We can all get along to improve the web

At Open, we have a belief that a designer does not have to be a website developer and know when to use an if, while, or else statement. And vice versa, we would not expect a serious PHP/Javascript developer to know about the finer points of typography and layout. Though as with all craft trades, the more you know about the connected strands of your trade, the better equipped you are to make informed decisions, both as a designer and coder.

This is especially true with website UX and UI design. Simple things that are taken for granted in the world of design for print, can be very complex to reproduce, or simply wont work for web. And if you throw in a CMS (content management system), SEO considerations, and responsive designing for multiple screen sizes, things can quickly get very complicated.

Open aim to marry the creative and code, and encourage cross discipline learning. This means that a designer can be thinking ahead to how potential technical pitfalls can be overcome and make decisions on things like responsive design, and even how the CMS integration might affect the final product. Both designer and developer can anticipate the requirements of each while working on a project. This makes for a smoother roll out,  and can also hugely boost creativity, leading to a better end user experience.

The Development team should be involved early in a project. They will have valuable input on both the potential pitfalls, innovative trends, functionality and any time sapping routes to avoid. Coders have to be sympathetic to the creative and have a high attention to detail during the build. This means that when the website goes live, it completely lives up to the initial design that was lovingly crafted by the creative team. Code can also be lovingly crafted. Making sure it is well marked up, semantic and avoiding hacks for work arounds where possible can be time consuming, but will create a more solid base to build a website on.

Here are a few tips for bridging the creative vs code gap:

  • Avoid jargon. Use language everyone is comfortable with. You know what you’re talking about but does your co-worker?
  • Where possible use visuals to communicate and explain. Show, don’t tell, people how things should look or work. If you don’t know how to explain something, bring a working sketch or wirefame your ideas.
  • Be open to ideas. Designers should accept design concepts from developers and take on board technical advice. And developers should be open to user experience ideas from designers. Keep communicating and brainstorming ideas with each other.
  • Learn more about how the other part of the web creation process works. Use the wealth of online videos and pages that will tell you how to improve your code and the best tried and tested UX/UI tips.
  • And, maybe most importantly, communicate and ask questions.

The differences between designers and coders would at first glance imply that web design and a web development are two very different jobs or roles. The left vs right sides of the brain.

But they can be very connected. We can all get along to improve the web.