Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The low-code and no-code web design movements are going through a renaissance. Every day, low-code and no-code website building platforms are releasing new features, innovations and solutions to continuously bridge the gap between what someone with nearly zero coding skills can accomplish and a full-fledged developer.
After all, why would any web professional waste time and resources on new code when a low-code or no-code platform can do the same thing in half the time? Web professionals and agencies everywhere are starting to reap the benefits granted by using these website-building platforms, which range from faster scaling to automated structuring for high-ranking SEO.
It’s important to identify the key factors behind the upward trend of low-code and no-code and fully grasp the benefits it passes on to businesses.
What exactly is low code and no code?
Low code and no code are widely defined as visual approaches to web development. With low code and no code, website building platforms can automate nearly every step of the development process and streamline builds, drastically increasing development speed for web professionals.
There are two main areas of low-code and no-code development. One type is design-first platforms, which allow web professionals to build visually engaging web applications. These usually have a strong focus on the design of a website, automating scaling and positioning to look flawless across all devices. These platforms are great when developers want to quickly produce external-facing web applications for their customers. These design-first platforms, such as Webflow, Duda and Bubble, are seeing the largest growth in popularity, due to their visual aspects and their wide range of clientele. The gap between what professional developers and people without any coding experience can do is becoming narrower with the rise of innovations in low-code website building platforms.
The other type is functionality-first platforms. These were built around providing functionality and are best used as internal tools to automate IT processes swiftly. Examples of these platforms include Airtable, Google App Maker and Creatio. Large-scale organizations make heavy use of functionality-first platforms because they have a strong need for internal systems that help align data, processes and teams. This enables these businesses to better connect with digital native customers and rapidly adapt when new tools are integrated into their data systems.
Web professionals should choose the right platform according to their business needs — whether that be internal or customer-facing. If you’re a web development agency looking to pump out stellar-looking sites for a variety of clients, then it’s best to focus on design-first platforms. If you’re an IT company just seeking a way to simplify internal processes through automation, then functionality is what you’ll need.
Related: Why Your Next Hire Should Be a Coding School Graduate
It’s fairly obvious that it is much quicker to train someone to use a low-code or no-code platform than to turn them into a skilled web developer. Currently, it’s common for people to go to college or spend years getting certified as web developers. However, the number of people doing this is likely to drop significantly as low-code and no-code platforms expand services and continue to find clever ways to match the product quality of advanced coding.
Becoming a competent web developer is a lengthy and tedious process compared to what low-code and no-code website building platforms are offering. Many website builders come complete with free “universities” and online training sessions that churn out certified website design professionals in just a few hours. The impact this rapid training has on the web design field and what tools newbie developers strive to learn should not be understated. Web professionals and employers are discovering that those many months learning to code can be much better spent working. Because after all – the best education is on-the-job training.
The power of white-labeling
Much can be achieved with low code and no code, however, it’s not always necessary to create a website from scratch. When combining a low-code or no-code platform with white-label integrations, designers build what they need to quickly, with no code, while complex software that has already been built by others integrates seamlessly into a single solution. This combination allows design agencies, SaaS platforms and freelance web designers to produce at a higher frequency, which leads to increased productivity, sales, and client satisfaction. Although there are a lot of things that can be developed with low code and no code, sometimes it makes even more sense to integrate and use white-label solutions offered by others.
A great example of white-labeling can be found at Costco. If you’ve ever had Costco’s coffee, then you’ve experienced white-labeling. This is because Costco’s branded coffee is actually from Starbucks. This is white-labeling in its essence — a company takes a product or feature that they don’t make themselves and rebrands it as their own. The same thing can be done at tech companies.
Just like how Costco doesn’t want to spend excess time and resources developing its own coffee in-house, design agencies and SaaS platforms that want to offer websites to clients can utilize pre-made software, elements, widgets and APIs so users don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they create a new design. Granting users the ability to embed existing software into their designs cuts down website-building time because they don’t waste time building things that already exist.
Businesses that thoroughly integrate white-labeling into their operations can realize benefits beyond the function the product was even designed to perform. The benefits of white-labeling range depending on the company. For example, companies that don’t want to develop certain software in-house may find it far more effective to white-label existing software as their own so their engineering teams can instead focus their attention on core services. The same benefit largely applies to web-development agencies, especially ones that want to demonstrate to their clients that all the technology and services they provide were developed under their roof.
Enhanced designs at scale
One of the major benefits of low-code and no-code website building platforms is that they allow web professionals to be a lot bolder in the scope of design projects. Low-code and no-code platforms save hundreds of development hours, with most on average cutting development time by 50-90% when compared to professionals developing sites from scratch. This is typically done through the use of intuitive building toolkits and efficient content management systems that design websites at scale.
These platforms also allow users to manage a library of templates, site sections and widgets to speed up future projects. Instead of starting from square one every time, web professionals can use low-code and no-code tools to build up a collection of existing sites and components when building new sites. This way, the build process is more like fitting together pieces of a puzzle rather than an uphill battle to meet a deadline with hardly any existing assets.
Related: How to Be a Design-Thinking Executive
Our codeless future
Website building will only continue to be simplified as platforms learn how to further automate the process. This will open doors for many people to enter the profession of web design without requiring them to spend months learning how to code. Ignoring this trend would be denying reality. There’s no way to truly know what the future holds, but I’m willing to put my money on low code and no code replacing standard web design for the majority of projects. This will allow more technical developers to use their hard-earned expertise towards specialized projects that require more customization.
Related: Bridging the Digital Divide Through Coding