How to foster productive communication between designers and developers
Hi everyone, I’m Danielle Vertman, and I joined monday.com almost three years ago as a product designer.
In some of the places I’ve worked previously, the developers did not even live in the country at all. I would design a product and send it to the developers, but there would be no communication between the two parties.
Elsewhere, the developers and designers may have been sitting in the same place, but the whole work process between them was identical.
The designers think of a design, send it to the developers, and they execute. Then what happens? On the one hand, the designer feels that they have to protect their work from a developer, who does not understand its importance or impact.
On the other hand, the developer does not understand how to take what the designer did and transfer it into code, a task which requires multiple hours. This workflow creates frustration on both sides, and it hurts both the process and the final product.
To me, communication between designers and developers working on the same feature should look like a game of ping-pong.
Communication channels should always be open. I want to hear feedback from the developers and know that they feel comfortable expressing their opinion. I also want to understand how feasible my designs are as early as possible.
I want to hear feedback from the developers and know that they feel comfortable expressing their opinion. I also want to understand how feasible my designs are as early as possible.
Before I join a new team, I always meet every key member of the team over a cup of coffee. For me, I do not design alone; rather, we design together, and it is important for me to understand how we plan to accomplish that.
Why is this process efficient? Because developers are not just implementation tools. They are not puppets who write and upload code. Working together helps developers better understand the pains of users just as the designer or product manager understands them, so everyone is working toward the same vision.
Here’s a helpful tip: you don’t have to wait until production to involve the developers in the process. On the contrary, the designer needs to present the possible solutions and explain his or her intentions to the developer.
the designer needs to present the possible solutions and explain his or her intentions to the developer.
This is the stage where both parties agree on a solution so that the process can be broken down and the cost analyzed. I never come and say, “I designed it, look what a beauty!” because ultimately I know that I will only create the mockup after we have understood the problem, aligned on the desired behavior, and determined the target users all as a group.