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Easy App Organization Tips for New Builders

EstherLaVielle's avatar
Quickbase Staff
2 years ago

One of my joys as a Customer Success Manager is to connect with new builders to make sure they have all the resources and support at the beginning of their app-building journey. The top comment shared with me is that they can build an app but it isn’t pretty. Their first app is usually a “Franken-app.” It’s alive and can do what is required, but it looks a little wonky stitched together. Let’s change this! As app builders, we are also part designers. The way the app looks and feels affects the end-user experience. UI/UX designers live by this rule: Aesthetics + Function = Higher Adoption.


Meet the Marie Kondo of Quickbase

In my quest to find app beautifying tips, I got to meet Laura Linssen from J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. After reading her blog feature and hearing about her Empower presentations, I had to ask her for ways new builders can create apps with the perfect balance between function and aesthetics. Is it even possible? If yes, where do they start?  My interview with Laura offers many gems of inspiration for builders old and new. Laura describes her app aesthetic as “functional organization in color” which she defines as organizing things together and using colors to tell a story. You can add color to conversation threads, add color variations to group separate workflows, tabs, sections, and so much more.


If you don’t have enough time to watch the video above, here are instant tips and tricks from Laura that you can implement right away to make an impact on the look and feel of your app.


  1. Always plan and build your apps with the end-user in mind. Get them involved in the planning process so they can proudly own the app and help train others on how to use it. You may end up spending closer to 50% of your time in the planning stage, but the investment in upfront planning will save you time in the long run.


  1. Accent the functionality of your app with color. Apply color to buttons, sections, tabs, important data, and formula functions to highlight what users should be drawn to. Be obvious with what users want to see.


  1. Check out what color palettes are trending and have fun! Don’t be afraid to use color combinations that are different from your company’s branding guide – especially for internal apps. There are many inspirational color variation sites to choose from like Canva, Adobe Color, and Design Bombs. Google 2023’s color of the year (it’s Viva Magenta) and see if you want to use it in your app. There are tons of color articles to read, and you can also use the hashtag #colortheory to search on social media to stay in tune with what’s hot. Many color generator sites are free and offer expert tips on color theory and psychology.


  1. Skip tables on dashboard-driven apps. Let’s be honest - tables are mostly clutter on a screen and aren’t generally useful to everyone accessing the dashboard. For cleaner lines and clutter reduction, you can link your tables to the dashboard for users who want to drill into the data.


  1. Use tabs, section headings, buttons, and formula functions to keep it organized. Formula functions can help show or hide what users need to see while keeping clean lines on forms or dashboards. Adding color-coded tabs and section headings to forms is a game-changer!


  1. Don’t be afraid of white space! Our eyes need a break from walls of data. Use empty space and formulas to organize your dashboards, forms, and reports.


For more color and functional app organization tips, be sure to watch the full interview above. A huge thank you to Laura Linssen for taking the time to talk with me and share her app beautifying tricks with the Quickbase world. If you have any questions or comments for me or Laura, feel free to comment below and we’ll be happy to follow up.

Published 2 years ago
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