The product design team often requires the collaboration of designers and developers. Although on some rare occasions, one person might fit into both roles. However, in instances where the designer and developer are two different people, it is vital to create a great working relationship between both parties to facilitate a good working relationship between both parties. Not only does this make the product design process seamless, but it also helps get the best from both professionals in handling projects.

Interestingly, designers and developers often have more in common. However, there are still some significant differences in the perspective of both professionals. While designers generally love to think about design systems, developers often think about modular code that is easy to maintain. Also, developers tend to break their work into smaller units on most occasions, designers, on the other hand, tend to approach projects from a holistic angle. So, a designer might try to convince a developer to wait and build the whole project. Some of these differences can lead to conflict between both professionals.

There are several tips for getting optimal outcomes from both professionals. However, an excellent designer-developer relationship would go a long way in strengthening the outcome of the project. While not all strategies may be applicable to your team, there are certain collaboration principles that are more generally accepted than others.

Here are a few tips to help improve the relationship between designers and developers.

Involve Both Professionals Early Enough

Involve both professionals early enough

One of the best ways to foster a great designer-developer relationship is by involving both professionals early enough. Both professionals should be involved in the ideation phase. This way, nobody feels left out of any of the stages of the project.

Apart from this, the technicalities involved in the design process can be spotted early enough. This would go a long way in helping prevent certain types of conflict that may arise later in the course of the project.

In most instances, a distinct division of labor between designers and developers tend to lead to a dysfunctional relationship. It is important that the team blend and work together; this creates a feeling of shared ownership. Another advantage of this is that there are shared perspectives when both designers and developers effectively work together.

Understanding Each Other’s Space

Another approach to fostering a good relationship between designers and developers is by making deliberate efforts to understand each other’s space. This can start from joint interactions with the clients to understand the problem and develop a shared understanding of the problem.

Also, designers and developers to understand each other’s language. While this does not mean designers should learn to code, and developers should learn to design, both parties need some basic knowledge of each other’s space to create a shared understanding.

Apart from this, learning basic things about each other’s space, especially as it applies to their work, helps both designer and developer speak a common language. The major advantage of this is that it improves communication between both professionals. Designers and developers can communicate quantitatively and not just qualitatively.

Facilitating Remote Working

Facilitating remote working

Another critical part of creating a good working relationship between designers and developers is facilitating efficient communication lines, especially considering that these professionals often prefer to work remotely. It is important to have open communication lines between both professionals at all times. There are tools that make this process easier e.g., InVision, Zeplin, Plant, etc.

Effective communication also helps the designer and developer agree on timelines and other vital parts of the project as required.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict might not also be totally avoidable when designers and developers work together. It is crucial to create a workable way to address conflicts in the product design process, especially that may arise due to project requirements. Resolving conflicts also largely relies on effective communication between designers and developers.

In most instances, conflicts that arise in the course of a project are usually due to simple scope creeps and change requests and can be easily resolved with effective communication systems. In instances where the change is not essential, it might be logged as a phase two request meaning it has been noted.

By effectively communicating the basis of each step of the design, it becomes relatively easier for both designer and developer to understand the relevance of each step.

Working Openly

Working openly involves having a central server that everyone involved in a project can access. This approach to working is important, especially when working remotely. Designers can show work progress to developers to help them catch things that are tricky before they are presented to the client.

Mutual Respect

This is a rule that applies to all relationships. Both designers and developers should learn to respect each other’s craft. This helps foster a good relationship between both parties.

In conclusion, the designer-developer relationship can go a long way to influence the outcomes of the project design process. With the right designer-developer relationship, the process becomes seamless, and you can rest assured of the best possible outcomes. This is why it is vital to equip your team with the tools to make this happen. Carry both professionals along in all the stages of the design process, starting from the problem definition and ideation phase.

A shared understanding of a project can go a long way in helping both designer and developer work with each other more effectively.