• The Era of Codeless Interactive Design

The Era of Codeless Interactive Design

Posted by Jan Waldeck | Rare Thinking |

The current production process in most interactive agencies (at a very high level) works like this:

  1. Account / project managers work to understand the client's needs and create a brief and document project specs
  2. The Strategy and Creative departments come up with strategy and design ideas
  3. The developers write the code to bring it all to life

With mobile web usage overtaking desktop, and the number of devices and screen resolutions growing almost daily, this whole process remains the same, but has gotten a lot more complicated. There are now at least 3 different sizes for the same website, different technologies to consider for the same banner and many placement strategies for the same content, thus informing and correctly using technology has become a difficult task.

For web developers and designers, these changes have pushed us get smarter and more strategic about how we collaborate, and make decisions for producing the best quality work for clients within the parameters of a project.

Thankfully, to help ease the transition software companies are betting high on creating tools that help designers develop actual coded interfaces that behave nicely on mobile devices - without ever having to touch code. It’s interesting to see where our industry is headed, yet hard to predict what exactly it is going to evolve into.

So with the industry heading in this direction, can we predict how it’s going to end?

Wait… end? What end? The end of interactive designers having to know code to be able to produce their best work.

Here at allwebcafe, we are usually looking for “hybrid” professionals to join the creative team and we’ve noticed that finding designers with the ability to code can be a daunting task. Why do I like designers who code? Because they are usually better equipped to understand how to design for technology and avoid its limitations or even better, can stretch their creativity to come up with great new experiences and be able to push technology further.

What Does the Near Future Look Like?

Although we tend to prefer designers who at least understand code, an interesting trend is rapidly being introduced by big and small software companies like Adobe and Webflow. It is finally getting a lot easier to design and output code for more and more elaborate interactive experiences like responsive websites and html5 banners without writing a single line of code, just via software.

The positive outcome of this is a new creative flow, where code is embedded in the design process, and actually part of the design itself. The new Adobe Edge Reflow is a great example of design that happens in a fluid and organic canvas, where the base is actually CSS, the foundation of any creative element in web pages.

Don’t Worry, Your Job is Safe

So if we have sophisticated design software solutions that are in the end producing more code, what will all of the web developers of the world do? No need to write code means no web developers needed...

Wrong. Web development has been a pretty constantly evolving field for the past 20 years. These newer solutions may be helping to make the process more efficient, but they certainly are not removing the need for web developers when it comes to creating custom designed websites. This is just the next stage of the evolution.

As previously stated, as technology and websites become more elaborate and complicated, software with easy to use tools and great user interfaces is slowly reducing the gap between vision, design and an actual running website. In an automated "design to code" world, developers are also a crucial part of the concept and creative/technological thinking of projects.

The times where developers were just told what to do are over! They have become a very important resource to push the boundaries of technology in new, exciting and creative ways. Let's use their knowledge, bring them into think-tanks and collaborate to come up with even greater digital experiences that our clients will love!