Best Practices for Collaboration Between Designers and Developers
Posted by: Lizzie Healy
The design process it absolutely critical to building an application that is both beautiful and functional. These designs serve as a guide for developers, a brand and face for a company, and ensure a clean experience for users. With this all important task, its crucial to remember that no designer is an island. Creating the best designs requires another essential element: collaboration. Poor synergy between designers and development can leads to stress and tension for developers, designers, clients, project managers, and the rest of your team.
Obsessive Compulsive Design
Organization is absolutely irreplaceable. No matter how amazing designs are, if they are disorganized, they are not useful. Designers- make life easy for your developers by creating the cleanest, most well organized files possible. When labeling layers, include a title, breakdown, and a name that makes sense (to both designers and developers.) Sketch provides the option to annotate your documents, so take advantage of this! Properly labeling requires less clarification later on. Developers- don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you don't understand those labels! There's nothing worse than spending hours coding only to realize you've have been working off of an old mock. No matter what assets are being provided, they need to be on time, detailed, and complete.
Can you hear me now?
Clear communication is the simplest way to ensure that designers and developers are collaborating well. Designers and developers should be encouraged to communicate regularly to gain a better understanding about the status and elements within a project. Benefits go beyond just clear understanding. The extra input leads to more innovative and functional designs for the end user. Every designer has had the experience of staring at a design for a week straight and not noticing a typo, only to be immediately spotted from a fresh set of eyes. Been there, dseigned that.
Meet and Greet
Don't just meet a little, meet a lot. Meet to review the wireframes before designs begin to get made. Meet before a designer presents mock ups to a client to make sure they are realistic for development. From kickoff to presentation, someone from development should join in all design meetings with clients. The extra time spent is essential in preventing miscommunications and misunderstandings that lead to the dreaded response from clients that the finished product doesn't look like the mock ups.
Como Se Dice...Language
Use language that is constructive, descriptive, and detailed. People typically don't see things the same way based on their tastes, preferences, or past experiences. Avoid words like "trendy" or "chic", and instead opt for clearer terminology that describes more literally what you are looking for. Don't leave room for misinterpretation. Designers should have a firm understanding of the lingo used for development as well.
It's important that both designers and developers approach the project with respect everyone's opinion. Designers, put yourself in the developer's shoes and think how a developer would and vice versa. Be open minded and consider all ideas, even if they aren't yours. Both designers and developers are experts in their field, but that doesn't necessarily make them the authority with the final say. Sometimes a tie breaker vote from an outside party may be in order, but as long as the situation is handled respectfully a lot of problems can be avoided.