Escape the Office: Designing Interfaces for Other Developers

By on May 4, 2018 6:12 am

At the recent TSConf, SitePen engineer Sarah Higley delivered a talk titled Escape the Office: Designing Interfaces for Other Developers.

The moment you step into any large project or open source venture you must accept that code you write gets used in ways you did not originally intend. Part of creating any good codebase is figuring out how to design it to be both flexible and robust in the face of the unknown. Typescript adds a powerful tool to hint, nudge, and sometimes force others to interact with your code in specific ways, but there is nothing inherent in the language itself to specify how best to do that.

This talk uses Dojo 2 widgets as a lens to look at various ways we used Typescript to push developers towards best practices. TypeScript interfaces that define UI widgets are especially relevant in areas such as accessibility and internationalization that can be crucial to users but often get overlooked. When creating interfaces for public consumption, we can design paths of least resistance such that even the most coffee-deprived developer can create something accessible and translatable.

illustration of Caveman Coder with the text: You brought in a contractor who smashed your code until it worked and then he committed it to master
illustration of the Blunderer with text: The build broke... again! Some people know just enough to be dangerous
illustration of Brain Drain with the text: the only person who understands how your legacy app works just left for a hot new startup

Take a journey through an office full of all the developers you never hoped to work with, but will encounter nonetheless: the caveman coder, a contractor here to smash your code until it “works”; the blunderer, a dev who always knows just enough to break your builds; the horde of interns, hired last week to “help”; and finally the brain drain: the only one who understands your legacy app code, but is leaving to become a tech nomad in Thailand. If you can escape this office with code unscathed, the real world will be a breeze.

Watch the complete video from Sarah’s session to learn more:

Next steps

Creating an accessible web app requires both the willingness to commit to that goal and an investment in knowledge and training – not just for developers, but also for designers, content writers, testers, PMs, and anyone involved in creating the product.

At SitePen, we help our customers build impressive user experiences and applications for all users. If you need help building an accessible application, or need help improving the accessibility of an existing application, or defining APIs that better support accessibility, we’re here to help! Contact us for a complimentary initial consultation to discuss your options!