2020 is a monumental milestone.
The iPhone and the smartphone revolution is 12 years old, and Google is 21. They have highly influenced our lives, especially Gen Z’s, the first generation to grow up taking selfies.
All these point to one thing — we are quite accustomed to having high-end, life-enabling technology around.
This is good news for customers but a high ceiling for new startups to break through.
Products cannot be mere tools that solve a problem. They need to provide a unique user experience, delighting the user and engaging them using subtle elements.
Any product that does not provide quality UX cannot stand a chance at the market.
Users are highly used to having exemplary technology and if yours is not that, then they would just look for the one that offers that.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, how can you ensure that you provide the best experience out there?
And how do you keep pace with your competitors?
While we can’t solve the entire puzzle, we can surely provide a crucial piece: Front-end as a service.
What is Front-end as a service?
A product development service that consistently delivers modern Front-end modules that are user-centric and marketable.
An extension of Software Components as a service, Front-end as a service seeks to standardize the development of the front-end of a product.
The era of fast-paced development and lean ideologies with an eager emphasis on ownership has divided and delegated products to be worked on in parts— front end, back end, and DevOps.
This has its obvious advantages. Goals become much clearer. Each team can have more specialists who can now focus on delivering their aspect of the product.
Reviews and discussions are at the end of each sprint and don’t take a chunk of time during the development itself to ensure alignment.
In short, Front-end as a service makes the development of the product’s front-end reliable and organized.
The focus is on the serviceability, so every nuance of the front-end becomes a deliverable.
Front-end as a service is a crucial part of faster solutions-shipping.
With every startup trying to make it mark and get a market slice, agility has become a necessity. This means that enterprises cannot spend too much time double-thinking about their UX.
Their priorities would also include building a scalable architecture and proprietary tools, so opting for front-end as a service would help them streamline their production cycle.
A well-developed front-end is important
Whether you are an aspiring founder or a serial entrepreneur, there is one truth that you know very well— being average is a curse. It stagnates growth and ultimately makes a product fail.
You don’t need to ask why.
Hundreds of products try to break through while failing to differentiate or even provide a smooth user experience.
To win at the marketplace, your product has to be exceptional. The UX has to be simply perfect; everything about it should attract the user toward your product.
Back-end engines and business logic are all necessary, but your users are neither aware nor care about those things.
When you convince them that your product solves their needs, all they want to know is if it really does.
They want to figure out how to use the product, and the easier the experience is, the longer they would use it.
Front-end is important not because that is what users see. It is what they use, what gives them the ability to do a task.
However, “the front end of the product needs to look good and work smoothly” is just one part of what it means to have an exceptional UX.
The other part is creating a front-end experience that is unique to your product.
There are so many apps that users can choose to download from the marketplace. Why would they go for your product?
They would not— not unless you provide them with something that other apps don’t.
Building a remarkable front-end is a necessity now.
Advantages of Front-end as a service
Getting in on the UX trends
Remember when Instagram’s bottom menu used to be blue?
It is black and white now, just like every other app.
Some apps might have retained a bit of their personality, like Apple Music with the pink and Twitter with the blue. But everything else has been stripped down.
The borders, the icons, the bars, the buttons, and the backgrounds are all black and white.
To explain the reason without the technicalities: 1. Users have a lot more apps to choose from, and giving them a new color-scheme and UI pattern will overwhelm them.
And decrease adoption in newer apps.
2. More importance is on the UX— implicitly guiding the user through the product to improve their connection and making them stay longer on the app. Having gaudy UI makes it harder to do so.
All these are fine, you say as you ask, “Why do I need to know this?”
To build a successful product, you’d need to employ the latest design trends.
You don’t. Instead, you can get people who know about this and leverage their expertise to better your product experience.
i.e., Getting a collective that specializes in front-end as a service.
Be it neomorphism, Material Design, Complexion Reduction, Nudges, or any of the other UX trends, all you’d need to do is convey your product vision and sit back, while the designers and developers get to work.
Making product updates easier to push
A product is never done being developed.
Technologies evolve, users’ needs change, and competitors breath on your neck.
Your objective becomes to do the same— to evolve, change, and beat your competitors in the game.
To accomplish that, you have to be on your toes and the development has to be constantly rolling.
Conducting more user research, testing more features, and finally, pushing more releases.
This is where front-end as a service would help you technology firms.
As you work on your next iteration of the product and its back-end properties, you can delegate or outsource your front-end needs, so that both get developed concurrently.
This is something that Google has struggled a lot over the past years with Android.
Google itself pushed updates consistently but its third-party vendors like Samsung that used custom UI on their phones did not.
The solution: Build the front-end while Google works on the back-end.
None of the users would need to wait for critical security updates on their phone.
