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Making It Easier for a Designer and Developer to Collaborate on Projects

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The gap between designers and developers often slows workflows and makes it harder to bring products to market. Without strong collaboration between your design and development product teams, you will likely find that your company has to correct a lot of mistakes before you can finalize a product and release it to consumers.

You don’t have to tolerate the designer-developer gap. The following tips will bring them closer together, improve your process, and lead to better user experiences.

Recommended reading: Coding Designers and Design Collaboration with Developers – 2020 Design Trends with Joe Cahill

Create a design system that uses the same components for designers and developers

Creating a design system that uses the same components for designers and developers is the most important thing you can do to bridge the gap between teams. Your design system should provide everything that your people need during the designing and coding phases, including the product’s approved:

  • Typography
  • Colors
  • Icons
  • Photographs
  • GIFs
  • Sounds
  • Interactive elements

You can improve every step of production by using the same design system for your designers and developers so that they don’t waste time on deciding which font or color to use, and how to code this button and that form. Traditionally, companies struggle with this approach because they take an image-based approach to building products and you need to put a lot of effort to maintain the design system. After the design team finishes its work, developers need to find ways to make components functional. A code-based approach eliminates the gap by giving designers and developers access to a real single source of truth that can be reused anytime. 

See examples of design systems.

Ready with your design system?  Go one step further with UXPin Merge – the technology of coded components. It lets users import and keep in sync coded components from GIT repositories to the UXPin Editor. 

interactive code-based design

Imported components are 100% identical to the components used by developers during the development process. It means that components are going to look, feel and function (interactions, data) just like the real product experienced by the end-users and they are consistent with your design system and production-ready! It means that not only do you bridge the gap between design and development, but also cut down the time to market as it takes much less time to both design and code a digital product. 

Recommended reading: Why It’s Time for Designers to Switch From Image-Based to Code-Based Design

Improve communications between web designers and front-end developers

Your designer and development teams need easy ways to communicate with each other. Not too long ago, you had limited ways to improve communication between teams. You could have them share a workspace or add everyone to a social media group.

Today, you have ample tools to improve communication and collaboration, even when your team members work remotely. Some of your best options include applications like:

When you need a replacement for face-to-face conversations, you can use video conferencing apps like:

The easier communication becomes, the more likely your team members are to talk to each other. Give them the tools they need to stay in contact and build professional relationships. 

Invite designers and developers to product design brainstorming sessions

Teammates get left out of critical brainstorm sessions far too often. The project manager might think to invite the development team’s leader for insight into the challenges of adding certain features to a product.

Get more designers and developers involved in brainstorming sessions to build camaraderie, share ideas, and discover innovative concepts that you might have missed without everyone’s participation.

You can make your brainstorming sessions more successful by:

  • Choosing diverse participants with unique skills.
  • Establishing rules for your session and communicating those rules before participants gather.
  • Setting a timer so no one has to keep an eye on the time.
  • Following an orderly process when asking people to share their ideas (surprising someone will only make them nervous).
  • Writing down every idea without passing judgment. 
  • Scheduling a follow-up meeting later in the day or week so your facilitator can provide feedback and your group can discuss their favorite ideas.

As an extra benefit, getting more people involved in the initial steps of product development will show departments that everyone has something useful to offer regardless of the role they play within the company.

Encourage UX designers and web developers to learn about each other’s roles

Unless your UX designers and web developers spend a lot of time working together, they might not know much about the roles they play in product creation. Introducing your team to the basic terminology and types of work that other group performs could help bridge the communication gap in your design process.

That doesn’t mean everyone needs to share skill sets. They just need to know enough to communicate and grasp the nature of what other people contribute. 

Knowledge for your designers

Your web design team doesn’t need to learn how to code—although they might want to pick up some basic HTML skills—but they should know the popular tools used by developers. That includes programming languages like:

  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • CSS

Knowing about essential web development tools like JQuery should help your designers understand the amount of work involved in their requests. If nothing else, they should gain a deeper respect for the jobs developers do.

Knowledge for your front-end and back-end developers

Developers need a lot of technical knowledge and coding skills to turn designs into interactive components. Some of them might mistakenly believe that designers do less work than them. From an outsider’s perspective, it could seem that designers do little more than play with Adobe Photoshop.

Of course, designers also have extraordinary skills that contribute to product usability and popularity. Your coders should know that designers have years of experience:

  • Creating user interfaces that align with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  • Selecting typography that appeals to the product’s target market.
  • Following detailed style guides that make diverse visual elements feel like part of a larger whole.

When everyone understands their colleagues’ levels of expertise, you might see improved respect and teamwork across teams.

Recommended reading: You Can Become a Code-Based Designer Without Learning Code

Adopt UXPin Merge to bridge the gap between designers and developers

UXPin Merge gives you a unique, code-based approach to designing and prototyping your products. Bridge the gap between designers and developers by choosing a tool that already uses live code instead of image-based elements  and tap into the strength of a design system that applies equally to designers and developers.

Request access to UXPin Merge to experience the benefits of code-based design that encourages collaboration between your teams.

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