If you are a graphic designer, you have most likely worked with a developer at some point in your career. It’s pretty much inevitable that they will be crossed in our career paths because we are surrounded by the internet. A lot of the biggest design influences are web designers. While I have only been working with web developers for a short time, (definitely no expert on the subject), there are a few things I have learned, and a few things that you may want to keep in mind when working with a developer.
1. Prototype Prototype Prototype
One of the most crucial things to do when working with a developer is to present them with your FULL design. I’m not just talking about handing over the PDFs, but everything from the navigation of the site, to hover states, to how you want elements to move around the page. Static designs are so limiting for the developer in being able to fully understand how the site should function. Part of our job as designers is to fully communicate our design to the developers. One great tool we use is called Invision. It allows you to create navigation through the site, show hover states, overlays, and even lets you upload gifs to show animations you would like to occur on your site. There are tons of prototyping tools out there to use, and this is just one of them. Whether it be Invision or another tool, it is necessary to give your developer as much information about the interface and the user experience that you can in order to avoid miscommunication further down the line of developing.
2. Every Developer is Different
Not all developers code the same way. Especially if you have multiple developers in your company or that you work with. You should definitely consider that each of them work in their own, different way. I have worked for a company where the developers were expected to extract all of the assets with little or no direction form the designer. On the flip-side, I have also worked for a company where the developers are to have the assets extracted by the designer. Neither way is right or wrong, but just different. So if you are starting a new job somewhere as a designer working with developers, ask them about their workflow process at the very beginning of the project.
3. Everything is Possible, Sometimes
Technically, you can code just about anything. I mean, go look at the websites on awwwards.com and you will see what I mean. However, that doesn’t mean your developer can code “anything”. Working in the web design field the past couple of years, I’ve learned that some things are just hard to code. There are also a lot of factors that play into what you can do with a site. The experience of the developer, the kind of platform you are using, and the budget of your client all play a huge part. Not every developer you work with is going to know how to code what you want. Not every platform is going to have the capability to do what you want, and not every client is going to have the budget to implement some of the things you want. It’s all about looking at the situation and knowing what is possible and what you can do to make the best website you can under the given circumstances.
4. Developers Work Really Hard
Some may say that designers have the hard job of designing an engaging and unique website that also provides a great user experience (Which, don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely not easy), but really, developers have the hardest job. They are expected to code whatever I come up with as a designer and sometimes, a designer’s imagination can take them to some pretty unique designs and we just hand them over to developers and expect them to code it. They are the ones that bring it alive and make it real. So let’s not forget that without developers, we would not even have a way to bring our ideas to life.