Oakland, California

Don’t think like a database

This is something I have to keep reminding myself when it comes to design: don't think like a database.

If the data or the back-end requires you to do something, it doesn't mean that's how users should think about a problem. It's a common mistake in UI design: revealing the database in a form or the navigation. But complexity on the back-end doesn't mean you should show that complexity on the front-end.

My team at Sentry just released a ton of updates which I'll write about this month and our goal with the design was to ignore that complexity entirely and focus on what the user needs to accomplish. It's hard doing that though because first you have to understand the back-end. Then you have to unlearn it.

Designers must hide the enormously complex machine that's spinning away on servers somewhere out there. And I'm still not good at it, I make a ton of mistakes all the time, but I think it's an important note to remember next time.

When it comes to design: forget the database, pretend it isn’t there.

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