How to Approach Your No-Code Project Like a Designer

A 3 step approach when designing your new No-Code project

Do you have a problem designing your No-Code project? Are you stuck with colours and “what goes where”? Do you keep asking yourself “is this correct?” and “is this good?”.

These questions plagued me time and time again. And not only that, these uncertainties would lead me down a rabbit hole and delay this No-Code project.

Having gone through countless books, blog posts and a few courses, there is a common thread.

Sharpen Your Axe

“If I had an hour to chop down the tree, I would spend the first half of it sharpening my axe.”

The above was quoted is famously attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Simply, it means plan before you execute.

If you are new to design, this would not be obvious, For non-designers, it seems magical when designers come up with something beautiful. It is as if they were born with it, gifted by God. But in truth, the designers have spent many years of trial and error to get to where they are today.

The best way for a non-designer to start is to design a skeleton of the design. This could mean sketching on a piece of paper or in a sketch app.

Then, add a column beside the sketch and identify the reason for the design. This would ensure that each design is functional and is essential to the overall project.

There Is Only One Way

Have you realised that in almost all apps you intuitively know what to do? This is not by accident. The app was designed to guide you.

Let’s take a look at Twitter.

Snippet of a tweet

When you’re on Twitter, you keep scrolling until you read an interesting tweet. Then, you decide whether to engage. If you do, you have three choices - to Like, Retweet or Comment. That’s it. Those are the main user interactions on Twitter.

(Of course, the above statement is Twitter at its most basic. The Twitter you see today is a jargonaut from many years of development and millions, if not billions, of cash spent. We, No-Coders, don’t have that kind of money right now.)

The reason why popular apps are intuitive is because the customer journey (also called user journey) was already created for us by the app creators.

This means that you should create a customer journey. The rule is to ensure there is only one road to use the app. It sounds easy but it’s not. This means ensuring your app to do one thing. And, for No-Coders, this should be the optimal functions as you are building something totally new.

All You Need to Remember: Keep It Simple

There is a common trait that makers have: we love coming up with new ideas. And not only that, we love to add more things to an existing project.

There is nothing bad about this trait. It is actually commendable as we, makers, want to give more value to our customers. But there is a problem. It makes the product complex and unfocused.

This will eventually add more friction in the use of the product and worsen the customer experience when using the product.

So, what’s the solution? Keep It Simple.

You should only keep the functions that are essential to your project. Say “No” to the non-essentials.

Let’s use Google as an example. Say you want to search for something and you go to Google.com. When you’re on Google’s homepage, what do you see?

A snapshot of Google in 1999 (from Wayback Machine)

There is the “Google name”, “search bar” and the “search button”. Of course, there are other buttons but those are non-essential to use Google.

The main thing is to keep it simple.

Recap

In summary, this should be your roadmap.

1. Plan the design

2. Create the Customer Journey

3. Only Keep the Essentials

This is how you should think about how to design the project. Draw out the skeleton, understand how you want your customers to move and preferably create only one road for the customers.

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About the Writer

Hi! I'm Luqman Z.A. I love reading on self-improvement, self-care and business. I also love world literature (One Hundred Years of Solitude is hands-down the best work of fiction). I'm also a certified Chartered Accountant.

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