Need an App? There’s No-Code for That

Why simpler is always better, by Nouhou Basekonda, Junior Designer at &us

As a budding Product Designer I’ve spent years studying and refining my coding skills, but never did I imagine I’d chuck HTML, CSS, and Javascript out the proverbial window, instead, creating a product with ‘No-Code’. But that’s exactly what I did, and I don’t know if I’ll ever look back.

As COVID-19 went into full swing, everyone was hit, in particular the hospitality industry, as the trade went to zero virtually overnight. Early on, a client rang up with an idea for The Pass — a website to support the nation’s top restaurants during lockdown with takeaway orders, whilst also helping people discover recipes from those restaurants so they could cook up a storm at home.

Time was of the essence — we had three weeks and a nominal budget so it made no sense to build it in the traditional way. Enter No-Code, a simpler, cheaper, and faster way to create digital products that work by using, in my case, a platform called ‘Webflow’ that allows anyone to build custom websites and apps with zero coding experience.

Just get started

Once I realised that using No-Code wouldn’t mean my University years would be for nothing, I decided to get stuck in. I spent a couple of days reading blogs, watching videos, and doing tutorials, all focused on the features the client wanted (search, subscription functionality, and so on) and then quickly got to building.

Looking back, it was the satisfaction of seeing things coming together so quickly that got me a little hooked.

Proud of what we’re achieving

We launched The Pass in just a few short weeks, on time and on budget. Since then it has gone from strength to strength with 10,000 unique visitors and over 1,000 people signing up as members.

What started as a collection of 20 London-based restaurants on the platform (featuring Dishoom, The Palomar and Kricket, amongst many) now includes over 50 restaurants from Scotland to the South East. There’s also a growing library of 250+ recipes and counting, for us home chefs.

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Some of London’s best restaurants have contributed
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The slick and simple layout is a joy to browse!
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And the plan is for The Pass to become a social network in its own right, like the digital version of a Spanish mercado.

Why I love No-Code (and you should too)

Yes, it’s quicker to launch something and therefore costs less money, but for me it’s about so much more:

  1. There isn’t nearly as much scary jargon. It’s easier to learn, share ideas and opinions with people to crack through problems. Knowledge is no longer reserved for the experts, which is what coding can feel like sometimes.
  2. I can create more often and more efficiently. I no longer have to read through pages of documentation to figure out how to make a form. Instead, I can just drag and drop what I need.
  3. It has opened up a whole new world. Previously, I’d hand over designs to a developer to build, but now I can own a project from concept through to production, and there’s just so much more satisfaction in it, as creating things is what gets me fired up.
  4. Getting a taste of what No-Code can do has spurred me to add a couple of personal projects to my backlog, so I can try out more features and platforms to see what I can pull off.

Does all this mean we don’t need developers anymore? No! More sophisticated products and higher levels of security will require more customisation. But what it does mean is whether you’re a seasoned pro or just learning how to unmute yourself on Zoom, getting started has never been easier — and that’s what it’s all about.

So get out there, explore and when you’ve got an idea give me a shout — I can’t wait for the next problem to explore or idea to test.

&us exists to unleash the spirit of making. We encourage our clients to get started, try things out, screw stuff up, learn and try again. Given my recent experience, No-Code fits in perfectly with our ethos.

Some resources to get you started:

https://www.makerpad.co — A collection of courses and tutorials to help you build No-Code products

https://university.webflow.com — Learn web design and development with No-Code via Webflow

https://www.glideapps.com — Build an app from a Google Sheet in minutes.

https://zapier.com — Connect multiple No-Code platforms into one big automated workflow

P.S. Check out The Pass and sign up — you’ll never be short of food inspiration.