The synergy of design, code, and development

Pritesh Pattni

outsystems platform

The synergy of design, code, and development

Like all disciplines, digital development works best when all the various elements are used collaboratively, and where new approaches are created based on the input of experts in each area. Depending on the type of development, new technologies can be expensive and time-consuming to create, and this is only exacerbated when some parties are consulted late in the day, or assumptions are made.

That’s why uniting design, code and development is seen as the best approach for a successful technology project. In this article, we look at why this synergy is important.

What is design?

For technology projects, design is the process of creating visual and functional concepts that  are focused on delivering a great user experience. This often covers a range of design expertise, including graphic design, user interface design and user experience design. Working together, these designers use their experience and understanding of aesthetics, usability and psychology to build a visual approach that attracts users while accurately representing the end brand.

What is code?

Code, in the context of software development, refers to the instructions written in a programming language to define the behaviour and functionality of a system or application. It covers both frontend code, which is focused on the user interface and interaction, and backend code, which manages data storage, processing, and communication with servers and other systems. Code is used to translate design concepts into executable software, employing algorithms, data structures, and software architectures to bring ideas to life.

There are usually two approaches to coding: traditional hand coding and low code. Hand-coding is where every element of the code is written by a professional developer and is often used on complex projects. Low code is an approach that uses a drag-and-drop interface to create certain elements of a project, reducing time and cost, and ensuring reliability. The type of coding used on a technology project will be determined by the type of project, timescales and budget.

What is development?

Development is the term given to the broader process of creating, deploying, and maintaining software solutions. It is often used just to describe the technical aspects of coding, but it also involves the strategic planning and management required to deliver successful products. Ideally, development teams will collaborate across disciplines, including design, engineering, quality assurance, and project management, to build software solutions that meet user needs and business objectives.

Why collaboration matters

To run a successful technology project, all these elements must come together. Design, with its focus on aesthetics, usability, and user experience, lays the foundation for intuitive interfaces and engaging interactions. Whether it’s crafting visually compelling layouts or mapping out user journeys, design serves as the initial touchpoint, drawing users into the product. Design – both for aesthetics and for usability – is a critical part of the process, giving coders the direction they need to create a workable solution.

But ‘design’ and ‘code’ shouldn’t work in a vacuum. Of course, coders could wait until the design process is complete, and then take over, but the project will be far more efficient when designers and coders work together from the very beginning.

This is where creativity and technical understanding can work together to create not just a functional and high-performing solution, but to manage the project in the best way from end to end.

Designers provide developers with the blueprint for innovation, while developers empower designers with the tools to realize their vision. This synergy fosters a culture of creativity and refinement, where ideas evolve organically through continuous feedback and open conversations.

Beyond individual projects

Of course, collaboration helps individual projects to succeed. Sometimes, all the elements of design, code and development are based within internal teams, which makes this teamwork easier. On other projects, the project development team may be internal, while the design and coding is outsourced. In cases like this, it’s essential to bring teams together regularly to establish and build good relationships to help the project run smoothly.

Beyond individual projects, this focus on collaboration is being encouraged across the technology industry. Leaders understand both the commercial benefits of working more collaboratively, and the fact that this approach delivers better outcomes for users. Agile methodologies, using iterative development and cross-functional teams, has blurred the lines between design and code, removing the risk of siloed thinking, and producing more efficient and effective results.

Why low code is a good collaborative option

In the context of uniting design, code, and development, low-code platforms offer several advantages over hand-coding approaches. First, they enable rapid prototyping and iterative development cycles. This helps to bring technologies to market faster, and results in more reliable end applications. Low code also streamlines the development process by eliminating complex technical details. This means the development team can focus on high-level functionality and business logic, rather than getting tied up with every small detail.

By reducing the amount of hand coding required, using low code can increase productivity and efficiency, and drives faster, more cost-effective delivery.

At ISB Global, we are a proud OutSystems partner. OutSystems is regularly named as a platform of choice for collaborative teams. It’s an open platform that accelerates development without compromising quality, and leaves room for easier adaptation and scalability. We use OutSystems low code both for our own market-leading application, Waste and Recycling One, and for the development projects we work on for clients.

Contact us to find out more about how low code and collaborative working could help your business to build stronger technologies.

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