The Benefits of a Cross-Functional Team
Bridging the gap between designers and developers is a passion of mine. With over 10 years of design experience, as well as 5 years of front-end web development experience, I’ve seen it all. From overly extravagant wireframes to design inconsistencies across various internet browsers, a lot can go wrong when members of a team do not communicate well.
It’s important to remember that both designers and developers are an important part of the creative process. It’s impossible to produce an excellent end result without effective communication and constant collaboration between designers and developers. That being said, there are a few things I would like to address from a designers standpoint.
Begin with the End Design in Mind
There are certain design aspects to keep in mind when building a CSS—especially now that responsive design is the industry standard. Ultimately, developers have full control of how the design and content are presented, so when it comes to specific design aspects, such as photography and animation, it is important to begin with the final product in mind.
In order to work more efficiently and create a better website, developers should inform the designers on best practices. Essentially, the development is what brings the designs to life. Developers ensure the presentation is consistent throughout the many different browsers, and this impacts different design elements. When it comes to animation speeds and image aspect ratio, communicate with the designer on how these elements will be impacted by responsive design.
Strive for Effective Communication
As technology advances, the process isn’t simply sequential anymore—the process craves fluidity. We have to be able to execute projects by responding to changes in real time which is why it is beneficial for agile teams to be cross-disciplined (or at least for everyone to have a firm understanding of each team member’s responsibilities and core competencies).
With proper communication and collaboration, we are able to fix potential problems early on in the process. Collaboration is valuable because it generates innovation and creativity which, in the end, yields truly extraordinary results.
Provide Your Practical and Logistical Input
Developers, always speak your mind. Ultimately, you provide the balance between what is logical and what is possible. You are the ones responsible for making the project come together. You turn a piece of paper full of photos, graphics, and text into a fully functional and responsive website that works well across all internet browsers. Although you're not the designer, don’t be afraid to give your ideas! Your input is valuable and helps the team reach the ultimate goal of providing an outstanding product to the client.
Designers need the space to be creative, but you are the voice of reason. Help keep the designers in check and the website within the scope of the project by communicating realistic and attainable limits.
In the end, it all comes down to one thing: communication—not just a brief handoff between a designer and a dev, but purposeful and helpful communication throughout the entirety of the project. From the first meeting about the site until the day of the launch, designers and developers should be constantly and consistently talking with one another and shaping each other into better members of a team.