While it’s awesome to be able to write code and build out awesome functionality, a great design and user experience can be the difference between a top-selling app and one that gets forgotten in the App Store.
I always highly encourage all my students to mock up their apps before they write a line of code. This will do two things:
• Get them thinking about the specific functionality
• Allow them the opportunity to get user feedback and adjust before writing code
Let’s talk about the first bullet point. As a developer, you’ll obviously need the specific details and parameters of all functions within the app in order to start building it out, but as a creator, this will also get you thinking about how things should actually work. Pondering functionality and features in your head becomes a very different beast when actually put into a mockup. Questions like these may bounce around in your mind: What should happen when this user clicks this button? What happens on the screen for the user? What happens in the code? Where are we storing this data?
This will also help if you’re not directly working with the code, but with developers. There is nothing more frustrating for a developer to have to guess or assume what is supposed to happen. As an upcoming developer, it’s best to save yourself the time and energy and design out your product first!
The second bullet point is all about getting user feedback and iterating. It is much harder to iterate once code is written. You have to pull things apart, rebuild them, and refactor hundreds, if not thousands, of lines of code, depending on the changes or features you want made. This is why I always advocate designing the product within mockups and then getting user feedback. You can ask prospective users what they enjoy about your product and what could be better. The feedback loop is much shorter, and it’s much quicker to iterate a mockup than code. Then, when you’re ready to begin building, you could be four to five pivots in toward a better product—without having to write a single line of code!
These days, the B2C app market is so competitive, every edge counts. As a developer, product manager, or owner, you want to make sure your users are having the best possible experience with your app. Design should be carefully thought out through every product decision on the road map and doesn’t stop once production begins.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully gotten your feet wet with Swift and iOS development. Grasping these concepts is half the battle. Now that you’ve got it down, learning the syntax and practicing writing real code is next! You’re well on your way to becoming a full-stack iOS developer.
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