Not including your developer in the design process can lead to major problems. The problems can include designs being impossible to build (a.k.a. Unrealistic expectations), unnecessary technical complications, unnecessary features or effects that provide no value, confrontation between teammates, possibly days of revisions, or even a complete rebuild.
The biggest one of all and I’m sure we can all count on our fingers how many times we have had to do this -- How many of you have gone to web developer with a grand, innovative idea only to hear it wasn’t at all possible? ? I’m sure you all have. It’s the worst feeling in the world, and it reflects poorly on everyone on the team.
I am not going to lie and say this wasn’t something IMPACT struggled with at the beginning. Over the years we’ve realized that this is an extremely important part of our website design process that was missing, and we needed to fix it as soon as possible.
Here are 5 reasons why you should include your developer in the process to ensure a smoother website redesign.
1. Developers Help You Understand What’s Really Possible
How many times (that you know of) has your designer or strategist shot down their own ideas because of the limitations of their knowledge?
Hand raise. A whole bunch! (Yes, I was a designer at one point in my career.)
Not only are developers here to stop ideas that are impossible, but to reassure you that others are. They might suggest things designers or strategists like you may have said “this is impossible” to.
By including your developer in your website brainstorming, or at the wireframing stages (and definitely at the design stages), you can grow your knowledge, realistically strategize what your site should and can do to achieve your goals, and in the end, be more confident about its performance.
2. Developers Can Help Make Tough UX Decisions
In their jobs, developers have to focus on the little details -- whether it is the hover effect, what the body text link color is going to be, what style the buttons are going to have, etc.
Not only are the aesthetics important but just as is important, and maybe even more, is how is a section going to function not only on desktop but on tablet and mobile as well.
By being involved earlier in the web design process, your developer would be able to voice their expertise when it comes to the UX/UI experience. This will also prevent the developer from having to alter to design at development because they already know what is going to happen based on their conversations.
In the end, the project all falls on the developer, and they are ones who bring everything to life.
3. Developers Can Provide New/Fresh Insights
Designing day after day, a designer can be stuck in a rut and get tunnel vision. When a developer is brought in, they can bring a fresh set of eyes and ideas to the table that a designer or marketer may be overlooking.
If your developer works with others in the company, maybe they have tried something that is converting really well on another page or for another team.
4. Better Collaboration Leads to Better Experience
Stuck on a section of a page or a full page itself?
Grab your developer and have a discussion as you’re just starting your website design. Collaborating can help solve your creative roadblock and bring out issues that might have been overlooked.
By working together you can find a solution to the direction you were working on, or come up with a brand new direction after having a discussion and doing some research.
This just happened to my pod the other day -- Our IMC (Inbound Marketing Consultant) was having a difficult time coming up with the best UX/UI experience for a client page. We decided internally that we needed to have a quick 30-minute meeting to sort this out.
We sat down, took a look at the landing page, an example sent by the client, and others and came up with a few solutions that not only worked for the UX/UI experience, but hit what we were looking to do on the head and was easy to develop on all devices.
If we didn’t have this meeting, we could have potentially really missed the mark with the client and even made my job more difficult if I wasn’t given the wireframe before it was presented and promised to the client.
In the end, early collaboration was our best friend, and it can be yours too.
Unfortunately, a developer’s voice isn’t usually heard until it’s time to lay out the code, which is sometimes too far down the line after decisions have already been made.
In the end of the day, when you bring your developer in earlier in the process, they will feel more connected to the work, appreciate the project more, and be motivated to bring even better insights to the table.
So, How Can You Get Your Developers Involved?
At IMPACT, it’s with early brainstorm meetings. This discussion allows our developers to give any feedback, and/or ideas they have, and be there to answer functionality questions right away.
If a developer is busy, we record the meeting, so that they can listen to it when they have a break or need a brain break. We also schedule a 5-10 minute debrief, to get them up to speed, especially if there are functionality questions. I suggest you do the same -- or if we’d be happy to work with you.