Why developers and designers should work with each other

There is a reason for so many group tasks in school. Starting in kindergarten and ending in college, every single person is encouraged and taught to perform in groups - a drawing, a sculpture, a volunteer project, a scientific experiment.

Knowing how to work as a team is an essential skill for life, both personal and professional. The society moves ahead if it works together, where each one of us has their part. This maxim is valid in every kind of jobs. If I’m a designer just working in web design, someone has to implement my work, and that person would be the so-called developer. It is also possible to be both, designer and developer, but in this article, we’re just going to focus on the most common situation nowadays, which concerns to a team with a lot of elements, two of whom are the designer and the developer.

Magga Dora, an experienced designer from Boston, USA, said: “Great developers makes me a great designer because they make my design come alive and improve it in the process”. Let’s go by parts to understand who are these two characters.

The human brain is divided into two hemispheres: the left and the right. Although every human being uses both hemispheres, most of us has a dominant side, which affects the way the information is processed, how to react to that information, how to face the problems and how to communicate. Only 2% of the humans is right-brained, the side that is responsible for the creativity, the curiosity, the fantasy, the intuition and the symbolic thinking. The others 98% are left-brained and are associated with the logic thinking, the rationality, the rules and the communication. Since the designer’s work is creative, imaginative, and intuitive, he is normally right-brained. This means that a web designer is the one who uses graphics/pictures to create a look, a shape, a face, an interface to the web or to an app. This design needs to ‘marry’ with the code in order to get alive.

In this marriage, the groom’s parents of the design and the code are the designer and the developer. This last one, unlike the designer, is normally left-brained. He is oriented by the detail, by the specificity and he looks for a clear and functional code, not giving to much importance if the final result is appealing or not. The developer is the one that builds the backbone of a website, through a programming language (HTML, Javascript, JQuery e CSS), giving life to the design previously created by the designer.

In a team, the work of all elements has to lead to the common objective, in other words, creating a website or an app that seduce and attract the users. We are talking about the concept of User Experience - UX. Like Ximena Vengoechea said, this is not just a fancy word for common sense. The User Experience is a fusion of knowledge, it’s multiple lines that merge in a common spot - the creation of the best user experience possible, achieving, likewise, business goals. Creating something that people in general like is a really tricky and challenging deal and to do that’s necessary to understand psychology principles about the human behavior and the formation of the person’s personality. There are a lot of key points in UX, among them:

  • The visual look of the interface - using the elements to transmit some specific message;
  • The information’s architecture, which means to group it in a meaningful way according to with its importance regarding the context;
  • To get to know the market opinion trough surveys;
  • The interaction design - getting pages that are in agreement with the idea that’s supposed to share or with the behaviour one wants the user to have;
  • The usability - making sure that the system is accessible to everyone.

UX is, therefore, one essential requirement for the success of a website or an app. The best way to cross this finishing line is the teamwork between the designer and the developer. None is more important than the other, both need to listen. A website has to be beautiful and flashy, but it also needs to be functional. The sum of the visual look with its functionality should reflect the brand and ought to attract visitors. The web designer can’t just do his job, send it to the developer, and, in the end, blame him for the unexpected final result. On the other hand, the developer can’t ignore the concerns of the designer regarding the graphic look.

If you’re a designer and you want your partner developer to listen to you try to do this: explain to the developer what you’re doing and why. Some developers don’t have an easy eye to design, but most are concerned about UX. So, you as a designer can tell the developer about why you think your design is the best for that work and why it should be built just the way you did it. And most importantly, when you think that something isn’t right, tell him and explain your ideas instead of complaining about his work.

On the other hand, the designer has to make an effort to understand basic development concepts, like knowing what an MVC framework is and the limitations of JavaScript. They should know what is possible and what is not. Some also say, that a good idea to make a designer get along with a developer is to sit them side to side, in a way that they are “forced” to be nice to each other. That been said the key is always communication.

So, whether you are a designer or a developer, remember that both parts are important. Work as a team focused brands like Apple, Disney, Google and Coca-cola, real queens in User Experience.

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