When it comes to thought process and idea execution designers and developers are polar opposites. Both supplement each other well, but, as with most things in life, there can be issues with collaboration and communication between both parties. Sometimes ignorant assumptions govern attitudes, which in the end hurts the end product and the user. I believe that designers and developers should work together more often, because if they don’t, it will cause unnecessary problems.
Communicate with each other
Lack of healthy communication between designers and developers is not going to lead to a positive outcome. For one it will involve a lot of guessing games. Both might make assumptions of what the other meant and sometimes important information might not be even disclosed. This can lead to people being forced to make poor decisions. Additionally, it will create a divide between both, which can lead to an overall unhealthy work environment. If one or both are frustrated at each other about something that they do not talk about, what good does that do for them and the product they are working on? Finally, there might be a lot of confusion about the progress of the project. Once that happens it can be assumed that the designer and developer are working autonomously from one another which again not only hinders the progress of the project, but also wastes a lot of time. Therefore, good communication between designers and developers is essential, as it eliminates guessing games, frustration and saves time.
Eliminate assumptions and bias
Sometimes when people of different disciplines work together they might not understand each other’s input value and I think with designers and developers it is similar. There are plenty of images and articles online that highlight the differences between designers and developers making it seem that both mediums are the same – they are obviously not. This might lead to both forming prejudices about each other such as designers thinking that developers are lazy and careless whereas developers assume that designers are nitpicky pixel pushers. Both assumptions are wrong, because both disciplines come with challenges that are unique. Designers and developers solve problems, exercise critical thinking and use logic, but do it in different ways, but for the same purpose – the project and the user. As mentioned at the beginning, design and development supplement each other; therefore, ignorant assumptions should be left aside.
User and the product comes first
The most damage that poor designer and developer collaboration can cause is to the end product. In such cases the end result looks different from the intended look, neither parties are interested in communicating with one another and the user has to deal with a poorly created product. Essentially, personal inability to speak up hinders the user experience which designers and developers are equally responsible for.
Overall designers and developers need to understand that working together brings a lot benefits to themselves and the project they are working on. Communication is the basis of a successful outcome, which also clears any wrong or ignorant assumptions about the other as well as provides clear understanding of the project status. Additionally, it might remind everyone that in the end the user and their experience is what matters most.
- Therefore, talk to each other more. If that means explaining seemingly simple concepts – do so, if it means asking about things that you should know – do so, if you have suggestions – express them. Do not sit within the constraints of your official job title and remember that people are people.
- Additionally, hold back on assumptions. Try to understand the other discipline. If you are a designer – try to do some coding, learn more about development. And developers – basic design is simple to comprehend. Understanding colour and placement of objects is not rocket science. Neither one should use the excuse “I don’t understand anything about design/development”, because it just doesn’t help.
- Finally, think about the user. You have to remember that you do not develop or design for your own pleasure and while your opinion matters it should never contradict the needs of the user and the goal of the project. Be mindful of the impact you can make with a product that is not up to standards. And if you need to empathise with the user – think of the last time you got frustrated because you had the displeasure of using a low quality web service.