Effective collaboration and communication between designers and developers are crucial for successful UI design projects. By involving developers early, using design systems, and leveraging collaborative tools, teams can bridge gaps, reduce misunderstandings, and create well-designed, well-functioning designs.
“It is the long history of humankind that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed" - Charles Darwin
Building a successful UI requires the collaboration of many different skill sets. And the relationship between the designer and developer is one of the most crucial partnerships in a design process. A good designer-developer rapport can make all the difference in creating an implementable UI design. While the designer brings creative vision and design expertise, the developer gives the technical know-how to implement those designs.
Together, designers and developers work towards creating a UI design that is not only visually stunning but also easy to use and technically sound. In this article, we explore the designer-developer challenges in executing a project and the solutions to eliminate stalemate.
Designer-developer challenges in implementing a UI design
Realizing an implementable UI design is a complex and challenging process that requires close collaboration between designers and developers. Even a small change in the design can have a significant impact on the codebase and development timeline. When a design is enhanced to improve the user experience or aesthetics, it affects the overall development process. Here are some of the common designer-developer challenges.
Lack of a common language
The use of technical jargon used by developers makes it difficult for designers to understand them fully and vice versa. This incompatibility may significantly reflect in product development. To overcome this challenge, designers and developers must “build in teams”. Developers can present their work to the designers in a phased manner and receive timely feedback. This can significantly reduce the amount of rework.
The role of a UI UX design agency is to push beyond the boundaries to realize customer requirements. There could be instances where the design proposed by the design team to meet client requirements is found impracticable by developers. A possible way out of this situation is to make developers a part of the client discussion regarding the product design. This can help them foresee any non-implementable design and voice the difficulty early on.
Developers are outside the decision-making loop
Usually, in an agile methodology in project management, client feedback is received when the design is in progress. Only after receiving the client approval and finalizing the design does the communication with developers begin. This lack of transparency creates challenges as the design may be found non-feasible by the developers or the decided timeline may not be executable.
Keeping developers in the loop during design discussions with clients enables them to highlight the technical constraints if any and suggest possible changes promptly.
How does the design and development team work in tandem at Aufait UX?
In our initial years, there was a project where we had to create a web application for a client. The design team came up with a great design by following the design process and having multiple iterations as per client feedback. The finalized design was then handed over to the development team to code who promptly worked on the project as there was a strict timeline to follow.
However, a few weeks into the project, the client requested several changes to the design. The changes were significant and to implement them the development team had to rework much of the code they had already written.
To implement the changes quickly to keep up with the client’s evolving needs, the design team made changes without the concurrence of the development team. This gave a tough time for the development team and the developers felt that their time and effort were wasted as they had to rewrite much of the code. This created friction between the developers and the designers, with each side blaming the other for the issues they were experiencing.
We understood that similar situations might arise in the future too and devised an approach to address it, which has helped our front end development services evolve significantly.
- We rolled out a clear process for managing design changes.
- A change management plan was created to ensure that there is a review process with the development team before implementation.
What was the result?
- The development team was able to provide feedback on the feasibility of the design changes and suggest alternative solutions that can be implemented efficiently.
- The designers became aware of the technical constraints and considerations that needed to be taken into account while making design changes.
- The developers felt more involved in the design process and they were always armed for any changes that came their way.
- The designers felt supported as they knew they had a clear process to follow while making design changes.
Our takeaway from this incident was that collaborating and maintaining clear communication when making design changes hits the target.
Fast forward to today, we are leveling up the implementation of design changes with some more approaches which we will share in the following section.
Best practices for creating an implementable UI design
A well-defined planning strategy is a prerequisite for the successful execution of any project. Keeping this in mind, understand the design goals and the crucial role of the design and development team in implementing a UI design that aligns with the client's vision. This helps to collaborate effectively and create an impressive product that delights the users.
Here is a process diagram that breaks down the key steps to create an implementable UI design.
Let developers be involved early on in the design process
UX design processes are iterative. Once the user research is completed, designers start working on the project and will have frequent meetings with stakeholders. Stakeholders give feedback early on and the designers steer the creative direction based on this feedback.
One of the simplest ways to keep designers and developers on the same page is to make developers active participants in such meetings. This enables developers to provide input on the possibilities of the technical performance of a design. It will ensure that there will be fewer objections to the design requirements because they had a role in shaping the design.
Build a game-changing design system
Typically, design systems are a collection of reusable design components that are used to create consistent and cohesive interfaces. It has design guidelines for typography, color, layout, and other design elements. Design systems are considered a centralized source of truth. Both the design and development teams can use it as a reference to enhance the quality of the design and update the design over time.
The scalability of design systems helps to adapt to changing design needs. Thus the design and development team can efficiently collaborate on the design intent and how to implement it. This considerably reduces misunderstandings and inconsistencies, resulting in a smoother design and development process.
Smooth sailing to success with Storybook
Storybook is a user interface development environment in which both designers and developers can work together collaboratively and efficiently. With Storybook, designers can create a library of user interface components that are shareable with developers. In this way, developers can use these components to code for the final product without going through the hassle of design aspects.
Storybook facilitates a shared understanding of the design eliminating miscommunication. It is also easier for the design team to implement the UI design as they have access to the components they need. Ultimately, Storybook helps streamline the design and development process more efficiently for a successful project outcome.
Harmonize design and development to achieve seamless UI
Fostering collaboration and communication is the key to executing projects efficiently and effectively. The job roles of both designer and developer are technical and complex. So, working together is the golden rule to creating well-designed and well-functioning designs. Take the feedback graciously and work on it to bridge the gaps in designs. When the road ahead is common, the design and development team can have an enjoyable journey with team spirit.
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