Teaching reflections #10: The same material must be re-discovered across disciplines

If I had to describe my T-shaped skills, I’d say my depth is in HTML/CSS and user interface design. Across the top, you’d find planning websites and UX, teaching skills, instructional design skills, marketing, and general technology skills – the ability to look at new software, figure it out, and apply it to a problem.

As I move into the no-code world, I’m watching a new group of people relearn the issues we already learned and understand well in the professional website world, the marketing world, and in the world of UX.

Today I watched someone define a target audience as “non-developers.”

Cool. We’ve left out the 0.3% of the population who are coders. That leaves 99.7% of the world left as a target audience. This is too broad.

Defining and targeting an audience for products is something already well-known to the world of marketing and user experience. However, the no-code world doesn’t know this work exists and has no idea how to apply it to what they do.

We see this in the coding world. People complain about how tired they are about coding solutions to their problems, maintaining those solutions, and so forth.

However, if you mention “no-code” to the coding world, they have no idea what you mean. They may also dismiss this out of hand as too trivial for their attention.

For those who are looking at new emerging sectors, see if you can identify what that sector currently struggles with knowing and mastering.

The no-code space current worries with user experience, marketing concepts, and project management. “Agile methodology for no-code” is a no-brainer for this space. No-coders need to know project management, but everything is currently framed with coding in mind.

User experience is framed with code in mind too, even though UX is a no-code world! What happens if you plan a product and hand it off to no-coders to implement? Nothing. It’s the same process you’d use for coding. But when you’re not using the language your audience speaks, then it feels like your concepts are inaccessible and unintuitive.

Speaking to your target audience is everything. When knowledge is locked up in the jargon of a specific discipline, it’s not transferable to others.

How can you make your work accessible to adjacent disciplines? How can you codify what you know into a framework that applies to cousins of your areas of interest?

Honestly, the last thing we need are the 24-year olds who discovered no-code during the pandemic to teach people how to build no-code products. They don’t have the background to do it well.

Jen Kramer @jen4web