Are You Part Of The Low-Code UI Revolution?

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Although a convenient tool, low-code is not very popular. Let’s find out why

When a new app idea takes shape, brand leaders are often impatient to roll it out. Developers know it’s not an easy and quick process. User interface (UI) is more than just colors, typography, and interactive elements. It involves hours of research, more hours for coding, and at least a week of testing — except when low-code is applied. 

User experience (UX) plays a vital role in business’ CX strategies and is a common source of worry. Considering the fact that over 70% of online businesses fail due to poor usability today, the significance of UX surpasses that of just UX design. 

Enterprises and other SMBs have started to use low-code for UX and UI optimization, primarily due to its ability to create unity in the tech stack. It can standardize processes currently not managed by ERPs, iPaaS, RPA, or vertical apps.

It allows designers to automate specific application processes to deliver software solutions fast, helping create apps with a visual user interface and model-driven logic.

There are several low-code platforms such as Appian, Microsoft Power Apps, Mendix, Salesforce App Cloud, Quickbase, and AWS. Gartner estimates that 70% of new enterprise applications will use low-code or no-code technologies by 2025. Another study reveals that global revenue for low-code platforms will quadruple between 2020 and 2025, from $12.85 billion to over $47 billion.

Extending its AWS Amplify service, AWS recently announced the general availability of AWS Amplify Studio, a no-code developmental tool and visual interface that simplifies front and backend development for web and mobile applications. Microsoft recently launched Power Pages signals to broaden the Power Platform portfolio and provide low-code and professional developers with an integrated web app design platform. It supports Visual Studio Code, GitHub, and Azure DevOps integration and has a series of improved UI and updated templates. 

Low-code platform OutSystems offers developers and businesses the fundamental tools to create applications through pattern composition. The OutSystems UI is a framework that lets developers create seamless web and mobile experiences with responsive screen templates, pre-build UI patterns, design kits for Sketch and Figma, a web-based graphic editor, and prototyping tools.

The Shortcomings

Although a convenient tool, low-code is not very popular. Why? It requires careful management as it can send the team into a complex maze, where they could be stuck for hours, if not weeks, trying to figure out an error, or even start from scratch. 

Some experts believe that many low-code development platforms are subpar and do not include greater UX elements. After all, the user experience drives a business application’s success. And enterprises are in dire need of greater UX with better flexibility over custom UI elements that don’t elevate brand value and the corporate image.

Experts also claim that many low-code tools include elements loved by graphic designers but do not have enough features that can cheer UX designers. Without this, UX designers find it hard to achieve results. 

Challenges such as low compatibility with design tools, visual design limitations, restrictions for adding customized elements, and minimal possibilities for mobile adjustments can make it difficult to develop meaningful, usable, and desired results without these implanted qualities. 

Developers must include iterative user testing throughout the low-code design process. Interactive features such as the state of a div when hovered, the swipe effect, or responsive dimensions can help them a long way and achieve Atomic Design, which divides the design into minor UI elements like buttons, drop-down menus, and text fields to behave like atoms that combine to form a molecule. When these elements are standardized, it is easier and more effective to cause overall design equilibrium.

Within low-code development, the designer has an elevated role. But they can lose themselves in themes and limited end-to-end brand experience. Moreover, several low-code tools do not offer much for interaction and usability testing. Design-to-code iterations could streamline development and bring cost savings. Here are some critical low-code elements that every business needs to understand before implementation. 

Model-driven development: It is the foundation of low-code to transform ideas into apps and also provide value through abstraction, openness, and automation. It’s a model built on collaboration and communication, even before coding begins.

The Cloud: The cloud increases the speed of application deployments needed by both customers and owners.

Multi-user development: One of the many challenges of developers is to work on the same project as another and not be able to see live changes or accurate synchronization. Low-code is precisely the opposite.

Experimentation and innovation: Coding without experimentation and innovation is a lost cause. Low-code allows developers to experiment, explore, and create more effective UX results.

Governance and control: Governance and management are robust, and it is necessary to keep track of every alteration.

Some experts advise businesses to follow Tesler’s law of conservation of complexity. Every application has some amount of complexity that cannot be simplified. In such cases, low-code tools can provide quality UX only for simple processes such as creating dashboards or list reports. 

When working with customers to reimagine and redesign business processes and applications, some companies go beyond the limitations of what the low-code platforms offer. The decision to go with a low-code platform or custom development should be based on UX needs and the complexity of what needs to be built. 

Quality software requires quality UX research and forethought, not only for a low-code platform but one wholly generated without code. The convenience of low-code shouldn’t come with a UX sacrifice.

However, seamless and successful UX can be achieved if the current low-code adoption trends continue or increase and the tool is used correctly for suitable projects. There are indications of a surge in low-code development, and Gartner’s forecast supports it.

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