Here’s how to collaborate with product designers and developers that don’t always get along

Assume you’re in charge of developing an app that displays you the most posh cafés in your city. Dave, your product designer, has designed a lovely wireframe and has set a deadline of three weeks for the prototype to be ready.

You’re familiar with Dave’s personality and how this type of request normally ends. You’re not going to impress him with a tight deadline and a few hazy instructions to go along with it. But, hey, that’s your work, so you give it your all.

You return to Dave three weeks later with the completed prototype.

And he’s enraged.

You, he claims, completely disregarded his team’s directions. You didn’t use the exact pixels they requested, you didn’t get the colour tones just right, and where are all the special effects?

You’re now enraged with Dave and his staff as well. They didn’t contact you at all throughout those three weeks.

And now, after weeks of you working midnight hours to get the prototype shipped on time, Dave only wants to see your boss so he can yell at him.

What causes stress and ill blood?

As a developer, you want to prevent disputes as much as possible, and product designers like Dave do the same. Why, then, do such tense situations continue to occur?
Some product designers demand that all of their intricate and difficult items be completed yesterday.

This isn’t because they’re scumbags.

Designers with that level of technical knowledge are less likely to understand all of the frameworks and labour that go into the back-end. Turning a prototype into a working product requires more than a little magic.

However, there are some developers that do not appreciate the effort that designers put in. They’ll make mistakes with design minutiae like alignment or font selections, then blame the designers for the product’s poor appearance.

To prevent disagreements, the designers will take the shoddy product as-is if it goes completely wrong. You can image the product owner’s disappointment when they see the unpleasant outcome of their brilliant vision.

Some developers, particularly those who are still novice, make poor engineering decisions that make it difficult to update a design. This may not be apparent right now, but three years from now, everyone will be frustrated. Technical debt is a monster, and an engineer’s lack of expertise accelerates it tenfold.

However, inexperienced designers might be a problem as well.

There’s only so much developers can do to address flaws if they don’t thoroughly evaluate how their design scales and performs in the long run. This relates to certain designers’ technical inexperience. Of course, they don’t need to know everything there is to know about software engineering; otherwise, developers would be obsolete, but a little know-how goes a long way.
Designers would be able to explain their ideas more clearly if they had this expertise.

A few attractive wireframes will never be able to match the value of a prototype that is detailed, dynamic, and built with the underlying technologies and their challenges in mind.

The lesson of the storey is that if you’re a coder, there are a plethora of methods to irritate a designer. And if you’re a designer, there are as many ways to get a developer to bite your arse as there are fish in the water.

It ultimately comes down to this: designers and developers communicate in separate languages.

The designer is speaking in the user’s direction. They have a clear idea of how the product should appear, feel, and behave. However, they have no idea how to make it happen. The developer, on the other hand, is well-versed in all aspects of technology. Okay, not all of them. At the very least, some. Developers communicate with code. However, developers cannot succeed on their own because they do not speak the users’ language.

How can designers and developers avoid getting lost in translation?

Perhaps you should hire a translator? That won’t be necessary, so don’t worry.

Product designers and engineers sit at the same table at some firms – at least in the old-fashioned ones that still do in-person work. This is really beneficial because both teams can observe each other working in real time and have a better understanding of the various issues they confront.

This also increases the number of over-the-shoulder talks and reduces the necessity for unpleasant, stuffy, time-consuming official meetings with everyone. If Dave, the product designer, is unsure whether a feature is technically viable, he can instantly consult a developer.

Similarly, if a developer has a query about why a feature is required, they can tap the appropriate designer on the shoulder. This also works from afar. Some businesses connect each designer with a developer to make casual interactions more efficient. The two of them can then talk about whatever they choose. This type of informal dynamic prevents problems from arising.

If partnering engineers and designers isn’t an option and both teams can’t work at the same table, regular check-ins may be a viable option. This allows developers to study the designs while also allowing designers to provide comments on how the development is progressing.

Regular (and frequently lengthy) meetings that eat into productive time aren’t for everyone. Nothing can stop the teams from having fun while conducting these meetings. However, the effectiveness of such gatherings is heavily dependent on the teams involved and the company’s broader culture.

Finally, developers and designers should gain a basic understanding of one another’s trade. As a result, programmers may desire to take a software design course. Designers may wish to understand more about the software architecture and programming languages used by the team’s developers. Designers and developers communicate in separate dialects. However, if they stay close enough together, they begin to comprehend each other.

To fill in the gaps, there are software tools available

Getting a rudimentary wireframe for a complex project and then having to code all of the features from scratch will take more than an overnight shift for developers. It’s difficult for designers to imagine computer code in their day-to-day job. Fortunately, there are software solutions that can help.

Anima

Anima is a design-to-code tool that allows designers (and developers!) to create prototypes and then export developer-friendly code. This code is accessible in a variety of popular frameworks, including React, vue.js, and html, for developers. Plus, designers may employ interactive elements like hover effects, entrance animations, GIFs, and more to bring their prototypes to life faster than with more traditional design tools.

Framer X is a programme that allows you to create a

Framer works with Figma and, like Anima, allows designers to bring static components to life. Anima, on the other hand, works with Figma as well. It’s simply a matter of personal preference whether you utilise one or the other.

Handoff, Visly, Modulz, and other services are available.

There are a slew of other design tools that convert prototypes to code. However, most of them have one flaw: they ignore the dynamic aspects of prototypes like Anima and Framer. This leaves a lot up to the developer in charge’s imagination. To put it another way, it allows a lot of room for conflict to arise.

However, software tools have a finite amount of power. They can assist, but they won’t be able to eliminate all human conflict.

The ultimate goal is to have good tools, good people, and a good culture.

We all want happy, productive teams who provide high-quality products and add value to their clients at the end of the day. However, this will only work if the teams communicate well with one another, have the appropriate tools to work with, and are rooted in a positive company culture.

I understand if this sounds bland.

Many product designers and developers, on the other hand, have horror stories to tell. Because the teams speak different languages and function from distinct perspectives, misalignment is common. Both languages and points of view are required. They must be involved in each other’s processes in order for them to work together. Only then will they be able to communicate with one another.

Software design and development is rarely completed by a single team. It’s not your problem if the Daves of the world don’t comprehend. However, you should communicate with his management before he speaks with yours.