But what makes successful UX design? There are plenty of factors that go into this: good funding, a well-researched and experienced team, but perhaps the most important factor is the collaboration between the project designer(s) and developer(s). That’s right! Creating a UX design isn’t just a matter of making it look nice and it’s not just a matter of functionality -- it’s those two things combined that make for a successful result.
But why is it important for designers and developers to collaborate? And how can both parties do it?
Well, the collaboration is important for two reasons: 1. Efficiency and 2. Quality of Product.
Let’s start with efficiency. When a UX project starts, let’s say in this case it’s a new website that’s being developed, the process usually starts with the designer who does the initial prototyping, brainstorming and ultimately designing, and the process ends with the developer, who builds everything. If a designer and developer aren’t in communication from the get go, this can easily lead to issues down the line.
For example, the designer creates a function for the website where the hero image text animates. This gets approved by the creative team, everybody thinks it looks great and it moves over to development. The developer sees the design and now has to tell the team that the animation is either too time consuming or is not possible due to the limitations of the technology.
This then interrupts the design process as the designer has to go back and reevaluate the design – ultimately losing lots of precious time. The same issues can be seen if the designer isn’t present during the development stages. Maybe the developer had to make some changes to the original design to save on time. However some of those changes actually interrupt the design flow.
The designer doesn’t see these changes until the end and the product is either of less quality because it was not executed the way it was designed or the project loses time/money because the designer has to now walk the developer through why that design change was important.
Now, how can designers and developers better collaborate?
It’s really a matter of keeping everyone in the loop throughout the entirety of the process. This means designers should be sharing their early prototype designs with the developer to catch any potential hang ups. Also, designers should make sure whatever platform the design is created in (these days usually Figma, XD or Sketch) is cleaned up and easy for the developer to understand.
It may even be worth having a meeting to walk them through it to make sure you are on the same page. This goes for the developers too and ideally design/development teams would have frequent check-ins during the development process to help troubleshoot any potential changes to the design.
With both teams involved throughout the entirety of the process, the product benefits because it’s getting two points of views, (a functional one and an aesthetic one) and time is ultimately saved.