A successful product relies on a dynamic duo: UX designers and developers. Designers craft the user journey to provide an intuitive, and engaging experience for end-users. Meanwhile, developers bring these designs to life through their technical expertise and coding prowess.
Aligning efforts, goals, and mindset is key to an impactful product. Nonetheless, establishing a smooth collaboration between these two areas of expertise can present its own set of challenges. Ultimately, each focuses on two complementary but distinct fields.
In this post, we’ll share the main gaps in UX designers’ and developers’ collaboration and 7 tips to streamline it. Let’s get started.
Designers and developers share the same goal: creating a product that is both efficient and engaging. However, their differing priorities sometimes lead to friction.
A UX designer focuses on creating an appealing product. As part of the process, they conduct research, brand and design the product, and test it for usability. Sometimes, UX designers may consider their work complete once they've handed their designs over to the developers. Conversely, developers may believe they don’t need to get involved before the handover phase. This misalignment can result in situations where:
In the next section, we’ll navigate 7 tips for smooth designer-developer collaboration.
To improve design and dev collaboration, we suggest your team to:
Let’s take a closer look.
Developers and designers use jargon specific to their fields. When working together, having a common understanding of those terms can make all the difference to keep everyone on the same page. It’s essential to establish clear and consistent terminology that everyone can follow and discuss with.
Furthermore, designers and developers should acquire a basic understanding of the considerations involved in each other's work processes. Designers ought to familiarize themselves with the technology stack they are designing for, while developers should grasp the rationale behind design decisions.
Yet, there are no standards on how much each of them should learn. This will vary depending on the team. A good starting point is to have an open conversation with your counterpart, ask them about what they need you to know, and take it from there.
Effective UX designer and web developer collaboration begins with an initial discussion about the proposed product, where they brainstorm and outline their approach to the design and development process.
The UX designer's role extends beyond mere design creation; it encompasses research, testing, and team management while keeping the final user's needs at the forefront. Engaging the web developer from the research stage and throughout the project enables:
“Be clear” is a common piece of advice you'll encounter in many places. But how can you indeed bring clarity to the table? Simple, by proactively implementing tools and methods to aid collaboration, communication, and feedback.
For example, to provide effective feedback, be sure to:
Additionally, avoid conveying feedback through unstructured email threads, as this can lead to confusion and inefficiency. Meetings, too, may sometimes not be the most effective platform for feedback, as it can be challenging to prioritize and keep a record of synchronous input.
Instead, we suggest you to:
There are countless platforms to keep track of a project’s progress, chat, and work collaboratively, such as Figma, Asana, Discord, and more. Yet, if the website has been already deployed, you can use Commented to easily provide feedback.
Additionally, you can structure your workflow with methodologies like Agile, Scrum, or Design thinking.
Despite time and budget constraints, almost every project is subject to scope expansions or changes. Nonetheless, what may appear as a minor change for UX designers, might be significant for developers, and vice versa.
It's vital for UX designers to be mindful of how potential design changes can impact developers. Instead of assuming that a change can be easily implemented or hastily agreeing to client change requests, it’s advisable to discuss it with the development team first.
The same applies the other way around. Developers shouldn’t assume that a technical change won’t significantly alter the user experience. Such dialogue enables both parties to evaluate the issue and explore less time-intensive alternatives, or drop the idea altogether.
It’s common for UX designers to use prototypes, either alongside or instead of conventional wireframes and other static deliverables. Regularly sharing prototypes with developers is key for seamless collaboration.
Why? Prototypes give developers a clear view of the precise interactions designers are outlining, including in-action animations and roll-over states.
Consequently, using prototypes can:
This point is related to our previous tip on clarity. Once the designers have finished their part and the developers are ready to bring their work to life, it’s imperative to have a well-structured handoff process.
With this, we mean meticulously organizing the necessary information, documents, and deliverables into a coherent package. Additionally, the team could have a hand-off meeting so designers can elaborate on what they will be providing and its purpose.
This allows them to:
Before launching a product, developers conduct QA testing. This phase is typically conducted without UX designers. However, just as developers should participate from the project's outset, it's equally important for UX designers to remain engaged throughout the QA phase at the project's conclusion.
Designers and developers have different perspectives, which means that designers are apt to spot details during QA that developers might overlook.
As Hakan Baybas, CEO at Commented puts it: “Generally, after developers complete the implementation of a product, a specific feature or a screen designed by the designers, they start internal testing. Oftentimes, they catch the broken flows and deficiencies that the designers missed during the design or did not consider in the prototype.”
Ongoing involvement at this stage is crucial since it ensures that the user experience is fully realized as intended by the designer. Here, it becomes really handy to provide feedback on the implemented product, and a tool like Commented can make it a breeze.
Effective cooperation between UX designers and developers is essential for a smooth and cohesive development process. Maintaining this collaborative spirit among the team requires clear communication and a shared understanding of the product's philosophy. Plus, the team should work together at all stages of the product, from research to QA.
“Designers and developers need to work together beyond the design hand-off. The next step is where Commented comes in, fostering seamless collaboration on the live product with greatness.”- Serkan Mercan, Head of UX/UI at Commented
With Commented, both developers and designers can convey feedback on the implemented product, similarly to commenting on a design prototype.
Want to see how it works? Click on ‘try live demo’ below and get started for free.