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response to why devs hate designers

Friday, October 30, 2009

My response to this post on a friend/colleague's blog got really long-winded, so I'm using it as an opportunity to actually create content on my own site! Yay!

Now go read that article first. I'll wait.

Yes. And I'd like to add that the designer/developer relationship shouldn't be without friction. Without friction, there is no change; there is no innovation. But with too much friction, there is no progress.

Developers these days, particularly UI developers, cannot be the code-monkeys of yesterday who were generally happy building mind-boggling algorithms only to have the results dumped as a stream of ultimately meaningful, but cryptic numbers and letters. These are the devs who need requirements so granular that they actually read like source code, and who more or less disengage when presented with a visual comp.

Today's developer works with UI frameworks that make strong considerations for design, usability, and accessibility. And through better understanding of these frameworks, many developers have grown to understand and empathize with user needs. (These are the ones you need to watch for and hire before someone else does!) These developers understand that requirements and visual comps can only go so far and that communication with designers is crucial.

Likewise, software UX and UI design as a discipline has matured greatly since the days of flinging visual comps at the wall and seeing what sticks. Successful designers and developers will have passionate conversations that consider requirements, user experience, technology, timeline, budget, and where to go for lunch. There will be frustration and compromise, but it should be in the best interest of the user; not the designer; not the developer.

Luckily, I work in an environment that encourages such relationships and pretty much frowns on using our "designer" and "developer" titles for anything but distinguishing our roles in the eyes of the client.

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Blogger Lis H. ...

Great response and very insightful. I really appreciate your point of view as you've been in this realm and succeeding in it for so long. Thanks Lee! I will have more posts that hopefully will lead to more great Lee responses :-).

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