Mendix, the fastest and easiest platform to create and continuously improve mobile and web applications, today announced the general availability of Atlas UI. Seamlessly integrated into Mendix’s low-code platform, Atlas UI enables developers without front-end development or UI design skills to create beautiful, engaging, and highly usable user interfaces. With Atlas, an organization’s UI/UX team can define a standardized design language to promote design best practices across multiple, autonomous development teams.
User experience design is critical to app adoption and successful business outcomes, but many IT organizations lack sufficient resources to deliver great UX across their app portfolios. According to a Gartner survey, “On average there is one UX designer for every 17 developers, with 35 percent of respondents indicating that they have no UX design competency at all.”1 With limited UX resources and the shift towards smaller, autonomous development teams, consistency of user experience can become an even greater challenge.
The Mendix Atlas release aims to close this UX gap by combining a layered, componentized UI framework, designed to capture and leverage UI design patterns and best practices, with a new what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) Web-based modeling tool. This combination allows developers without UI design skills to quickly assemble and deliver great user interfaces leveraging ready-to-use UI elements that incorporate design best practices. UIs are constructed through a combination of navigation layouts, page templates, building blocks (preconfigured assemblies of UI components) and widgets. Atlas templates and building blocks not only accelerate UI creation; they assemble widgets in pre-configured layouts with optimal proportions, spacing and individual design properties. The resulting app’s visual style automatically reflects a selected visual theme—either one provided by Mendix or a custom theme created with the new Theme Customizer. This collection of design elements is ready to use in responsive layouts, ensuring that Atlas-based UIs transition gracefully across device form factors.
“In the past, Digital Risk has used basic wireframing tools to illustrate and communicate thoughts on screen design and workflow,” said Jeff Ward, Director of IT, Solution Delivery at Digital Risk, LLC. “Atlas allows us to eliminate that unnecessary step and quickly create polished, engaging UI designs that become the front-ends of productions apps. Using the extensive library of page templates, building blocks, and widgets, we can deliver rich, responsive applications in a fraction of the time compared to traditional frameworks and approaches.”
Promote Greater Consistency and Reuse by Defining Your Own Design Language
Atlas comes with a collection of design elements that are professionally designed to adhere to best practices. In addition, Atlas enables in-house UI/UX resources to define a standardized design language for developers to leverage within their apps, ensuring that all apps conform to the organization’s own design principles. Leveraging a foundation based on open standards and open source, such as CSS3, Sass and Bootstrap, designers can build a design language that includes the organization’s theme and styling as well as a customized set of page templates, building blocks, and widgets. All design elements can be packaged as enterprise design language modules and distributed via a private App Store, ensuring that the organization’s UI and design best practices are automatically employed across all Mendix development teams.
Drive Great App Design from an Initial Idea to Production
Ensuring that new solutions drive the intended business outcomes requires an iterative approach that converges on an implementation that addresses users’ needs while remaining aligned with business goals. With Atlas, Mendix supports this journey from beginning to end. The Mendix Web Modeler enables developers—and even power users—to rapidly materialize their app ideas using Atlas design elements and quickly get working apps into users’ hands. An integrated Toolbox enables easy discovery and drag-and-drop consumption of reusable building blocks and widgets. In addition, the Web Modeler bi-directionally syncs with the Desktop Modeler, enabling developers to enhance prototypes with more complex logic and integrations, turning them into production applications.
“Atlas UI and Web Modeler open up new opportunities in how we engage our clients, and how, in turn, they engage their peers,” said Nolan Ramsey, Director of RAD Solutions at EPI-USE America Inc. “Early in the project, we can quickly create the basic structure and layout of an application, and then sit with the client to review and modify UI elements, workflow, and logic in real-time based on their feedback. Mendix’s existing toolset already afforded us the ability to create robust apps in a fraction of the time; this new toolset allows us to absorb more risk into the project scope and timeline because it hastens the feedback loop even further.”
“Usability is more important than ever to ensuring custom applications deliver their intended business value,” said Johan den Haan, CTO, Mendix. “While an iterative, user-centric approach to app design and development has been built into the Mendix platform from the very beginning, Atlas UI takes these concepts to the next level. For enterprises adopting low-code platforms, Mendix uniquely enables a broad range of users to create beautiful, highly usable apps at speed and scale.”