On April 22, 2021, Riley Jones, a Webflow freelance designer, and John Scrugham, an enterprise system designer at Coda, hosted the NoCode Makers Hangout with around 40 app and web makers on Twitter space. The fun and casual hangout covered how no-code has transcended into university and college courses. Are there courses that offer no-code education? And if there are, how about for those who can’t afford them? And another topic discussed in the hangout was how teams in agencies collaborate on no-code projects. Is the traditional hand-off process still being implemented? Is project work better than retainers for agencies?
But first, we have to go back to where no-code tools were created.
It’s simple. No-code came from code. Developers created an easier and faster way to make your idea into apps and websites using drag-and-drop user interfaces and templates. It’s cost-effective, automates processes, provides better productivity, and challenges you creatively. Yet, “you always need code to bridge the gap of something interesting and consequence,” said Ben Parker, a visual developer. Code will always be a part of no-code; that’s why there are also low code tools.
App and web makers still have control no matter what tool they are using. “I love tools that allow both…that you can go and build something and you don’t have to code or you can code on top and extend functionality or bring in new functionality,” said Lacey Kesler, the Head of Education at Adalo.
The growing education in no-code has benefitted students and professionals who want to prosper in no-code tech solutions. Amazingly, a no-code web development tool like Webflow is being taught in established colleges and universities such as California College of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Dartmouth, Purdue University, and Brunel University London. However, not everyone can have the opportunity to enroll in colleges and universities for no-code education. For Alessandro De La Torre, his start on studying no-code came from watching YouTube tutorial videos of RR Abrot, who happens to be in the hangout. Alessandro thanked RR’s videos because they helped him create projects with different companies. For others, communities like NoCode Makers are great because there’s direct communication with experts.
Here are app and web makers who shared their experience working in their companies and agencies.
What happens when a non-coder hands down a project to a coder? Are there discrepancies and problems arising from that exchange?
Mark Magnussen (Bildr developer): It’s a collaborative effort in the team to make sure that a project is being completed. What happens is that a designer would create the whole look but not necessarily make things work yet, then comes the developer who creates the flow, and then another person puts the database. One thing for sure is that it’s not the traditional process (hand-off process). The person who takes the first step in the project is there for the last, but the guardrails should be put back into place so there’s a clear direction in the project.
Is project work better than retainers?
Matt Varughese (Partner at 8020): We don’t support retainer work. We build projects, create documentation, and hand them off through a 1-hr video call. Like for our project with Sean Parker, the co-founder of Facebook, I created Loom videos for Sean within a style guide to show how things work so he doesn’t have to hire us every time he has problems or questions.
How do you set proper client expectations when working on a project?
Matt Varughese (Partner at 8020): Set a clear scope in the beginning, although it’s difficult to do so. If there are problems that needed to be clarified, communication is key to understanding what is best for your client.
What tool that you use for shared workspace with your client and how much information do you share with your clients?
Matt Varughese (Partner at 8020): We always switch from Notion to Coda to Clickup. But right now, we’re using Clickup. For our documentation, we show a document that shares how we work, our desired communication preferences, our schedules, and our working style. On top of that, we show our fixed price quotes and estimated deadlines in our proposals. And also, we share how we use Clickup.
Justin Watt (Director of Operations at MetaLab): We use Notion. We say to our clients how we work and what tools we use. And usually, 90% of the time, companies in Fortune 500 agree and they’re excited to hop everything on Notion. We have project space for every project. Then, we run 1-3 week sprints and touch base with our clients before we move to the next sprint. We give them the guest access since it’s free, and we share them notion pages. They also love it because they can see the history of our sprints and use it as their reference.