How Web Designers and Web Developers Can Collaborate

Contributed content / By Vartika Kashyap / 8 August 2019

Designers and developers must collaborate. Learn how designers and developers can work collaboratively and why they work better together. 

Great websites are the ones with great collaboration between developers and designers. In this article, we share advice on how designers and developers can work together to unify their workflow.

Web developers and designers are often treated as belonging to entirely separate disciplines. However, in any modern web development project, they are expected to work collaboratively to become productive and work efficiently.

How can they best work together?

In this article, we will answer that question and come to a basic understanding: By respecting the tenets of each other’s disciplines and developing a clear workflow, web designers and developers can work together to improve your business’s website.

Why Should Web Designers and Web Developers Work Together?

When a designer is preparing to deliver a visual to a web developer, it’s normal for them to wonder: “Is what I visualized even possible to develop? Does the developer understand the functionality that I have in mind? Will my developer agree with and respect my ideas?”

web designer web developer collaboration

Designers and developers that are able to work together are more likely to be able to answer these questions honestly and satisfactorily. And, the benefits of designers and developers that work together well are significant, and include:

  • A second set of eyes to look find flaws or mistakes
  • More creative brainstorming sessions
  • Improved focus on the mission and goals of the design project

When developers and designers fail to develop a solid working relationship, serious issues can arise, including:

  • A lengthier development cycle that increases costs and project inefficiencies
  • Errors
  • Tension between the priorities of individual tasks and shared responsibilities

Clearly, designers and developers should foster a respectful and effective working relationship to deliver the best web results.

How Do You Collaborate With a Web Designer?

Collaborating effectively with a web designer takes effort and understanding of their unique capabilities. Here are the main steps to follow to work well with designers:

1. Learn the vocabulary of visual design

Any product can be broken down into fundamental elements of visual design. If you are a developer, you are accustomed to dealing with a specialized vocabulary that allows you to communicate with other developers.

Similarly, digital designers have a set of core techniques and vocabulary. Becoming familiar with this lingo will make it easier to collaborate with designers.

2. Make constraints clear

Not all designs are easy to develop, and it’s important to be clear with your designers about what your development team can do. Make sure to assess designs and immediately make clear if and when something needs to be changed.

Many designers and developers use a proofing tool to make sure that any designs are achievable for the development team.

3. Establish a clear workflow

If you are a developer, you should learn and understand terms like sketching, wireframing, mockups, and prototyping. You must to identify wireframes and make your workflow clear to designers.

developer workflow

When you make a workflow clear to designers, you will be able to set clear expectations of how work will be done and how any abrupt changes will be handled. 

How Do You Collaborate With a Web Developer?

If you’re a web designer, make sure you understand how to make your designs actionable and simple for developers. Follow these steps to help developers do their best work:

1. Learn digital layout fundamentals

You should be comfortable with the basics of HTML and CSS if you’re involved with web design. Understanding the layout fundamentals will make you better at your job and will enhance your ability to communicate insights with developers.

2. Tackle a programming language

Being a designer doesn’t mean that you need a coding wizard, but having a basic understanding of programming language will you collaborate with developers effectively.

3. Communicate with your developers at a central location

Designers should support collaboration and help developers become involved at an early stage. Tools such as ProofHub and Slack provide a central location for designers and developers to collaborate to discuss ideas, manage projects, and mark changes in designs.

4. Create and use style guides

Developers tend to be process-oriented creatures who want everything documented. Style guides provide a useful mechanism to accomplish this. WooThemes, MailChimp, and Lonely Plane all have top-notch style guides. Creating and using a style guide for your project will provide helpful documentation for all stakeholders.

Web Designers and Web Developers Can Work Together

Getting your design and development teams on the same page from the start will make your web project far more likely to succeed.

By unifying their workflow and keeping lines of communication clear, web designers and developers can deliver an optimal web project.

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