A web designer has a set of strengths that makes him valuable to a team working to develop new websites or enhance and retool existing websites. He keenly understands the visual medium and how the website’s appearance, navigation, and cohesiveness is important to the user. None of these skills require him to be able to code the design himself. The designer often has a partner, a web developer, that is able to translate a dynamic design into a usable website. Their skills and strengths are different, but their work is complimentary and it is necessary for them to work closely together. The designer’s work isn’t dependent on whether he can code, but instead it relies on how well he can work with those that are the coding experts.
Designers and developers have different skills and strengths, but it’s crucial they work well together. There are several things you can do to ensure a strong partnership with a web developer.
Determine Collaboration Standards
Although this sounds formal, it doesn’t need to be. It is simply a way for the web designer and developer to set common standards for collaboration methods. Some things you and your developer partner may want to consider are how often you’ll meet by phone, online, or in person, the best way to handle questions or concerns, ongoing deadlines or benchmarks, and final project completion. If you are able to agree to these collaboration standards before the project begins you’ll likely be more successful in the end.
Play To Your Strengths
A web designer and a web developer have defined roles that work in collaboration with each other. In order for the development and design of a website to be successful the two professionals working together should focus on their own roles and strengths. A designer’s focus should be on design elements such as the website layout, navigation functions, color palette, typography, and logos. The developer’s focus is on writing the code, either HTML or CSS, that enables the design to maintain its intended effect. However, both the designer and developer should have an understanding of the other’s role to ensure that the collaborative process is effective. For example, a web designer may plan to implement parallax scrolling effects into the design to highlight a specific product the brand is launching. In order to effectively communicate this vision to the developer, a basic understanding of the coding requirements would be highly beneficial.
Communicate Early And Often
Once you’ve established a set of collaboration standards, it is important to follow through with effective communication. It’s vital to be clear and concise with questions, requests, and concerns. Value the time you have to communicate and keep your conversations focused. It is also important to stay in close contact with one another and to respectfully question a request that is impossible to enact or would reduce the functionality of a website. A designer should be constantly evolving and pushing the envelope to create unique and innovate visuals that challenge the developer to enhance his skills. On the other side, a developer should be trusted to communicate clearly when the design has surpassed functionality or prevents the code from working properly. A designer shouldn’t be leading the project, and neither should the developer. The team’s communication should be productive and allow effective collaboration to occur.
Both the designer and developer are experts in their own specialties, but without one another the project will likely fail. The most important thing you can do is to listen to your partner. Regardless of what is being said, it is crucial to hear what is being communicated without inserting emotions, presumptions, or bias into the conversation. Perhaps you submitted a website design that isn’t buildable. It is the developer’s job to communicate this to you. This may be a difficult conversation and you may become defensive because your design is being questioned. However, listening to the developer’s concern is more important to truly understand what the problem is.