Designing Apps from the Inside Out

August 2, 2019

Computer with database and server types
image source

When you’re mopping the floor, you need to remember to start in a corner opposite the door. Tons of work can be put into something only to find that there is no clear way to move forward because the work that’s been done so far has severely limited possible options. Like mopping yourself into a corner! When designing a website or app, you might want to jump right in to what it will look like, but this is about the same as mopping right at the doorway. Starting from the outside in is often downright inefficient, especially if you are creating an individual template for each page. Here’s why Crafted Labs approaches every design process from the inside out—and what that means for efficiency and quality.

Designing a Database that Supports Your Visions

Database architecture is the process of designing and implementing software that stores and organizes information. When building a complex app or website, the team needs to spend time strategizing the architecture before they even start thinking about appearance. Thinking about how the homepage is going to look is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things because it doesn’t affect how the website will work. On the back end, it’s essential to have a larger perspective on how each piece is going to work together. This is because it can be difficult to alter the structure of the database after it’s complete. Nobody can tell the future, but you do need to look ahead to what the app or website might need to become in a year or two. It’s vital to account for inevitable change from an architecture perspective. The more the database is scalable and adaptable, the better. that’s often much easier said than done.

Starting Your Application Design Process

One of the  best things you can do to enhance the design and development process is to   create a design system. This is a library of components that have been pre-designed and approved to build your application. Keep in mind that a design system isn’t only about creating a unified design. It’s about creating a process for design and construction that is hardwired into your team’s mindset. This can take many shapes and the more the team uses a design system, the quicker it will become second nature.  

After creating a design system for your application, functionality will be ready to be implemented extremely efficiently across your entire code base. The real cherry on top is that a design system can built into your codebase so that once you update something in your library, the live components will update automatically–no muss with very little fuss. This makes design changes automatic and uniform across the board, so you don’t have to change things one at a time.

Database design and visual design are both critical aspects of building scalable, resilient apps. Investing in your backend architecture makes your design scalable from both data and user interface perspectives. This scalability means you have design and development processes that are reusable, resilient to change, updatable, and well documented. By designing from the inside out, your website or app will have a long shelf life and look great in the process.