#collaboration, #design, #development
21 July 2019
Bartłomiej Rogacewicz

Why your designers should constantly collaborate with developers?

Creating a product you need expertise from many different fields. You won’t build an app without a plan and you won’t write code if you don’t know what should be the outcome. Those two disciplines cross with each other when it comes to working on a project. It’s when designers and programmers should combine forces to deliver the best results possible. Why is it so much easier when those two groups collaborate? The answer waits below. 

Let’s decode the names

A programmer codes. A graphic designer (as the name suggests) designs, even though in scrum designer is one of the “developers”. What’s an important detail here? Both create the product. We can all agree that the consistency of an interface of any product is important. The easiest way to achieve it is to make a project team consisting of those who take care of its visual aspects but also those who build the code of it. When the two groups communicate with each other while working and respect their fields you can expect satisfying results. 

Different scenario

Imagine being a programmer and receiving a finished project from a foreign studio. Someone would say that your only job now is to program the app as they want. But is it the only one? If the software house doesn’t collaborate with the studio and it’s not time&material contact, it means that you cannot ask or suggest a better solution that would not only be easier to make but also which would be more innovative. 

Receiving a fixed plan you don’t have much to say.

Let’s start by saying that it’s not done through the scrum method. To prepare a visual project you need to be given a brief, so the assumptions on which bases designers make an interface. Without it, there is no way to introduce changes when the file goes from programmers to designers. 

Lack of communication most often leads to a situation when a developer designs the interface but does it too quickly. Under the pressure of time, he mirrors the elements that are already there. It can also end up with the founder taking responsibility for how the project should look like. In most cases, he dictates the visual aspects and unfortunately does it wrong. 

Another thing is the key visual.

It can be one screen of your app made for the representation of the future interface. It’s not functional but its purpose is to show the aesthetics and vision in which the project should aim. That’s why it’s good when the key visual is suggested at the beginning. In general, it means that the product will be evolving during work. 

What is more, there is a lack of a holistic view of the project. Because of everyone doing their job, there is no one coming from the neutral ground. It may be somebody who knows all of the areas which project requires to succeed. Such a person would look at the whole concept perhaps noticing the flaws of it.

Work methodology

The method described above is based on forwarding a project between a studio and a software house in huge chunks, usually as one big chunk. It is said to be the wrong methodology of work since the drawbacks you already was reading about. Now it’s time to get closer to the right strategy which is called the Agile method. 

Work on the project is divided into one week or two weeks periods called sprints. At the end of each sprint, the founder evaluates progress thanks to the internal release of a version and works on the backlog (features which are meant to be added to the product at some stage) with the product owner. This way it is easier to adapt the product to the changing market requirements or concepts. And because of the fact that the work is planned for two weeks ahead (instead of 3 months), when something goes wrong the team loses at most a few days, not a few months. That difference is often crucial if you want to avoid the losses and deliver a product which meets the needs of the market. If you want to learn more about updates: When to update an app and how to prepare an update? 

Wait there’s more

Introducing the Agile method into your work you’ll notice that regular meetings bring more benefits to the table. Developers, as well as designers, participate more in the process of creating the product. They can share their knowledge of the market or of a given sector. They can also resolve minor issues on the go. Also, they can talk with a founder about their experience from previous projects which is often valuable. Some more experienced specialists can even help a company to omit invisible issues which can influence the product’s ROI in the future. The flow of information is greater which favors cooperation and increases the understanding between employees. Not to mention the fact that working this way, creating the first version of a product does not differ from continuing its further development. A designer doesn’t experience a 4+ months gap during the project but he is deeply and constantly engaged in the process. Same thing around programmers who are strongly involved which translates into greater effectiveness. 

What I’m trying to tell you is

Having a team of specialists from different fields, you meet with many perspectives and opinions about the product. From one side you hear about user experience and user interface, from the other about the technical part of it. And your job as a founder is to take as many meaningful suggestions from both sides and combine them so that the product work and generate money. When programmers and designers communicate with each other and create the product together from the very beginning, the chances that it will succeed and provide final users with value are much higher.

Finally

You don’t have to attend separate meetings or making daily phone calls to be updated about the progress. You have all the important people in one building so when having second thoughts about the project you make a meeting to discuss it. However, they don’t have to be in one place to be a part of your project team. Graphic designers who work remotely and effectively communicate with developers are still good contributors who matters. Coming back to the ‘foreign studio situation’, when such studio communicates with software house while building something from scratch, it does make sense. It’s all about keeping everyone on the same page and making sure that both groups exchange information when making any changes. 

No matter the costs

Rember that the goal is always to create the best possible outcome. Working together isn’t always easy but the relationship between people strongly affects the thing their work on. It takes a lot sometimes to let go of our strongly held opinions and just listen to what the other side has to say. But to learn a compromise and respect is something most valuable in this job. It helps to deliver all the projects you can be proud of later.

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