Conquering the design and development divide
Design and development is one of the great divides, but the answer isn’t as far out of reach as we may think. There are simple things you can start doing immediately to truly be one team, one dream.
While there is no magic wand solution, I want to run through some easy-to-apply behaviours that you can implement today to make hand-off more hands-on.
Involve developers early
As we all know, design doesn’t stop when a pixel-perfect mockup is handed over for development. Key interactions and transitions can’t be communicated via a flat design file. Same as development doesn’t just begin once the design is finalised, it needs to be considered from the early stages to ensure what is being built meets the needs of the user experience.
So don’t wait to hand over finalised designs. Bring developers in the process early, such as initial client talks, wireframes and prototypes. It will also help get a better grasp of coding possibilities and limitations that can help inform and evolve the design.
Share the design and development journey
Keep developers across the design stages, and designers across the development stages. This exposure will help both sides gain a greater understanding of the end goal, how it can be met, and what’s involved. It also allows a chance to validate the designs before they are shared outside the team, meaning less surprises or roadblocks down the track.
An easy way to do this is through team showcases. They don’t have to be too detailed or go for long, just enough to share high level progress so everyone can stay up to date and give feedback along the journey.
Bridging the knowledge gap
Becoming familiar with skills from the other practice can help designers and developers openly discuss the basic concepts and pre-empt issues. It also opens the door to a wider understanding of what accessibility considerations are embedded in both stages.
This could be as simple as a designer becoming familiar with code to learn how design elements translate. It also helps when designing new components or layouts, to understand what information a developer may need to build the final product. It could also be a developer learning more about design theory or user experience to understand the designer's decisions and user needs when building the interface.
Dedicated and detailed hand-offs
Put time aside to take developers through the detailed design decisions and supporting research to avoid gaps and elements being missed. Talk through everything, ensuring even the smallest interaction details are covered. Also ensure design files are organised and clearly labeled to clarify details and avoid mistakes. If questions arise during the build process, reach out and work through them together.
Let’s break down the walls of working in silos and truly be one team, one dream!
Want to chat or ask us a question? Reach out via email firstname.lastname@example.org