Closing the gap between design and development

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Teaser Design & Development blog

A few weeks back I attended Drupalcon Prague where I talked to motivated developers and listened to some interesting talks about the collaboration between creative designers and developers. It inspired me to write this article about how both profiles can work together to one, clear goal.

The Goal

In the past, a lot of companies focussed more on the technical aspect of a project. A good working website was the starting point of the online customer journey. And it still is important, but it’s also way more than that nowadays. The focus on the technicity of a website shifted to the best possible customer experience over all digital channels with one consistent branding.

As a company, it’s important to not just put effort in strong technical solutions and flexibility - although it is still important - but also push the limits when it comes to design creativity and UX. By pushing these limits, I mean you have to create a natural balance between dynamics, abstraction and clarity. You’ve got to stop thinking in straight forms and lines, but dare to step outside these lines to create visual interest with your interface and, more importantly, deliver the best userexperience possible for your end user. User experience is vital for brand success.

Make developers love UX/UI

While setting these goals it is really important that, as designers, we can take developers along on our trip. After all, they are the ones taking our design into the real world. The most important thing? The alignment between developers and designs. At the moment Dropsolid is shifting completely to selfsteering and cross-functional teams. This way, our designers and developers work closely together, learn from each other and put the user experience at the first place.

Along the way, I’ve learned a lot. My four tips below might also help you to close the gap between design and development.


Designers show interest for developer perspective


Keep communicating


Comment every detail in your prototype


Make devs understand the importance of stable UX/UI

1. Designers show interest in developer perspective

Don’t hide behind your creative borders. Go out on the web and see what you can really do with your prototype. Read about the possibilities developers can give you and then show your interest by asking questions and going into the conversation. You don’t necessarily have to have a developer background to talk about challenges or solutions and then make a developer feel you care about the technical elaboration of your prototype.


2. Keep communicating 

Schedule weekly talks with the dev team, share your design from the very beginning of your process and explain your thinking pattern with the entire team. Go into conversation whenever you feel that you’ve successfully stepped outside your creative comfort zone, and be open to finding a compromise together when needed. This will create a shared positively energized motivation. 


3. Comment every detail in your prototype 

As important as good communication is, be sure that you not only share information verbally but also tend to document important design notes directly into your prototype. Nowadays, modern design software has great comment functionalities implemented, which you can even extend with some tagging possibilities so that you can link different people to different remarks.


4. Make devs understand the importance of stable UX/UI

Not only end users benefit from a good UX, it can also save developers a lot of time at the end of the ride. If we would for example deliver a website without keeping a tight focus on UX choices from the start, clients may find out that users show a different behavior than expected. This can really cause a ton load of stress between all parties involved. Apart from all that a good UX will also provide easier conversations between the teams and clients, as there will be solid reasons behind choices made by a designer.

How can we make it real?

A lot of theory has been shared here, but how can we make it realistic? How can we build creative websites in our current Drupal workflow? It will take a serious amount of time, patience and projects in general until we will fully reach our goal, but I’m sure that the above focus points will already do 75% percent of the job. We will have to be generous, benevolent and open for compromises between the teams, ready to take action and without losing our focus which is dynamics, abstraction and clarity!