No matter if you are in a large company or small. No matter if your developers are next to your office cubie or in another time zone. As UX designers, there’s always (or at best, often) a point when you need to talk to a developer about the project.
Yes this can be a daunting task. Sometimes it feels like developers are talking a different language. And in some rare cases, you might be working with a developer who is arrogant and condescending. And he/she makes you feel stupid when you try to ask technical questions. Let’s hope that is not happening in your case.
No matter the vibe, we all have to work together to reach a common goal: get the project out the door. So just how do you do that?
Build a rapport with developers
1. Recognize developers are people too.
We are all have hearts, brains and pride and we are using them all to achieve success.
2. You have more in common than you think.
So take the time to listen to them. You might be surprised (but probably not) just how much design knowledge they have.
3. Learn a bit of code talk.
Yes folks, know enough to carry on a conversation. Do you know what a Hex value is? Do you understand what a Div is? Can you explain the difference between html and CSS and know why each is important in it’s own way? I am by no mean telling you become a code expert (that is a heated debate I will fight another day.) But do take a couple of online courses or read some articles to understand some basic coding terms and how those will apply to your designs. Believe me they will.
Developers have great ideas. They might even have a better alternative to what you have thought about. Hear them out and don’t let your “design poodle” ego get in the way.
5. Communicate early.
You have the best design in the world, but is it technically feasible? Maybe it can be done, but the level of work is out of this world. Get ready for a debate, but a healthy one by bringing in developers in to your design early. Find out what walls are up, and determine which walls are worth fighting to break down.
6. Go out for lunch or a beer.
You work with people as much as you sleep. Sometimes you spend more time with your work mates than your family. And that is why I am referring to them at “mates.” Do your best, as a UX designer, to build empathy for your developers. A healthy, happy working relationship will go a lot further than a competitive, ego-driven one.