single person can code an entire app or web for you, but a team that can see what everybody is doing, and exchange information easily, guarantees a faster response, and better results.
  3. Agility: Managing the entire application development lifecycle is easier once everybody knows what to do and how to do it. Workstreams turn more agile, and it eliminates bottlenecks faster.
  4. The Cloud: Tired of apps that get stuck? Upgrades that take forever to launch? The clod eases and speeds up all application deployments needed by both customers and owners.
  5. Openness: You are the architect, anything is possible. Forget about limitations on what can be built and start crafting ideas.
  6. Multi-user development: One of the many nightmares developers often have is working on the same project as somebody else, but not being able to see live changes or accurate synchronization of their work. Low-code is exactly the opposite.
  7. Experimentation and innovation: When I said you are the architect, so everything is possible, I meant that. Coding without experimentation and innovation is a dead-end, low-code allows developers to experiment, explore, and create stunning new paths.
  8. Governance and control: Nobody can forget about the best practices, standards, and cultural norms anymore. Governance and control are robust. Keep track of who did what and when.
  9. Community: Approaching a tech community is beneficial because everybody can exchange knowledge, connections, and inspiration.

Even for UX purists, low-code is a viable alternative that must be checked when necessary. 

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend depending on any low-code development platform entirely because it can become a little boring, maintenance is not exactly easy, and not suitable for every project.

Reasons To Use Low-Code Platforms

To summarize everything in a bullet list, here is why every UX/UI designer and developer needs to understand low-code, and at least, try it once:

  • Accelerate digital innovation and transformation
  • Reduce IT’s backlog and increase responsiveness
  • It’s a time saver
  • Reduces dependency on hard-to-hire technical skills (which does not mean that anyone can do this, but it requires less expertise)
  • Protects against technology churn
  • Improves internal processes faster

Is Low-Code the Same as No-Code?

The easy answer is no. They are not the same, even though they are similar in terms of doing this easier, faster, and with the least quantity of code possible.

On one hand, low-code development is meant to be used by developers, UX/UI designers, or anybody who can do a little coding.

No-code mostly aims at citizen developers who may or may not know how to code or program anything. It’s like downloading a pre-made app template and making it work for specific purposes.

The issue with no-code apps or platforms is that they are very hard to customize and since they are meant to solve only one or two kinds of problems, trying to make it work for something different demands a lot of changes and coding that can’t be made.

Final Thoughts

Low-code platforms are an extremely useful alternative for both, developers, and regular citizens.

Usually, no-code is also a great alternative for people who can’t code yet, but low-code platforms are not hard to understand, and even if it takes a little more time to study them, they are perfectly usable by anybody without having a career in IT.

For businessmen and women, low-code is an alternative that can be suggested by their UX/UI developers. These platforms are an investment worth doing.

But beware! Listen to your UX/UI designer before suggesting or accepting to use low-code alternatives, depending on the project or idea you need to launch, sometimes it can cause more trouble than benefits.

Want to get in touch? Let’s talk!