Developers are from Mars; designers are from Venus. Or vice versa. No matter how you out it, these two vital experts in the development team often conflict with each other.
From essential app features to the app design cost estimation, a designer and developer can have different perspectives and views. The outcome of their poor communication and misalignment of project goals can cause critical delays and inconsistencies.
Harmonizing the work of these two experts in the team is, however, critical for the project’s success. So, here we share the tips and tricks for ensuring smooth and productive designer-developer collaboration. Stay tuned!
Consequences of the Designer-Developer Conflict
Internal conflict has never done anything good to any project. Long-standing tension between designers and developers can result in:
- Time waste
- Wrong development time estimation
- Need for replanning and project adjustments on the go
- Poor UX and user frustration
- A lack of trust within the team
All these outcomes of poor communication and mismatch in developer-designer goals are detrimental to the project. They can ultimately result in the project’s failure or a severely flawed end product. So, to address the problem, you first need to identify the challenge your team currently faces.
As soon as you notice systematic problems in your app development team, you need to take a deeper look into their root causes. The most common issues team experience in the process of work include:
- Communication issues (linear, non-reciprocal communication)
- Lack of collaboration and team member input at the stage of planning
- Wrong perceptions of the UX design phase
- Misunderstanding of design concepts leading to their wrong implementation
- Haste at the final product development stages
Tips and Solutions
Now we know the problems causing developer-designer misfit. Let’s proceed to the tactics of minimizing the friction.
The most troubling problem in the project work is the wrong arrangement of documentation and tasks among the teams. It can be resolved by considering a developer as an end-user of the designer’s output. A typical designer focuses on the end-user’s pain points and needs and what are the developer’s ones?
To develop a workable data exchange model, you need to answer the following questions:
- How do developers receive design documentation? Is this format digestible for them? Does it fit the software they use?
- Through what channels are data delivered? Are they efficient?
- Is the regularity of data supply suitable for the development team?
Bringing UX Design Closer to Developers
The problem with the designer-developer fit often arises from the misinterpretation of the UX designer’s role in the team. Coders often think of design as creating appealing wireframes and mockups, which is only a minor part of the task.
In reality, UX designers do extensive work. They make apps usable and appealing without overloading them with features and visual elements. Thus, a developer should be knowledgeable about design practices to be able to transform them into workable code. To achieve this goal, you can:
- Invite coders to the creative meetings where designers do sketching and wireframing. They understand will the underlying logic of these decisions.
- Explain UI patterns and best UX practices that use mental processes and reasoning behind design choices.
- Welcome developers to participate in the usability tests to see how their products are used in practice.
This issue is very team-specific. Some developers are loners preferring online communication. Others want a designer sitting at their desk and explaining everything face-to-face. In any way, your task is to find out the most effective communication model for designers and developers in your team. It will harmonize their exchange of feedback in a way that suits everyone.
When it comes to design and development outsourcing, things may get even more complicated. Some clients tend to end the design phase first and then proceed to the app’s development, which is deeply wrong. If you organize work this way, you may end up with severe design errors or the wrong implementation of designs.
Thus, it’s vital to organize regular communication between the design and dev teams at all stages of project work. You need to schedule weekly meetings to discuss ready features and continuous refinement of the project in line with the design concept. Besides, designers and developers should have extra channels for on-the-fly communication and clarifications in real-time.
A tendency to shift accountability for errors or costly revisions from one part to another one is not conducive to effective collaboration. Thus, as soon as the development process stagnates or some feature turns out to be redundant, designers and developers blame each other (in the worst scenario).
Your task is to establish a culture of team accountability. Both coders and designers should share their responsibility for project flaws. The team should collaborate at every step of the project’s progression, focusing on the best outcome for the end-user instead of in-team conflict.
The spirit of collaboration can be instilled in many ways:
- Welcoming developers to the design platform for feedback and questions
- Explaining the design system and approach to coders
- Practicing a design cycle approach that presupposes design refinement based on the coders’ input
- Organizing work on a collaboration platform to keep everybody constantly engaged
- Distinguishing the statuses of “done” and “ready” in the project management approach
- Discussing all innovations in the design approaches with developers to achieve their buy-in first.
A mismatch between design and development often results from a broader misalignment in the design and dev approaches within the team. It may happen that coders simply misinterpret the design specifications and create the wrong code. To avoid such bottlenecks, you need to:
- Adopt a common terminology for developers and coders to eliminate wrong interpretations.
- Choose collaboration tools where programmers can check the provided designs and their details.
- Set a common system of naming conventions and development tools that both coders and designers can use in their work.
- Set up the UI limitations within which the designer should work on their solutions.
- Prevent clutter in documentation and progress reports.
Once you use our tips and introduce changes in the team processes, you’ll see the difference. Your coders and designers will work in greater harmony and alignment once they know what to expect (and not to expect) from each other. Good luck finding the ideal balance and letting your team head for success.