The quality of any web project depends on the cooperation of the designer and developer. Yet their workflow is not always as smooth as it may seem. In this article I will give you some insight about differences between designers and developers; also I will tell you about their cooperation and how to make this cooperation maximally productive and pleasant for both parties.

Developer vs designer

Or in other words “aesthetics vs programming”.

It is extremely important to understand, who are developers and designers separately, before talking about their cooperation. Let’s start with some history here. Not so long ago, back into the 90s, there was no separation into designers and developers. At that time one person performed both functions. As technologies advance, people had to make a division between those who write codes in HTML and CSS and those who create a visual image of the web page. That is how “developer vs designer” relationships began.

Designer and developer workflow

Over the years, both designer and developer workflow are increasingly transformed and separated from each other. Today designer may not know how to implement in reality all the images he created as well as a developer can be completely unfamiliar with the work done by the designer. So when it comes to developing an app, for example, such a lack of information on the work of the partner often creates problems.Now, let’s briefly discuss how the responsibilities in the team are divided.


• Identify client’s goals and needs

• Understand what is possible and what is not

• Resolve usability concerns


• Address browser limitations

• Code it

• Troubleshot technical issues

How to work with designers

Here are three little tips that will help you understand how to work with designers:

1. Be patient. It is likely that in designer’s head there are a lot of ideas he is ready to apply to the project you are working on. Help him organize these ideas and discard unsuitable ones.

2. Be curious and ask questions. Try to understand designer’s point of view as clear as possible.

3. Be respectful. Designer’s work is as much important and as much complicated as your’s.

How to work with developers

And here are three tips, that will help you figure out how to work with developers:

1.Be concrete about all of your designs and ideas. They may seem pretty obvious to you, but remember, that developer must transform them from images in your head to an actual app. So, make sure that he sees the end result as clearly as you do.

2.Be aware of the work developer do. It is quite hard to find points of contact with a person whose work you do not understand. So, do some researches or simply ask the developer about how things look from his perspective. It will certainly make work easier for both of you.

3.Be respectful. Does it even need an explanation again?

Designer-developer gap

When it comes to collaboration, it is important to remember about so-called “designer-developer gap”.

What is it? As we already discussed, designers and developers have pretty much different tasks, when it comes to the project development. In case they do their work separately, they do often have a problem with understanding each other, which is based on the lack of communication. This is what we call a “designer-developer gap”.

How to bridge the gap between designer and developer? Here is some advice, that might be useful in this case:

• Involving developers in the process from the very beginning.

Even if there is nothing to see yet or you only started to work, let developer come all the way through together with you, so he could have a chance to understand your view better and you may get some good advice from him.

• Increasing overlap of knowledge

Again, you will have much better understanding of your work partner, if you are familiar with his work. Plus knowing your partner’s limits can help you to do your work better too.

• Creating a pleasant atmosphere for communication.

80% of the success of the project depends on the quality of communications, I do not think I need to add anything else here.

Read alsoHow to Build a Remote Development Team


Designer and developer collaboration

So, how would designer and developer collaboration look in a bigger perspective? There are two main ways of to organize the workflow

The first way represents a consistent solution of each goal: defining the concept, then designing, then developing. Although some companies are still using that way, it has a lot of undesirable consequences, such as: lack of communication between the team members (which can lead to a different understanding of the main objectives of the project and, as a result, the project itself will not be as good as it could be), increase in the number of conflicts (again, because of the lack of communication), etc. That is why most companies now want to organize their workflow the second way, namely simultaneous work of the designer and developer, which is based on the overall objectives of the project. It is much better for obvious reasons:

1. It doesn’t have all the undesirable factors, that are listed above.

2. It creates such a workflow when both developer and designer equally contribute to the project throughout the process of its development.

3. It practically excludes the designer-developer gap, as designer and developer work together hand-in-hand.

4. It helps concentrating on the main objectives of the project, as they are actively discussed over and over during the developing process.

Designer-developer workflow

So, according to all that was written before, that is what the perfect designer-developer workflow should include:

• High level of communication. We have already discussed it all over, but, whether you like it or not, it is all about communication. No communication – no work will be done properly.

• Respect in the team. Nothing will be done without it. Just remember, that your partner’s work is as complicated as yours. Never simplify efforts of another person especially if you are not familiar with their work.

• Trust. Trust your work partner to do his tasks in time. Make your work partner feel that you are worthy of his trust. It isn’t that hard, but it creates a very strong trusting relationship in a team and work becomes much more pleasant.

• Ensure proximity. Work together: at the same time, sitting at tables next to each other, working on the same piece of information. You will definitely have a lot of questions to each other during your work, so make it simpler for yourself and your partner.

• Remote working. In case you can’t be physically present and work along with your partner, you should anyway try to connect in some chatrooms or video chats.

• Concentrating on the problem solving.The main thing, that you should never forget is the problem you are solving, by working on a certain project. You have to put in the thoughtfulness of what the problem is first before designing or coding. That is what unites you and your project partner, that is what matters the most.

So, now you are completely prepared for creating some amazing projects with another person. Good luck with that.

Designers vs Developers: Is a Perfect Workflow Possible?
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