As more people started using computers in the nineties, most assumed the terms "web designer" and "web developer" were synonymous. Even today, clients often lump the two terms together. To many people who are not involved in the tech industry, web designer and web developer might seem like very similar jobs. While there are plenty of people who work as hybrid developer/designers, and they're highly sough-after in the job market, we know there are actually a number of differences between the two professions.
Tech magazine Gizmodo visualizes the differences between designers and developers in this quick inforgraphic, From different ways of thinking to separate skill sets, it can be difficult for many designers and developers to find overlap and communicate well.
How can we improve collaboration between designers and developers?
1: Unite Around Commonalities
Both designers and developers are constantly problem-solving and trying to make their users' lives better. No matter what you're creating, the end-goal is an improved product and experience. Use this shared goal as a starting point to better connect with your other half and discover things you have in common, like being detail-oriented and user-focused.
2: Involve Designers and Developers at Different Stages
Here at Radolo, we've had some problems in the past where designers and developers bumped heads on projects. To fix it, we looked at the different meetings that occur in a typical software development project, and we decided that only specific people had to be at each one. For instance, UX designers need to be present for design discovery and design feedback while programmers need to come in during the infrastructure design stage.
3: Embrace Each Other's Strengths
Designers: take feasibility into account. Appreciate how developers prioritize functionality and work to ensure that the final product fixes the users' problem correctly. No matter how gorgeous a design may be, solving the issue is the fastest way to a client's heart.
Developers: think about the benefits of creativity. While it might be hard to implement some of what the designers envision, appreciate the innovation and artwork that often go into creating new designs completely from scratch.
While it might seem intuitive that designers and developers should communicate frequently, it can be easy to silo yourself off when you're in the middle of a time-consuming or difficult project. Talk to your project team members consistently, be specific about what you need, and ask questions when they come up. Both designers and developers need to be cognizant of each other's constraints as well. Discuss what's holding you back, and be ready to compromise when necessary.
Interested in other ways you can improve your project's processes? Download our eBook on how the Design First approach can keep projects moving smoothly to meet client's requests.