December 12, 2015   |   3min read

Cooperation: Facts and Figures

In my previous post I’ve explained designers’ fields of expertise and I’ve brought you closer to the design process. This time, based on my experience, I will describe how to handle the intersections in designers’ and developers’ work for a project’s final success.

Let’s get to know each other’s work even better to achieve a perfect cooperation!

Do we really have to work together?

According to Human Centered Design methodology, which is used by many professionals across the world, there are three main factors that lead to innovation. One of them is technology.

We all know ‘User Experience’, the trendy term used to describe interfaces and interaction nowadays. It describes the user’s overall feeling about a product while using it. The ground to achieve a positive UX is to assure functionality and usability – which is highly dependent on efficiency and/or reliability.

So–cooperation fact no 1—to achieve great experiences the whole team has to work together. Go UX team!

The UX Team

How to cooperate?

So the big question is how to cooperate, meaning how to match our work styles.

For quite some time now at Polidea we’ve been getting the experience. Time to share!

Team emotions

Plan your work: Synchronise design & dev accurately to get a smooth workflow

If we kick off developers’ and designers’ work at the same time there is a big chance someone will get upset. Quickly, developers will get bored and designers will feel pressed. The solution is to desynchronise. In order to get into the development loop, users stories have to be prepared. Designers can do that after the analytical part of the process, after the ideation part when logic and scope are known. That is the right time to synchronise and avoid conflicts, boredom and unfulfilled expectations.

The Development Cycle

Field of expertise: participate from the beginning so the project won’t surprise you

Developers should participate in the ideation phase, so they can quickly validate ideas.

Imagine a situation where client wants an app in 3 months, with a million features. The designer can design whatever and for sure the client will love it. But the developer acts as a safety brake – they need to validate the feasibility of the scope and narrow it down to 3 months; or estimate how long a ‘million features app’ would take.

Validating ideas

Cooperation: Make use of everyone’s experience and rely on each other to optimize your work

Another fact about cooperation is that it’s necessary to work hand in hand with developers and other designers in order to achieve an optimal result. This can be observed best at an early stage, when the wireframe structure and interaction patterns are created. Because developers have a good knowledge of out-of-the-box components and patterns in general, they can advise on what will be hard or easy to implement. On these grounds you can negotiate what will be best for the user. We find that this is the crucial moment of a project and if everyone agrees at this point, the rest should go smoothly.

Communication: Discuss and review the work efficiently and be proud of the result

Most times, dimensions are not enough. A designer can prepare a great design in photoshop and then very accurately measure and dimension it. But the unfortunate truth is that designs can rarely be implemented 1-1. There are different screen densities and sizes, so the layout quickly starts living on its own. The solution is to schedule demo often and with everyone, so that the whole team can keep up with the speed.

Openness: Reach out for a hand to build a trustful and supportive relationship

As a designer I always try to ask developers “How would you like me to prepare it?”. I don’t mind preparing svgs or pngs or an icon font. An open conversation channel lets both sides freely express their needs and limitations so at the end a compromise can be achieved easily.

We are a team — we build one product! The answer is to cooperate, communicate, trust, understand and empathize, because each of us have their own style of work.

Karolina Chmiel

Head of Design

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If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!