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How To Develop A Better UI For A Rails App?

Nisha Gopinath Menon
December 29, 2019

The internet houses all the answers we seek. This celebrated medium is dense and sometimes, chaotic. Nevertheless, I’ve always found the answers I sought. The credit belongs to usability and familiarity. As you hover over your keyboard, all set to type, your fingers will do the work without any need for your eyes to leave the screen. All it takes is a blue, underlined word or phrase for you to recognize a hyperlink. We are regular visitors on the web, so our senses are familiarized with the standard visual cues and patterns, allowing us to navigate huge volumes of data in seconds seamlessly. If you want to be found amongst this maze and more importantly, transform into an everyday habit of your users, a well developed User Interface is crucial. Then again, you understand this. Hence, your presence on our page today.

How does UI influence my users?

Think of your web application as a home to your users. Your User Interface (UI) is a lot like the base and wiring. In other words, UI is the visual, functional structure helping your users interact with your devices. All the design elements which are fixed, like footers and header, fall under UI. They hold the roof up and the lights on through the night. On the other hand, your User Experience (UX) is the interior decorating and landscaping. UI was concerned about constructing a sturdy, functional house, while UX is all about how much of a home this house can transform into. It uses aesthetics to control how your users feel about being there. Both UI and UX make a huge impact on whether people enjoy using the site or not.

Front-end friendly Rails

Ruby on Rails is a compelling framework to develop web applications and provides MVC (model-view-controller) approach to web development. Your front-end development will take care of the 'View' part of MVC. By character, MVC aims for separation between those components, so your front-end developer could design the views without knowing much about how the controllers and models are implemented. However, they need to know how Rails works, how its project structure looks like, and some Ruby.

For a front-end friendly Rails, React will prove to be a great fit in your toolbox.  See, React is perfect for building front-end applications, and Rails is excellent for the backend. If your project needs a backend which boasts of a well-documented reliable database along with a history of steady growth and stability, Rails is your answer. Rails and React both work very well together.

How to develop a better UI?

  • You’ll find it easier with certain applications to build them in Rails first, without Javascript, and then enhance the behavior with Javascript afterward. With any of the basic Javascript MVC frameworks, this will usually require some massive refactoring of your Rails controllers & views. Even so, you’ll find it much easier to build an app without any rich interaction at all, initially. This allows your developers to focus on making core parts of the app stable and fast: the data model, data loading and pertinent to this topic, getting a decent UI in place.
  • Change your Rails application to embrace frontend-generated UUIDs. This switch will allow your frontend to be free from the backend, regarding consulting. It allows your developers to write certain advanced backend communication techniques in a far easier way than with sequential IDs.
  • Put good thought into the format of your API responses. It’ll ensure your API is easier to use, for your front-end and third parties, additionally extendability. JSON API is an excellent standard of responses, so you do not need to reinvent the wheel.
  • Create a living API, beyond request-response cycle. It’ll help make your front-end even more interactive, by bringing about live updates so you can see what other users are editing in your application in real-time.
  • Most teams often overlook the challenges that come with taking their front-end to a higher level, of separating their front-end entirely from Rails. Make sure to set up the Cross-Origin Resource Sharing in this case.
  • Allow room for multiple revisions. You could start off by prototyping using a graphics editor. And then work it into markup and use a framework mainly for the grid layout.
  • Research. Try looking up great web designs and spot the things you like about them, their subtleness, color scheme, and typography. Learn and apply.
 Prioritize and choose the most suitable approach. In today’s world of instant gratification, the most successful applications are those who respond fast and efficiently. Design and software are heavily based on user experience because it has become all about the consumer. Even if they are simply browsing, it is up to you and your UI/UX designers to navigate them through your site in the most efficient way possible so they can get the product or service they need.
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Nisha Gopinath Menon