Beth Motta Design & Marketing

How designers and developers can join forces to get the job done

web designer and developer

Whether you are a freelancer or full time employee, you may be asked to play the role of both web designer and developer for some projects. However, sometimes, you may be required to work along with someone else and only be responsible for one of these roles. Designers and developers can sometimes butt heads, so it’s important to learn how to work well with one another. Here are some ways you can work together effectively without killing each other.

Keep each other engaged no matter the stage of the project

As the designer: Send your initial design concept over to your developer BEFORE sending it to your client. Have your developer ensure that everything you’ve designed is technically feasible, such as layout, color, responsive functionality, etc. You don’t want your client approving a concept which will change during the development stage. They may be disappointed when they can’t have what you originally showed them. As the developer: In turn, send your developed layout BACK to your designer BEFORE submitting for client review and launching the site. Your designer should approve the final layout to ensure that the developed product matches the initial CLIENT-approved concept. In fact, you should keep your designer involved in your process even during the build. Don’t forget, designers know a little bit about the web too, and you shouldn’t out rule their input.

Respect each other’s  capabilities, expertise AND budgets

As the designer: If your web developer isn’t quite capable of coding a super advanced technical feature you’ve designed, or doesn’t have enough time in the budget to learn how, work with him or her to find a solution that will be more economical but still effective for the goal. As the developer: Don’t confuse, “this can’t be done” with “I don’t know how to do this”. Be honest with your designer about your capabilities or when something simply won’t work. Also, don’t get too frustrated when your designer sends you 200 nit picky design edits to make to your CSS file—which you may think looks great. Details like color, spacing, depth, typography and other subtle effects can really make or break a design. Straying too much from the designer’s original choices can destroy the integrity of  the original concept. You may not have the skilled eye to catch these details—but that’s ok, your designer will.

Communication is key to building a successful site

As the designer: Make sure your photoshop files are clearly organized and layers are labeled. Take a minute to go over your file setup, let them know where rollovers are, how smart object work etc. Keep in mind, your developer may also have a design background, so be open to his/her design suggestions if it will help site’s purpose. Remember, the project is for the client, not you. As the developer: Learn about each other’s knowledge with what you do and speak in terms each other will understand. Don’t try to be all fancy by throwing the industry terms around—you’ll may come off as condescending, without even realizing it. Especially keep this in mind when speaking with a non-technical client. They may not know what a “module” is.

Learn from each other and have fun!

The more open and respectful you are to each other’s responsibilities, the better you will be at your own job. This article may be mostly about designer-developer relationships, but can really cater to other job descriptions as well! Communication, open-mindedness and respect will make working together fun and you’re project will be a bigger success!

Read why BMD&M can be a great team to work with! 

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Beth is the owner, lead designer and developer of BMD&M. Beth blogs about design, development and DIY projects. When she's not blogging, she teaches as an adjunct instructor at a local college. Beth also tweets for BMD&M.

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