Front-end Development — The missing ingredient in User Experience Design

User Experience of Web Applications has evolved a lot over the last decade with the evolution of touch devices, gestures, retina displays and powerful browsers, but an often ignored aspect while planning User Experience for Apps is Front-end Development and a world of new possibilities it has opened up.

Unfortunately the perception of the front-end developer’s role in creating a Web Application remains somewhat coloured by an early association in observers’ minds with the other, loosely related role of the web designer. The role of web designer is an extremely important and valid one, but it is very different to that of the web developer, and the lack of a clear distinction between the two, in some people’s perception, is unhelpful and does both roles an injustice.

Here are some reasons why Front-end Development is critical to the success of a Web Application and how this missing ingredient can make a difference to your App.

1. The Key to Performance

80–90% of the end user response time while using your application is spent on Front-end. Start your optimization here.

Its even higher on mobile devices with upto 97% of user response time being spent on Front-end.

2. Better Interaction and Usability

There have been many case studies where Front-end optimization has resulted in higher conversions and helped drive business revenues.

Mozilla increased their conversions by 15.4% by reducing 2.2 seconds in their page load time.

3. First Impression

The way people judge a book by its cover, in a similar way they judge a business by its website and User Experience. In an increasingly web-based world, a business’s webpage is often its first impression as well as its first interaction with customers. The website’s programmers need to take this into account as they plan out a successful front-end development strategy.

4. Trust and Confidence

Bad Front-end code can really affect your business. There have been many researches to suggest that users who routinely encounter websites that feature run time errors, poor graphics, HTML problems and other issues are not likely to return and might be hesitant to make a purchase. When a customer’s trust is broken, a company loses money as well as the loyalty and brand ambassadors who would potentially spread the word about the product/service.

5. Maintainable Code

Web products are agile and evolve at a rapid pace with additions and changes on a ongoing basis. It makes it even more important to have maintainable and neatly structured Front-end code by modularizing it and using CSS pre-processors like SASS/LESS.

Hence the next time you cook up a Web Application, don’t miss this important ingredient in your recipe.

Originally published at on September 10, 2014.