At WordCamp Raleigh 2011, Jayvie Canono covered a very interesting subject “Bridging the Designer-Developer Gap”. Here is a short summary of the session along with the presentation.
When it comes to the world of websites, the designer and developer are two sides of the same coin. Together, designers and developers can create masterpieces at the junction of form and function, but all too often there is a conflict between these two roles.
This conflict is usually caused by a gap between the designer and the developer who codes the design, who have two separate yet overlapping skills. Quite often, the designer handles all communication with the client, and leads the client through to the final visual design of the website. It is only when the final visual mock up of the design is finalized that the developer is brought in to turn the visual mock up into a functional web design. Because of this, the designer is faced with the task of creating a website that may or may not be time, energy, and financially efficient. They are often forced to choose to either start an argument to change the design (often to the chagrin of the designer and the client) or to make a site that is slow or subpar in functionality in order to produce the product the designer has promised.
To remedy that, the designer and developer both need to reconsider the process that they follow in creating a website. First, the developer needs to insist on being included earlier in the design process. The developer should be copied on all emails beginning at the design of the wireframe and continuing through the end of the design process. While the developer does not need to overrule the designer’s creativity, they should act as a check to make sure the designer is not promising the client features that cannot be feasibly added for the price and turn around time promised.
The designer should take steps to learn some basic aspects of coding a website design. Jayvie recommends that designers take the time to create a basic HTML design in their spare time, taking the time to slice and construct a basic design. The designer should then try integrate some of the WordPress features into the design. After doing so, they should consult with their developer to ask for feedback. This process will not only foster a general sense of understanding for what the devloper does, but it will encourage the designer to learn proper web measurement, to name layers correctly, and to anticipate problems with text wrapping that may happen when the design is taken to the web.
Designers and developers like should remember that together they have the same goal, to create a fantastic website for the client.
P.S, we would not be able to make this trip if it wasn’t for our amazing sponsor.
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