Being a designer in the tech industry can be a bit of challenge. I’ve had to get some tough skin being in this industry for a number of years. There seems to be a silent war between designers and developers. As designers, we want the end product to look like a work of art, and we don’t really like it when the non-creative types try to come in and muddy up our art with their dirty paws. On the other side, developers see things technically and know how things should work. Sometime’s our art doesn’t translate well to the web.
The web adds all sorts of moving pieces to design. I’ve been guilty of designing things too pixel perfect, which doesn’t work well when you have real-life data populating your design. It’s essential to have good communication with developers so you can catch those mistakes early on. It’s much easier catching something right away then having to rethink an entire design as the team is implementing it.
No Need to Fight
But how exactly does one effectively communicate to the Dev team? It’s all about your process. I like to think at Ashday we have a pretty solid process for integrating design with development. We start off with a kickoff meeting. In this meeting, we talk about what we’re about to build and the goals that we want to achieve with this product. A developer will whiteboard out what functions will be needed and how everything should be organized. From there, I start wireframing out what I think would be a good way to make the information look organized and visually appealing. Ashday uses Balsamiq for it’s wireframing. Balsamiq is a tool that allows you to “sketch” out a design on your computer without a ton of detail. I’ll mockup some ideas in Balsamiq and throw the wireframes back to the developers to make sure I’m not missing anything. More often than not, there will be something they catch that I wouldn’t have on my own. Once we come to a good landing spot on the wireframes, I’ll spend more time doing a full design.
Instead of spending all your time perfecting all the mockups right away, it’s important to continuously touch in with the rest of the team. Constant communication with the development team saves a ton of time and headache in the long run.
Ashday uses Invision in order to help keep up communication throughout the design phase. Invision allows a designer to upload their mockups from Sketch, or any other design tool, and share it with the rest of the team. The rest of the team can comment on areas they have feedback on. It also now has a feature that allows the team to download assets right from the mockup. Invision has other really handy tools worth checking out if you have the time! It’s definitely a lifesaver in the long run.
Working with developers and designers isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out it be. With the right organization, everyone will get along and you’ll make a killer product together!