Recap: Design + Development: The Struggle is Real

August 23, 2018 @ Studio Science

Speaker and Panel Recap

Designers and developers/engineers are different! We all feel the struggle, but we can start bridging the gap by empathizing with one another.

Try a new approach to bridge the gap:

  • Be easy to work with
  • Our work is different, but we’re still people. Empathize with one another!
  • Communicate throughout your process and make them a part of it. Most of all, keep everyone informed.
  • Adapt! Meet your counterparts in the middle. Learn something new if you’re excited about how it can help the handoff between design and development.

Design systems are a good starting point to help the designer/engineer relationship. Mitigate design debt. Leverage work that others have done before you, but don’t forget to innovate where necessary.

Designers, feeling stuck on how to relate to devs?

  • Develop enough technical knowledge to understand what level of effort your design is asking for.
  • Go out of your way to learn technical constraints.
  • Help developers empathize with the users.

Engineers, don’t know how to relate to designers?

  •   Be willing and able to contribute to high-level conversations about the direction of the project.
  • Don’t slap designers on the wrist. Soften your response to their designs.
  • Keep an attention to detail.

Lessons Learned

  • Talk to each of the engineers you work with before presenting a big change.
  • Build empathy but stand your ground.
  • The idea that you’re one or the other and that one is magic and the other is utilitarian is not true.
  • Work together, discuss solutions, and learn how you can best present each other solutions – Developers prove your arguments, let’s test the idea!
  • Demystify your work, open your process, and communicate when things go wrong.

Design + Development – B-sides!

Big thanks to Mark Williams for providing this week’s B-sides based on his talk and demo.


Additional Reading


A Big Thanks to Nadia Zunarelli for putting this recap together and Mark Williams for creating the resource list!

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