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Mangabo Kolawole
Mangabo Kolawole

Posted on • Originally published at Medium

Why should backend developers care about UX?

If you are a backend developer and you think that UX is not your problem, let me prove you wrong.

It is not actually new. Since the beginning of the last decade, businesses have started understanding the importance of User-centered product philosophy.

This has led to the evolution of team workflow, a better evaluation of the work of designers in the tech industry, and the evolution of development, and marketing.

However, only a few businesses are aware of the importance of UX. And developers, mostly backend developers, think that UX is not their problem.

Let's clarify.

UX is not UI

The first misconception that non-designer have is that UX is equal to UI.

While it's not totally wrong, the two concepts must not be confused.

UI is essentially how it looks, and UX is how it impacts the User-Experience. And great UI doesn't imply great UX.
You had one job

UX is based upon performance, scalability, and forgiveness

These traits are directly related to the backend. One thing that matters the most to the user is the responsivity of your system.

It's an unconscious process, but if your application is slow, the user won't be likely to use it the next time.

Let's say we have an application, a kind of social media for doctors, where they can connect and contact each other by message.

The first step for someone who is looking for a particular doctor will be to use the search bar.

Once a request is sent, the backend responds with a JSON paginate response (50) with each item containing information such as name, contact, hospital, profile picture, etc.

Now let's say that hundreds or thousands of doctors are doing this at the same time. You can guess that the backend needs to keep responsive.

For every project, choosing the suitable configuration and tools for the backend is crucial to great UX.

The better the communication between UXer and backend dev, the greater the product

Communication is an essential skill in every collaborative team. And I think that every IT guy should at least be able to communicate clearly with other teams to make them understand the limits and the possibilities of their work.

This one applies to backend developers and UX designers. Backend developers must be part of the UX process journey.

They can help UX designers understand what's happening behind the scenes, such as why it takes time to retrieve data, why errors appear, when and how the user should be notified, and when instead fixes can be done without the user knowing.

Be a UX advocate

Being a UX advocate starts with the process of understanding what UX is, its importance, and what UX designers are doing really.

Why advocate for them?

Right everyone has an impact on UX.

Every business decision and every technical decision has an impact on UX. And sometimes many businesses are not aware of that. The culture of user-centered products has many, many advantages as :

  • Increased productivity

  • Increased sales and revenues

  • Decreased training and support costs

  • Reduced development time and costs

  • Reduced maintenance costs

  • Increased customer satisfaction

There are no debates: For a product to succeed today, it must be User-Centered.

To start learning about UX, I will recommend some blogs such as UX for developers and medium publications like (UXPlanet)[]

You can also read the book that made me aware of UX, and its importance in business; UX for Developers: How to Integrate User-Centered Design Principles Into Your Day-to-Day Development Work. If you have never gotten in touch with the concept of UX, it's an excellent way to start.


Here we are at the end of this article.
If you are a backend developer, I hope that I have convinced you enough about your importance in the UX process.

I know this is a big ask to be a UX advocate, and it's sometimes a question of time.

But the product you are working on must succeed. If your business hasn't reached UX maturity, you will only ever get to make minor design improvements rather than transform the experience.

Top comments (1)

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

I agree that backend developers should at least try to learn some basic design. Currently working on a project at work and its clear that the frontend was an after thought created by backend developers 😂