Implementing user feedback
A continuation of constantly evolving, asking users for suggestions and feedback and working on them is crucial for your product’s success.
No product is born to be exceptional— they are incrementally improved to become more attuned to the users’ needs.
Overall, constant iteration is key to product-market fit.
Generally, most peeves of customers with a product is always with the UX.
Something might be off, slow, or completely nonfunctional.
The straightforward answer here is to solve the UX issue, but what if it is something that needs to be shipped immediately?
Then, having a front-end-as-a-service provider would be the better choice than solving the problem in-house.
Giving you a competitive advantage
It is characteristic of a startup to try and get their product to the masses as quickly as possible.
This means compromising the quality of one aspect or the other.
Often, it is the UX of the product that takes the hit.
Most MVPs have a lackluster UI with bare minimum labels and misaligned buttons that do the job but subtract a lot from the user’s satisfaction.
User journeys are never properly implemented either.
Quick deployment is not the issue; the lack of quality is.
As an aspiring entrepreneur or a new startup, you can gain a competitive edge by having an exceptional front-end.
By opting for Front-end as a service, you can ensure your product looks and works perfectly so that the users don’t get dissatisfied.
This gives you an immediate upper hand over your competitors, as they would have to go back to the drawing board and rework.
Meanwhile, your product would be out in the market.
How digital transformation leads to specialized efforts
When IT companies first came into existence, they simply hired software engineers. The early days of Microsoft, IBM, etc where every person contributed to projects one way or another.
With advancement and faster-moving projects, came in the labels. You were not just a software engineer, but a Senior Database Developer.
That hardly lasted. Now, specializations are all the heat— you could be solely a Python-based developer (language-specific) or a full-stack front-end developer (stack-specific).
Not just individuals: even companies become more specific in their approach, all the way from being a mere software enterprise to a SaaS or PaaS startup.
The rise of being specific comes from our need for advanced tools. Spreadsheets were the universal solution, and now, each enterprise has its own ERP.
Product development is no different. What was being done by just a single, cross-functional team was taken over by multiple teams.
And now, the future, where certain components of the product can be outsourced.
That, is Software components as a service.
It is not all about just specialized effort. There are other factors as well.
You could be an enterprise with existing products needing to upgrade your features to cater to the latest trends. The core functionality would remain the same but other components would be developed.
The commonest revamp is the front-end of the product.
Apps that are a few years old need a definite polish just to retain existing customers who want the same rich experience of other big players out there.
Your developers could be busy or less in number but you hardly need to break a sweat.
All you’d need to do is get yourself a Front-end as a service package that revamps your product.
This was just one use-case.
You could be running a lean startup, focused on building just the proprietary tools and logic (where the real buck lies). Outsourcing is not just an option, it is a necessity to continue being agile.
Whatever the use-case is, front-end as a service is something that all enterprises will end up making use of.
Digital Product Agencies and Front-end as a service
Serviceability is something that is hardly talked about.
As something turns into a service, several improvements occur. Processes get standardized, and every aspect testable, optimizable, and iterable.
When that happens, the bottom menu bar or the transitions become more than mere elements— each of those play a key role in how the user interacts with the product.
That which annoys them can be easily detected and debugged.
Digital product agencies make this into a holistic and reliable service.
Hiring a group of freelancers still means training them and working to align them. Whatever they develop would be a temporary solution that covers up the immediate glitches.
When you hire a digital product agency to work on the front-end of your product, you get something valuable.
Digital product agencies bring structure and methods to the entire process. This means that the front-end of your product will have its own development stages, from wireframe to prototype.
You can also expect them to break it into milestones, bringing accountability and speeding up the production.
All this allows you to give immediate feedback, fulfilling your product-vision faster.
Front-end-as-a-service is not just offering the concept of enabling you to develop proprietary software while the digital product agency works on the UX and UI iterable.
It is bringing in accountability, ownership, industry expertise, design thinking, and a myriad of other innovative practices to the table for each and every project.
When you simply outsource, you have to do the intellectual heavy-lifting— creating mockups, working on the product roadmap, etc.
Front-end-as-a-service subsumes all of that and goes beyond to deliver more.
In short, it makes your life easier and lets you concentrate on business strategies or new releases.
Front-end-as-a-service is the future of product development.
Whether you are a lean startup or an organization needing speedier upgrades, utilizing front-end-as-a-service would simplify your workflow and make room for innovation.
Consistency and quality become the norm, and you would not have to spend your time thinking about new design trends.
What’s more, your product can become much more user-oriented.
Employing more surveys and acting on the feedback, you can achieve product-market fit faster and become a rising star in your niche.
Front-end-as-a-service is here to spur growth and you should give it a spin.