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Developers and designers, you can stop fighting now

Developers and designers
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Developers and designers, you can stop fighting now

Tons of articles out there already debate whether designers should know how to code. This won’t be one of them.

In 2017, designer Samson Ng and developer Justin Lau declared, “Developers are from Mars, designers are from Venus!” in reference to the infamous friction between developers and designers when collaborating on projects.

So we asked software developers what they believe designers can do to improve working together. 

For Ofonime Francis, a software engineer at CcHub Design Lab, Kigali, his major challenge when working with UI/UX designers is communication. “But when using communication channels to accurately pass down information,” he says, “It makes development a breeze. And one can quickly come back to it if they got lost.”

Complaints from designers and developers show that miscommunication leads to division in approach. Developers encourage designers to use tools that make it easy to understand their design choices. Francis recommends Figma which he says is “perfect for collaboration.” 

“Developers,” he says, “Can easily share their thoughts on the project directly by adding comments to the board. Even new developers can quickly jump on the project with minimal fuss about what the project does.”

Aesthetics vs functionality

To Aiki Ifeolowa, a backend developer at Liteinnovations, “Designers often feel that developers are magicians. Projects can get delayed when UI/UX people don’t fully understand the perfect tradeoff between aesthetics and functionality. They should try and learn a little about coding. It will help them understand the struggle.”

While coding may not be essential for UI/UX designers, understanding the way things are built can help designers understand the developers’ perspectives and pain points, and build better synergy. 

Understanding what the user needs

According to Usability, user research focuses on understanding user behaviours, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. 

While UI/UX designers are trained to understand the behaviour of users and the best iteration that works for them, two fallouts can occur during research – either research is inadequate or developers are left out of the loop. 

“User research is very important,” Ofonime says, “And it makes sense for designers to do a lot of research before diving in, to prevent them from coming back later with use cases they didn’t consider during the initial design. This is important because it prevents developers from the stress of reshaping the architecture of the app or rewriting models to fit the new design.”

Instead of handing off designs to developers, they should be involved in the user research process. Just as designers are advised to have an understanding of how code works, it is necessary for developers to know about user experience.

Designers and developers are responsible for the two core parts of a product: aesthetics and functionality. Their ability to blend these roles will help lessen the conflict between developers and designers, and improve their shared understanding of the right decisions to take while building products.

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Lydia Ume is a marketing content writer for tech and marketing companies. When she’s not helping brands build a relationship with their users, she writes about arts, culture and innovative tech in Nigeria.

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