When you’re an independent developer you are by default a full stack engineer; whether you want to be or not. Although my day job is in a full-time innovation team, I also build solutions in my spare time — apps, websites, Alexa Skills and more.
My time (and everyone else’s) is limited, so it’s really important to consider how much time to spend on each layer, frontend and backend. These considerations will have an impact on my actual architectural and design decisions.
I always start with what’s important to users.
What’s important to users
When I build an app or website (or whatever), I always begin by writing up a list of what I think is important. It probably should go without saying — the number one item is:
What I’m building actually needs to do something that the user wants or needs
Essentially, I’m making desirability paramount. If no one needs it, no one will download it. Build it and they won’t come.
Clichéd at this stage but still maximizing business value
You can validate that desirability via early and iterative user feedback, and your idea should be both viable (makes financial sense) and feasible (it’s actually possible).
Once those three are out of the way, the rest of the list looks like:
What the users care about
Obviously I’m being a little glib. What users care about can include a few things they may not realise they want, but that they probably would if they thought about it a bit.
Users want a great experience. That means they want:
An easy to use frontend
A performant frontend
A beautiful frontend
Security and privacy
A frontend that’s correct / got up-to-date information
Here’s what users don’t really care about: