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5 Reasons Why Developers and Designers Should Collaborate



    In recent times there has been an increased focus on encouraging collaboration between developers and designers throughout the design process rather than mid-way through or towards the end. Although it seems like a no-brainer, unfortunately this has not always been the case and still encounters resistance in practice. Although both developers and designers may have some legitimate concerns about disrupting each other's work and purity of the process, the benefits far outweigh the possible drawbacks.


    Sharing a vision

    In the modern world where digital presentations have transformed into artistic masterpieces, it is no longer sufficient for a developer to simply go off and code and hope for the best. There is a need for the design and development process to be tightly integrated with a common vision driving the work forward. It is important for both the developer to understand and buy into the vision of the designer, but also for the designer to be aware of the possible limitations and general principles of development work.

    Instant feedback

    It is rare that any business today has the luxury of having one department complete an entire piece of work, submit it for review to another department and have the whole thing sent back to be almost completely redone. This can be avoided by tightly integrated collaboration between developers and designers, ideally in the form of literally sitting-in on the process together (if this is not possible physically due to virtual teams, it is still possible through the use of video-link software such as Skype and even screen-sharing programs). The benefits of instantly being able to work around a particular stumbling block between design and development (as opposed to trying to work through 100 of them at the end of the process) are immeasurable.


    Knowledge sharing

    Another huge benefit of close collaboration is knowledge sharing. Although developers and designers don't necessarily need to become experts in each others' fields, the advantage of knowing each other's work processes more intimately cannot be stressed enough as it can lead to huge efficiencies down the track. A designer who is more aware of the limitations (and capabilities) of developers is likely to tailor his/her work to these which makes the entire production process more streamlined as there are less obstacles along the way. Likewise, a developer who is more aware of the design process will be more prepared and possibly be able to make recommendations and find solutions that wouldn't otherwise be possible.

    Creativity dividend

    Two heads are better than one – it is impossible to measure the increase in creativity that occurs when multiple people work on a project rather than one sole employee. The exchange of thoughts and ideas can potentially lead to a far superior product than was initially envisaged by either side – sometimes a fresh (even if unqualified) perspective can break a deadlock in the thought process.

    Time saving!

    More of a consolidation of the above but warrants mentioning on its own - the time efficiencies to be gained as a result of close collaboration between developers and designers and the resulting benefits as discussed above are priceless!

    How to start?

    The best way to start is by getting both teams set up together on a comprehensive project management tool such as Active Collab, which will allow them to track different stages of the project with various workflow views available, communicate with each other in open forums and through targeted posts (the @mention function works a treat for this) among a host of other very handy and user-friendly features. Once the base is set-up, the team can look at a host of other software options and decide what will allow them to integrate their processes most effectively. Happy collaborating!