Better Communication, Better Design: Improve Collaboration Between Designers and Developers

Behind the scenes of every great product is a good foundation using design and technology. A lot of effort from both designer and developer goes into assuring a successful launch of a product, and it’s essential that there is collaboration between the two to make sure that the launch goes as smoothly as possible. This includes excellent communication before, during, and after handoff of the art files from the designer to the developer to minimize any potential problems that would arise during the development process.


The following steps will help your team succeed together, and in turn, build better products.


First, lets focus on the user:

Let’s face it—if you build beautiful product that showcases a plethora of bells and whistles, but yields a confusing user experience then the product is useless. From the get-go designers and developers should share a common goal: improve the user experience. Ideally, your team would allow for user experience testing and product testing before the initial design kick-off. 


Bring Devs in during the design process:

Often times developers will not be clued in to a project until the design files are handed off to them. If the design is impossible to technologically implement, the design work will have to be scrapped and redone by the designer causing project scope creep and frustrated clients. To avoid this, designers and developers need to work together from the beginning.


Early involvement of developers ensures that the team stays focused and on the right track.  If communication is lacking, delays and/or redesigns are likely to happen.


Create a system that works:

Good process and knowledge of those processes gets the job done correctly. Whatever program your designer decides to use, they should utilize layers that are clearly marked for the developer to understand. Things like naming conventions, consistency and labeling of text, paddings, margins, and use of grids should be discussed before the initial implementation of the design.


Creating a repeatable process for your team alleviates any problems that might occur along the way and creates a clear path to product execution. Designers and developers needn’t be slowed down by logistical issues that could be easily prevented by simple standardization.


One way to standardize processes are to utilize a comprehensive checklist. Designer and developer should go through these steps thoroughly before continuing the project to the next stage. 


Ready to pass it on:

Designers need to create their own internal checklist before handing off to the developer. Things like: Does it reflect the initial goal? Is the quality to the designer’s liking? Has the user experience improved? Questions like these help tie any loose ends and lower the chances of re-work or re-designs.


After the internal checklist is completed the design files are ready to be handed off to the developer.


Check-in frequently:

To prevent miscommunication, frequent check-ins from the designer are needed. Once a project has been handed off to the development team there is a high chance that the intent of the designer will be misinterpreted. By having frequent check-ins between designers and developers, there is opportunity for clarification on what was originally intended and the momentum of the project can continue by avoiding rework.


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Communication is key—teams that work well together make better products overall. When using the process provided, design hand-offs can go much more smoothly and can make the relationship between designer and developer more harmonious. Next time try using these techniques to implement your own system of communication and help your business create an outstanding product.