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Interface First, Program Later

March 11, 2013

If you have been reading web development articles since long, you might have read this title before. Interface first and program later as a practice has been advocated for a long time.

Many web design companies have written about the benefits of creating the interface of the application first and then starting to program the application. Yet after so many years, I find many companies and individuals still doing the opposite. Somehow the idea of creating the functional parts of the application before starting to work on the design, makes them think that the application development will happen much faster.

UX

A good UI / UX, as a feature should be number one in your application development process.

How we incorporated this in Brightpod:

While starting to work on Brightpod, we started with the interface of the application. We spent the first 3 months only working on the interface. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions we took. We sketched the elements required, debated what needs to be part of each screen and wrote the HTML / CSS for each screen.

[caption id=”attachment_55" align=”aligncenter” width=”300"]

Early version of the Brightpod Dashboard

Early version of the Brightpod Dashboard. As you can see now, it went through a whole lot of changes.[/caption]

Having a link to share with the team, made is easier for everyone to see what the final result would look like and started more discussions on how the application could improve. If we programmed the features first, I can’t imagine us having these discussions.

A philosophy more suited towards iterative development:

Design is also relatively easy to change, the same can’t be said about programming. If the programmer wrote the feature in a certain pattern, having to change it later based on the design could be a time consuming process.

I can’t imagine, working on another application where the programming happens before the interface of the application is ready.

How do you handle this? Do you design your interface first and develop later or the opposite?

Sahil Parikh

Building Brightpod, playing golf 🏌🏽 and traveling the world 🌏

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