If you are a web designer who works regularly with web developers and programmers, it is essential to build a solid working relationship. Learning the care & feeding of web developers will help you not only design better, but get projects out the door more quickly. Here at Rare Form, we have developed strategies over the years that streamline the design process to make our developers lives easier.
Crystal-clear design documentation
Think of comprehensive design documentation as your project’s reliable compass. It guides developers through the intricate landscape of design elements and specifications:
- Style Guides. Craft a style guide as clear as daylight, detailing typography, color palettes, spacing, and those consistent design elements. This guide ensures everyone is on the same page.
- Wireframes and Mockups. Bring your layouts to life with wireframes and mockups. Add explanatory notes to provide clarity on functionality. Whether to wireframe is a personal preference, and one we do not employ here at Rare Form. We have found over the years that it adds time to the process, and after wireframes clients change their minds after they see the design in action as they couldn’t truly visualise the end result. (It’s also why we also recommend designing the homepage first in many situations vs. mobile).
- Asset Libraries. Keep your web design assets in an organized and shareable format, from icons to images and graphics. Think of it as a friendly resource hub. In XD also make sure that as you’re designing, keep your document assets updated, and mark for export as you’re going.
Design the website to be responsive (& be clear about how it works).
All web designers know that you need to design a website to look good on all devices. To make sure that your design gets across properly to the developers, share breakpoints and layouts complete with clear directions on how elements should adapt across screens. This will save you time at the end and your developer won’t have to question or guess as to how things should look or work. Speaking of Design, you might want to read our Top 5 things you should have on every website (and 5 you shouldn’t) .
Create a relationship based on communication
‘90% of all management problems are caused by miscommunication’ – Dale Carnegie. Clear communication is the secret sauce of our designer-developer partnership. Be readily available to answer questions and share insights into your design choices. Regular collaboration sessions are where the magic happens, where issues are resolved, and the design vision remains aligned. Using project management tools like Basecamp, and communication tools like Slack and Discord can be invaluable. (*Pro tip…Discord is aimed at gamers, but is one of the best communication tools out there, and it’s free…and the voice comms are superior to Slack).
Optimise the web design for speed
Speed matters, especially if you care about SEO and want to rank. To make sure that your designs are speed friendly, make sure that you optimise all of your images and graphics. Explore file formats, compression techniques, and lazy loading to enhance loading times. Our developers at Rare Form are adept at making exceptionally clean, fast websites, but anything that you can do from a design perspective to help them will make them love you even more.
Naming conventions & organisation
Consistent naming conventions for design elements, whether it’s CSS classes or image files, are like signposts for developers. Keep your files and folders meticulously organised and your developers will love you forever.
Design an interactive prototype
For designs with intricate interactions and animations, consider creating interactive prototypes in Figma or Adobe XD. These prototypes act as practical demonstrations, helping developers explore the user experience and functionality. This is also very handy to show your clients mouse over effects and how a website will flow together.
Positivity & encouragement
It’s a tough world out there, and it’s very easy to look at things from a negative standpoint. However if you can be a bit of sunshine in your developers day, you will get much better outcomes from them. I have been working with web developers for over 25 years and this is the most important tip in the article. And it’s simple…be kind and encourage them. If your developer has done something that you like, even if it’s small, point it out and show them your appreciation. This alone will help you not only build a solid working relationship with your developers, but it will also help you get the best out of them.
Booker T. Washington said, ‘If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else’. And in the world of web designers & developers, this sentiment rings true. Take care of one another, you crazy kids.
Love in epic websites, Jeannie
PS. I read the article entitled ‘Care & Feeding of The Press‘ pre 2000 and the name always stuck with me. It’s also a solid article for anyone who ever has to deal with the press.
Posted by: Jean Paldan
Nov 02, 2023