Why No-Code?

Don't reinvent the wheel. Someone, somewhere has probably already solved your problem.

What is No-Code?

No-code refers to a collection of apps which allow you to develop digital services without writing code. Instead, it is assembled from drag and drop building blocks.

It’s a bit like flat-pack furniture from IKEA. Sometimes you might commission a craftsman to build bespoke furniture. More often, IKEA does the job, more quickly and while still looking pretty neat.

How we use No-Code

Our core no-code tools are Webflow, Integromat and Airtable. These are crafting tools: they allow us to create better user experiences and waste less time on system configuration.

Beyond our core tools, there is an ecosystem of thousands of tools solving hundreds of service design challenges. We don’t know them all. Instead, we have a process to rapidly explore the problem space and evaluate solutions.

Our No-Code Evaluation Process

No-Code facilitates ultra rapid prototyping. These prototypes allow us to better understand both problem and the possible solutions. We whittle down these prototypes by repeated iterations - and then we go deep, bringing a designers’ sensibility to the final version.
Explore requirements
1. Longlist
Find a dozen no-code systems
2. Score
Review and score systems
3. Prototype
Put dummy data into 2 systems
4. Evaluate
Collect thoughts and discuss
See how it works in the real world
Repeat every fortnight until tool:problem fit

Examples of No-Code Projects

Tools used
Google Docs
Tools used
Tools used
Google Sheets

No-Code vs Custom Code

Many people are initially attracted to no-code because it is faster and cheaper, but the benefits run deeper than that. Here’s how we see the custom code v no-code decision stacking up.


Custom Code

Cost 💰

Mostly available for the amount ‘an office worker could put on their company credit card’.
Custom code
Anything from thousands to hundreds of thousands of pounds. A good developer costs £700+ per day.

Speed 🏃

Days or weeks to launch
Custom code
Months or years to launch

Maintainability 🔧

Software improves over time. You’ve got a crack team of developers totally focused on making it better and better.
Custom code
Software rusts as dependencies degrade and new use cases are poorly accommodated. Tech debt accumulates.

Prototyping 🧪

Quickly build a trial system and get a great sense of how users would interact with the proposed solution.
Custom code
Spend weeks building a limited prototype that often can't be properly tested as it contains show-stopping bugs.

knowledge 🤓

The development team have fixed hundreds of similar problems before you even try their software.
Custom code
The development team encounters problems afresh and devises solutions from scratch.

Dependent on
small team 👥

Custom code
A community grows up around no-code tools, meaning you’ve got identifiable experts to hire.
Customising bespoke systems costs money. In practice, switching teams is so hard that you are locked into the original developers.

Familiar UX 🧭

No-code platforms have the resources and talent to do the UX well.
Custom code
Expensive to maintain UX consistency as the project develops. UX becomes kludgy over time.


Documentation is key to no-code projects success. (Some of Webflow’s instruction videos are minor works of art!)
Custom code
An afterthought: either non-existent or out of date.

SIDE clients loving No-Code

“SIDE Labs have helped us do work that's been in the pipeline for years in a matter of weeks.”

“With a mix of Webflow, Airtable, Revue and Zapier, no-code has delivered a transformtion in the way we operate over the last 24 months.”

Carolina Albuerne
Good Practice and Partnerships Manager at Refugee Action

"We are happy with our choice to work with SIDE Labs and the “no-code” approach. It’s bearing fruit already for the network clients and volunteers."

Scotland's Citizen Advice Helpline: Demo Day Presentation

At the beginning of 2022, our co-founder Andy was invited to present a demo for our no-code solution for improving Scotland's Citizens Advice National Helpline.The presentation was part of an annual demo day hosted by CivTech – a Scottish government-funded accelerator programme.

The challenge we were given: How can we create the most local and best possible user experience for people engaging with the Citizens Advice Scotland network? Our solution, harnessing the power of voice AI, helped reduce the time for clients to speak with an advisor from 24 hours down to just three minutes. You can hear more about how we achieved this with no-code in the video below
No-code website builder
Open Doodles