What would product designers want out of a no-code experience/tool?
A lot of no-code tools of the web building category are aimed toward web designers/marketing designer? I'm curious from a product designer lense, what would be an ideal no-code experience in designing/developing product experiences?
I'm not a designer, but I'm together with one and also built a platform with users who ARE professional designers by trade, so I can share notes! I'd say tools that build on the foundations that designers like- or helping them stay in the tools where they want to be is probably the best approach. I wouldn't have said that two weeks ago, but I recently talked to a designer that expressed too many new tools were just iterations of ones that he was already using and that it was almost tone deaf to him- he wanted more products to integrate with the tools he was already using. For most designers, I'm guessing that'd be Illustrator / Figma and After Effects. So probably features that would help them stay in those. There are a couple of tools that claim to parse design layers & assets and spit out full-blown component systems in native code, but I found them to be a mess and I'm sure there's a lot of room for growth as far as no-code doing this better goes.
When I was asked what designers would want from a no-code experience, I at first thought that the answer should be something like "design experience." However, after more research and in-depth discussion with my colleagues, it became apparent that what's needed is a tool with the capabilities to automate repetitive tasks and handle some of the non-standards.
@qudsia_ali great point. What would you say would be those repetitive tasks/non-standard items that designers need relief from?
I have a lot of thoughts on this. Data as a building block, i.e. something that influences the app I'm building so that I can simulate the app with different data, and use my data model to inform my design. State as a building block, so I can toggle between logged in/logged out, data loading/data loaded, user attributes such as permission profile (admin, free user, etc) and it informs the page I'm working on. I want to be able to save snapshots of each of these state combinations. Arrayed objects and lists by default, so I can take a piece of repeating data and design how it lives on a list, and not have to make 100 pages for each of them to have a navigation. The Webflow CMS is the only example I'm aware of that allows this. The ability to consume component libraries like Radix that can be themed, or the ability to import my prebuilt ones for use in the project.
@tomjohndesign Love this breakdown. A lot of interesting points in providing these powerful areas for designers to participate in. What do you think is preventing tools from providing this kind of experience for designers?
@rileyjs A conflation between the needs of marketing design and the needs of product design. IMO there are no tools that are actually solving the technical side of product design. There are many tools that solve the visual and conceptual side. Not saying one is more important than the other, but until someone stops treating a project like a page, then it'll not be possible. Websites have pages (frames), apps and products have state that happens to be a page but is composed of many pieces based off of the data of that user. I want state to be as much of a token as a color. Not just "can I toggle between dark and light mode" but "can I toggle between logged in, loading, logged out, permission profile, empty, device, internet speed, viewport size, app vs website, etc." A single page in an app has to be able to respond to all of those scenarios at once, and they all can influence each other. Duplicating frame after frame after frame just isn't real. Marketing sites can do that, apps can't.
@tomjohndesign this is an awesome point. Having tool that bring the joy of a traditional design tool (Figma etc) but also introduce more technical concepts like states can be a potential game changer.
An ability in NOCODE to integrate with our Design software(Figma, XD) . Why? As we prototype in the software already, we have to do it again in the NOCODE tool. its become repetitive to do again in the NOCODE tool. If we have some integrations where we only need to add actions (as the workflow is already setup in the Design software, we can review it in the NOCODE tool as well). It will be really helpful.