Design is a bridge between physical and non-physical and Designers try to bridge that gap. They have to visually communicate ideas and that’s a big challenge in itself. It requires a considerable amount of thought process and a good command over skills.
I hope we are clear with the roles of a UI/UX Designer first. Do they sit there on their photoshops just to make things look pretty? Or is there something more serious about their roles. I am not saying that making something look pretty is a pretty easy task, I am just saying that it is not the only task that they do. A designer has to wear multiple caps at different sets of time. To understand the idea they have to get into the shoes of Product owner first, they have to have a clear understanding of the problem the product is trying to solve. Secondly the target audience. They have to understand their needs, their problems and have to make their choices of everything from the choice of colors to the choice of fonts around it.They have to have multiple point of views and have to come to balanced conclusion that is going to take care of most user’s needs. Their job is to give that hypothetical idea a body, a personality.
“Designers don’t just make graphics they build experiences.”
Designer expects to be a part of the team. To be an important pillar on which the product stands. They expect to be taken seriously. But they are ‘egotist’ for most of the project owners and ‘crazy’ for most of the developers. There are many reasons to that perception.
Clarity of roles. A Designer role is not just to play with graphics, he/she plays an important part in the approach which is being taken to solve a particular problem. Many companies now understand the importance of a designer and include them in the early stages. They’re integrated into the team and hopefully given the leeway to experiment, research, and lead.
Designer style of working is different, they have to do research and look for inspiration before starting designing the project. It’s not a good idea to place the idea and asking for design the next hour. Because unlike coding there must be some room given to them for research and experimentation. This must be included in their workflow and must not be looked as waste of time.
A designer must be involved in a project from its very inception. From the client discussing his/her idea to the final delivery of the product. He/she must know the idea and the problem it is trying to address, by heart, even better than the project owners because sometimes it’s hard even for them to look from the user’s perspective, its designer’s job to keep them on the track. But in startups where there can’t be a designer assigned to every project. It’s hard for them to be a part of every single meeting and discussion. But that doesn’t make it less important. There must be a proper communication and they must be involved in every crucial meeting and decision making process. The team must keep them up to date, or must summarize the problem and must respect their feedbacks.
The relation between a designer and developer is like a bride and groom who have married through arranged marriage (let’s not get into which one is which one). They are total strangers and are unaware of each other’s potential. To keep the project (aka marriage) running both must be clear about each other’s role and most importantly respect each other and each other’s work. Their work is incomparable. Different genres, different problems hence different skill sets to solve them. A mutual respect makes it easy to work together and hence to build a better product.
“For developers, Designers shouldn’t be just crazy. For designers, Developers shouldn’t be just nerds.”
It’s a good idea if they can have a clear understanding of each other’s role before they got assigned for a project. They must work together, having a proper communication makes it a lot easier. Their target is same, to build a better product, it can only be achieved while acknowledging each other’s problem and trying to make each other’s life easier not complicating it.
In the developer’s defense, yes designers are the weirdest of species that anyone can work with. Few pixels make them go crazy. 1opx and 20px is like earth and sky for them. Yes it is very hard to make a designer happy. They always come up with flaws. But there is always a reason. Designers works with details and they always try to make it pixel perfect. More you will understand their way of thinking the more you will feel comfortable working with them.
The best advice that can help them work together is, Work with passion, own that project that you are working on, then you will try every possible way to set things right and you will definitely build a better product as a team.
Summarizing, Designers expectations from Project Owners and developers are simple.
- The project owners must understand designer’s role. They must be involved in crucial discussions which gives them a good look into the idea and helps them build a better product.
- The developers must understand when the designer asks him/her to make it 10px, they must not mark it as a crazy thing to do, they must regard it as important and must acknowledge designer’s needs.
- There must be some difference between a developer’s workflow and a designer’s workflow. There must be some room given to a designer to get into some research and experimentation. Because it can affect a product’s success on a huge level. It must be a part of workflow and must not be looked at as a waste of time.
- Designer must be taken seriously. Their feedback must matter and there must be some room for a healthy discussion.
- Designer must be regarded as an important part of a project. They must be involved in every crucial discussion and decision making process and must be allowed to put their point of views on the table.
And lastly there must be a mutual respect in the team. If we praise each other’s work and try to make each other’s life easier then work becomes fun and team becomes family and together they can create history.
By, Tanmai Sharma – UI & UX Designer Trainee