No-code platforms allow programmers to stop trying to think like machines and focus on solving problems for people.
Developing software is a notoriously difficult endeavor. It requires a sustained investment in people, time, and money. But also — it's just really complicated.
This complication stems from the layer of code that lies between the creator and creation. Code is an abstraction. It distorts the human experience of cause-and-effect that we use to understand the world around us and make better decisions, e.g. we know going outside in the rain will cause us to get wet, so we bring an umbrella.
To manipulate software in code, a programmer needs to leave the contextual experience of the end-user and go all the way back to the text editor. This means they won’t be able to see the impact of any fixes they apply or changes they make until they run the whole experience again.
Code adds an unintuitive step — or usually several — between cause and effect. This is an inherently unnatural way to work. But one which developers have just had to learn to work with (or more precisely, around).
As a UX designer, I spend a lot of time thinking about what defines an intuitive user experience. As a UX designer with Unqork, I’m all about building great experiences for creators so they have the tools to build powerful applications for their customers. Key to my team’s efforts is providing creators with immediacy and visibility into the entirety of the development process including user-facing elements, background functionality, business workflows and all the ways in which they interact.
No-code is a game changer. I’ve seen the benefits that happen for organizations and end-users when app creators are freed from technological restraints to work in a more natural — more human — way.
No-code allows programmers to think like a person
The dream of technology has always been to create computers that think the way people do. That’s why it’s perhaps somewhat ironic that programmers have had to learn to think like computers do.
Advanced no-code platforms like Unqork substitute lines of abstract code for configurable visual components. Application creators are able to easily drop-in visual elements the end-user will engage with.
Before we explore this notion further, it’s important to draw a clear delineation: No-code platforms are not web page builders. Yes, a no-code platform can help build the front-end UI, but that’s only the start of what they can do.
In addition to building user-facing elements, no-code platforms provide programmers with an intuitive visual interface to map logic, behaviors, and business workflows underneath the hood. Making relationships between components and modules should be as easy as nesting them into one another, or drawing a visual link connecting them.
The immediacy of a no-code platform brings creators closer to the user experience and closer to the business problem they’re solving. This is what makes this technology so exciting! The thing you’re building feels like it’s at the tip of your fingers, every element you drop in and every switch you turn provides an immediate visual response. This is how the human brain was designed to work.
A successful engineer needs to understand coding languages and syntax, but those are all just tools. The real job of an engineer is to solve a business problem using technology. Humans have problem-solving advantages that computers can’t replicate. However, computers can help humans problem-solve more efficiently.
With a no-code platform, creators can quickly test, validate, and measure fixes for any problems that arise. Developers are no longer compelled to translate ideas so that machines can understand them — instead, they can focus on innovation and finding the best solutions for their customers.
WYSIWYG, but for functionality and UX
The web would be a very different place without the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) platforms. These visual tools empowered creators to manipulate the properties of their websites directly instead of translating it into code in a text editor. This was nothing short of a paradigm shift.
All of a sudden, everyone from large enterprises to small businesses to non-profits to government agencies were able to build and maintain their own presences on the web with a relatively limited investment in resources.
Not only did these platforms democratize access to the web, they led to higher-quality digital products. One need only compare the websites from the mid-1990s to those built from the popular, consumer-grade WYSIWYG web templates available today.
WYSIWYG platforms, however, are strictly limited. These platforms may be fine for designing user-facing visual elements, but they were never designed to solve the problem of logic and advanced functionality needed for a robust business application.
In order to build a modern enterprise application, creators must have the ability to configure business logic, map transformed data, and perfectly sequence events. No-code builds on this potential, by providing a visual interface for all the functionality that happens behind the scenes.
This immediacy allows creators to operate and understand the dozens of events going through the systems like user inputs, background tasks, API calls, and server side executions. Elements that are normally collections of abstracted lines of code can now be represented in a visual language that reinforce our mental models of the entirety of an application.
A human creative experience is good for business
No-code platforms remove the abstraction of code that separates creators (the engineers, the solution architects, the business analysts) from the invisible processes that power applications. Visibility and immediate feedback are vital parts of the creation process. Having the ability to directly see the impact of your changes empowers creative problem solving.
But this transition isn’t just about making creators enjoy their job more, it leads to very definite business results as well. I have seen this transformation have a powerful effect on an organization in three profound ways:
1) No-code platforms are far easier to master than the patchwork of modern coding languages. With relatively little training, SMEs and members from other departments can join directly into the development process. These platforms open the process to enterprise team members with little-to-no coding experience. That doesn’t mean that experienced developers are no longer needed. Quite the opposite, in fact. Seasoned programmers can use no-code platforms to amplify their output and build even more value.
2) No-code platforms allow creators to spend more time on high-value work. These platforms automate many high-volume coding processes, which means creators can spend more time focusing on finding ways to solve business problems.
3) No-code platforms encourage flexibility, innovation, and experimentation. These platforms mitigate the investment in time and resources needed to make changes in a piece of software. Therefore, creators are freed to iterate and improve application experiences and frequently adapt them for their customers' needs.
Make sure to check back in with the Unqork Platform Team on all the new features we're working on to provide visibility into the application building process. Or, if you’re ready to see how no-code can work for you, set-up a demonstration and learn how it can be implemented at your organization.