Hey Developers, quick question for you: when does design come into the picture in the web development process? Read on to find out more about incorporating design into the software development process.
OK, we know what you’re thinking. Didn’t we just write a blog post on how good UX can be ugly? Well, yeah – and we’re sticking to that. But here’s a question for you: if you could, wouldn’t you make something beautiful and functional all at the same time? Eh? You would, admit it. Collaboration between design and development is a key component of the process and when done right, we can really make awesome things.
We get it Devs, you’ve got so much stuff to manage when it comes to the web development process. There’s interactivity, connectivity, graphics… And, of course, how smoothly the process runs also depends on a whole bunch of external factors, such as market considerations and a deep knowledge and consideration of the target user. Oh, and making it user-friendly and making it look good. Oof! That’s a lot of pressure. From functionality and appearance to navigation and finally to development, a lot goes into creating an aesthetically-pleasing, user-friendly website or mobile app. It’s OK if you’re a “form follows function” kind of developer, we get it. But does that mean that your app should look crappy? Uhm, nope. Think about the bigger picture. Imagine Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. Face it, their designs are things of beauty, and the buildings are pretty darn functional too.
“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs
Web Design Vs Web Development: a house divided
First of all, a shout out to developers, who really know the wonders and limitations of the product; they know what needs to be fixed, and they know what’s really great about our product. But is that enough? When it comes to web project development, everything begins with needs, always. But whose needs? The users? The stakeholders? The designers? In our world of user-centered design, it’s never OK to assume what the user wants. We must have a good understanding of our target audience, as well as they their behaviors, needs and past interactions, in order to design accordingly. And our UX designers know this. But with all of this going on, developers needs often get ignored or forgotten. *Hold that thought* One of the most important things to remember throughout the process of website development is the necessity of a clear, user-pleasing design. But even more importantly, it helps users focus on the value of our product or service instead of being distracted by noisy graphics and superfluous amounts of text.
Design can be a powerful component of your app, so surely the relationship between designers and developers really matters, right? Yes, yes it does. As the web continues to evolve at a breakneck, there is an increasing need for design and engineering to get on the same page. Many a project has been botched through designer-developer miscommunication alone. Nowdays, it’s so important to learn to communicate and collaborate, and to respect the nuances of each other’s craft.
Learning, making and collaborating better with prototypes
Web design is becoming a more collaborative process, and this is where prototyping really comes in handy. As Our Product VP, Victor Conesa points out in this Validately guest post: “Collaboration is a key component of web design thinking and it is enhanced only when the right systems are in place to facilitate efficient communication. Collaboration tools help to boost productivity, especially in larger enterprises where there are distributed groups of designers involved. And when you look at it from the client’s standpoint, where many are coming from all over the world and different working environments, collaboration management is key to keep everyone informed.” In the software world this is crucial, because one of the biggest challenges is to communicate how the design is going to come across in the business world, to people who don’t necessarily speak the same language (tech, or otherwise). Normally, design and development keep to themselves, right? But actually, if developers are comfortable sharing their opinions early on, whilst the wireframes are still pretty basic, they may be able to catch small mistakes that the design team would not have picked up on, and offer potential solutions. So, get over the first hurdle by including design elements in your prototype. See how they’ll play out and then we can even toss away the rest. And remember, prototyping is a great way to quickly test and clarify ideas without introducing risk.
One of the best ways to accelerate the development of an idea into a well formed thought is to prototype it. You should feel empowered to experiment and take risks in a prototype, risks that you wouldn’t take in code that’s shipping to production. Victor explains that: “a great way of working together is to create a shared prototype at the beginning of the design process, so that the whole team can comment, edit and adapt it simultaneously. Consider sharing assets with your team, keeping the same design code throughout a single project and all the others, thus enhancing brand consistency and improving productivity, as things won’t need to be redrawn.”
So, take a look at a collaborative prototyping tool like Justinmind and see for yourself. The web design process is built upon creation, communication, collaboration and validation, and our tool was built with this in mind. Try out Justinmind today and see how you can work with all of your teams simultaneously for better collaboration, cooperation and immediate feedback!