5 designers share their tips on partnering with a developer
Collaborating with a developer on a design project for the first time can be intimidating. There’s a lot to learn and on top of that, it can be a bit scary to have someone looking at your design mockups so closely.
But once you dive in and get your first collaboration over with, you’ll never want to go back. To give you an inside look from designers who have experience with developer collaborations, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites and asked the following questions:
- What’s your favorite part of working with a developer?
- What’s the #1 thing a designer should know before going into their first collaboration?
I used to code my own websites (and I loved it) but, I decided to focus my talents on design, and I have no regrets! Closing out the project and knowing a developer is there who will keep up with best coding practices and give my clients the best possible product is an amazing feeling. Tweet that
Tip 1: Find a developer with a design background. This way if you don’t specify something (like a hover state, or mobile view) you know that they’ll make logical and intelligent decisions. Don’t spend forever making revisions to spacing and hover states when you could be designing!
Tip 2: Set up your files for success. The more organized your files are, the more likely your website will look like the one you designed. Set up your 12 column grid in your design program. Set up a horizontal grid so spacing and padding are consistent. Set up paragraph styles for your type hierarchies so your headings are all the same, and your paragraphs are all the same. Save the swatch colors you’re using and delete the rest. All this tells your developer EXACTLY what you want so your design translates perfectly and easily. It also makes your designs more consistent, and therefore prettier.
Knowing that my developer can pretty much make anything happen is great. I really have no knowledge of the coding aspect of websites, I just know how to make it all look good! So knowing she can put my design “to life” is so much fun!
Just like with a collaboration of any form, make sure you are partnering up with someone you not only respect but that you get along with and feel comfortable working with. Tweet that My developer and I are both really laid back and that is important to me. I think it’s an important piece of a stellar final product!
So many favorite things about developer collaborations! It’s difficult to choose just one. The biggest for me would be collaborating with a fellow boss to bring a client’s website to life. We each get to bring our strengths to the table to make the end result the best it can be. Plus, I love that I don’t have to do it all myself. I’m able to trust the developer to work their magic while I have more time to do fun designer things. Tweet that
My biggest advice would be to have a process down before you even inquire with a developer. And make sure you incorporate developer’s fees when quoting a client! I didn’t do this in the beginning and I had a few projects that were a hot mess. Fortunately, I met a gracious and generous developer during the 11th hour that helped turn things around but it would have been a lot easier for everyone involved if I was on my game from the start.
Since those first few projects, I’ve learned to provide better project quotes and become more organized in project management software like Asana and Trello. As a result, my client website projects go A LOT more smoothly and efficiently.
My favorite part of working with a developer is that I don’t have to touch a single line of code. Tweet that I hate doing the development, partially because that’s just not where my expertise lies. So, when I can bring a developer on for the project, it’s like a gift from above!
The most important thing I wanted to know before going into my first collaboration with a developer was what all she would need from me. The answer to that question is everything. If you’re not sure what is expected of you and your client, definitely be sure to ask the developer so you can help make sure the project goes smoothly for everyone.
My favorite part about working with a developer is leaving the coding to someone else and focusing on what I do best, the design. A couple years ago, a developer and I collaborated on a custom E-newsletter template project. It was really helpful to have a developer involved from the early stages of the project. There were a few minor issues with my original design that didn’t translate as easily when it came time for development, but working together during this initial design phase helped to eliminate problems before the client was involved. We both had experience with development and design, so that made communication and execution a lot easier. The only real challenge for the developer was working with a client using outdated hardware and software.
As a business owner, I feel it is so important to focus on my unique strengths and seek out others when a job goes beyond those strengths. My time is better spent on the parts of a project that I do best. Tweet that