Did you know that the term “Drag and Drop” was originally called “Click and Drag?” Click and Drag is said to be an invention of human-computer interface expert, Jef Raskin, best known for starting the Macintosh project at Apple in the ‘70s.
Drag and drop—as it’s known today—was introduced in 1984 by Raskin. We’ve all dragged items from the desktop into the trash. Yep, we’ve been dragging and dropping for a long long time.
Nowadays, when we think of drag and drop, we think “editor” or “software.” For example, you might use drag and drop to create your new website, complex automations in Iterable, social media graphics, beautiful emails in Dyspatch, and more!
But why has drag and drop become so prolific in everyday technology? What benefits can it provide? Let’s take a look at the top five reasons drag and drop editors are beneficial to marketers!
1. Drag and Drop Means No Code
To me, software developers are magicians who create complex tools—or games—by writing lines of code. Drag and drop editors like those available in Iterable and Dyspatch take those lines of code and break them down into digestible modules. The code is still there—code that has been written to enable people like myself to build beautiful, engaging, and highly converting marketing campaigns—but it’s packaged in an easily movable and manipulatable block of content.
Without drag and drop editors, we’d be designing and creating everything from scratch, using code—no easy feat. In fact, prior to drag and drop editors, marketers would either need to have a decent understanding of code themselves, or they would often need to hire developers to join the marketing team. Drag and drop editors have not only removed the developer bottleneck from marketing operations, but it has also freed up developers to work on more inspiring projects (which usually doesn’t involve coding emails!)
2. Instant Feedback With Visual Editing
When I say that drag and drop editors are ‘no code,’ what we’re silently also saying is that they are all visual.
Code looks like an alien language to most of us—it doesn’t look or function in any way like the program you’re creating, which means, until you test the whole program, there’s no immediate feedback.
Getting immediate feedback by seeing your product as you build it can help mitigate your chances of making a mistake. Rather than sifting through 10,000 lines of code to find the one missing bracket that’s breaking your entire project, you can see if it works or not as you piece it together.
3. It’s Simple, Yet Sophisticated
If your five-year-old kid knows how to open a garbage can, throw away their trash, and then close the garbage can again, then they know how to operate drag and drop.
When Jef Raskin developed the concept of drag and drop, he was very deliberate in his effort to digitally emulate the way humans interact with objects in the real world. Dropping items in the trash can on your Macbook, and dropping items in the trash can in your kitchen are very similar… you hold, drag to where you want it to go, and drop.
Rather than teaching the entire marketing workforce to write code, developers had the bright idea to enable us to do some of what they do by writing the code for us. And they did it in a way that anybody could understand. No fancy engineering degree required.
In a world where everything seems complicated, intuitive drag and drop makes sophisticated work so simple.
4. Resources Saved are Astronomical
Earlier, I discussed how drag and drop editors allow marketers to essentially be software developers without having to learn to code. What I didn’t talk about is how much time it takes to actually write code, test it, deploy it, make changes, merge those changes, test again, and so on and so forth.
I work at Dyspatch, where our platform allows you to build beautiful email templates using a drag and drop block editor. We put together a little email ROI calculator that measures the amount of time you’d save by building your emails in Dyspatch compared to coding them from scratch. Based on that calculator, if you created two email templates per month from scratch, and sent four emails using those templates it would take approximately 80 hours of developer time to design, create, and test those emails and templates.
In comparison, if you built it all in Dyspatch’s drag and drop editor, it would take eight hours of a marketer’s time to do the same. A savings of 72 developer hours per month—more than a work week!
Aside from saving well over $2,000 a month on developer labor, you’re also freeing up your developers’ time to work on things that a marketer can not.
And we’re just talking about emails! Imagine executing the tasks that Iterable does across channels, testing, and more, but by writing code instead. You’d need dozens of full-time developers to run your marketing system—and very deep pockets.
5. Drag and Drop Platforms Want to Deliver You Value
Consider this: every drag and drop editor out there is a part of a—if not an entire—business.
What this means for you, the end user: platforms like Iterable and Dyspatch are trying to provide a service that makes your life easier.
Modern drag and drop editors are chock full of features that exist to ensure you have to do the bare minimum to get maximum return. We need to stay sharp, stay competitive, and keep delivering everything you need to get the most out of your marketing—or we might lose you!
Rest assured, we’re working extra hard so that you don’t have to.
More Than a Buzzword
Drag and drop is more than a buzzword. It’s a powerful, UX-enhancing tool that saves you time, effort, and money, and makes your work easier. Thousands, maybe millions of lines of code were written for every drag and drop platform we use. All so that we can drag and drop our way to the marketing promiseland!