Working in the field of User Experience is rarely working alone. It is a highly collaborative environment and this means that oftentimes developers and designers must work together.
There was a time when designers would just mock up designs and “throw the designs over the wall” to the the developers who would then put the designs in to code. This led to a lot of tension; mostly because there was little communication. Now I find that better designs come as a result of communication across disciplines and areas of expertise.
I love talking with my devs. There are so many benefits of doing so:
- Devs are aware of design decisions on the table, they feel more involved
- They can point out potential technical issues and constraints
- They often have great suggestions
- It’s their product too, they will have more pride in their work if they are involved in the process, not just pulled in at the tail end
- Talking together builds camaraderie and and stronger teams
- They can fill in knowledge gaps or holes you might have
Basically, early communication between UX designers and developers gets everyone on the same page. And let’s face it, we work with these people the majority of the day. It makes for a better work environment if you get along with your co-workers.
So I encourage you to talk with your developers, several times a day if you can. Do this to build stronger relationships, learn from each other and have buy-in from all members of the team so you can build better products.
We are getting so close to implementing actual design. I created a few drafts of a wireframe for an upcoming client meeting. Wireframes are a great way to communicate.
I love that wireframe can be used as a discussion point for so many things:
- Take your sketch to the next level
- In some instances, ad branding color and logo
- Show basic flow of page
- See if you and your client are on the same page
- Illustrate some design ideas, and discuss interactivity or animation potential
- Allow the client to modify concepts because you are both looking at the same thing
- Working together in person to come up with a better solution
Collaboration is truly valuable. I revisited the truth in that statement this week while working on the CoCo website redesign project I am involved in.
The task at hand was to get the website organized so that I could start thinking about new design possibilities for the site. But before I could do that, I had to have a clean and organized Information Architecture structure to work with. Sadly, the stakeholders did not understand the importance of not only doing a content analysis of the current site, but thinking about where they wanted the site to go. I understand it is very difficult for non design and web people to see the potential that change can bring. So I don’t blame them at all for not having the forsight to dream about the site’s potential. But if they could not do it, we had to.
So my fabulous content manager Wendy and I worked one evening to really get a site map organized. We talked about how the site exists now. We discussed the ways they organization wanted to change and the new features they wanted to include. And we debated what the navigation terms would be used.
It was a great collaboration and it was so helpful to have someone to hash out this process with. So in the case of working on a complicated process, like creating an organized and cohesive site map, two heads are better than one.