The Importance of Understanding UI as a Software Developer


Leonardo F.


Posted on July 10, 2020


Many years ago, I started to develop my first application using VB.Net (Visual Basic). The idea was to control the assets for a company.

This app had an average of 10 forms approx. with many inputs, buttons, grids, among others. I was alone in the project and had to figure out everything on my own. Besides, I didn’t have any idea about how to organize the different components on each form. But when I was testing the app I realized that my experience as a user was much better if inputs, buttons, spaces and margins were well placed.

While developing the app I learned the importance of colors in a website. Being the only one working on the project forced me to work as the designer and complete review cycles as the QA. Throughout this process I understood that without a good UI, colors won’t have the same impact and the user will not have a good impression of the product.

Each time we build a product, we have a new opportunity to see the development process with other eyes, mainly the users’ ones. Focusing on their needs to solve the different issues in the simplest way possible will allow us to deliver the best experience for the end users.

As developers, we need to change our minds, acknowledging that we could avoid so many obstacles by just following a good UI/UX design pattern. And this is the catch: designers should always be present from the beginning to the end of the development process.

Designers are the ones in charge of leading the road to outstandings deliverables. Our role as developers is to assemble the ideas they put together in a canvas and turn them into UI components. However the way those components should be presented is a game changer decision: an application might work well but if it doesn’t look good it won’t sell. A solid experience in UX modeling and a good judgement for web interfaces are the key skills to successfully create a clean design.

Our main mission as developers is not to write code to get a salary, but understand the purpose of the UI elements and the way they work. Why? Because that will help us to know what the user needs and get a better perspective of what would be the best way of building them.

Designers can see deep in the functionality of each component because they have clearance on what the client is expecting in the different faces of the project. So it is always a good practice to ask for a well detailed explanation of the design’s structures and the way the components interact between each other. A good development strategy is always based on a good understanding of the project’s goals.

Another important reason that we need to keep in mind is that a product is a process that requires a considerable amount of phases before the final one. That’s the only way the users are going to have the best experience that adds real value to their life. Patience is a great ally on this whole journey.

Overall we just need to remind ourselves that creating an app is a magnificent journey full of hard decisions and complex issues. No project can be successful if there is no alliance between the design and development teams. Moreover is a learning path for both parties in which each one of the members can sharpen their skills by sharing their knowledge with each other in order to shape a high quality product.

Finally, having consistent design patterns and the best UX as possible, we allow users to understand how the application works more quickly and more efficiently. The UI is the guide for users throughout an application or software, using different elements such as fonts, color palettes, images and a whole world of animations and components. It isn’t a matter of making something great, but at the same time creating something useful.

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