Designers, be like Developers
User Experience and Interface Designing has evolved into a much more sophisticated art form. It is not just designing a presence for the World Wide Web anymore. It is a living, breathing life form that changes according to the circumstances, molds itself around user preferences, and conforms to present an experience that the target audience cannot deny. A lot of planning and research goes into this. Each and every section of a user experience is cultivated carefully so the user does not click the cross button, but instead click the ‘Call to Action’ button and generate a count for the company.
To get the desired result, a designer needs to work closely with the Developers.
Working with Developers
However much we plan, research, and work on initial design, all those efforts are wasteful expenditure if the site does not come out as envisioned after development. See, you have to understand the way a programmer works. Programmers do not work in WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) mode, mostly. They see lines of workable code and it brings harmony to their hearts, while designers visualize art forms and bring them to life by drawing, painting, handling (or manhandling) tiny pixels in a computer screen, and are quite discontent when their creations turn out a tad inaccurately aligned after development. Also, the design goes into a spastic mode when real content is placed. I am sure we have all experienced that at some point in time.
For this very reason, it is advisable that designers learn a bit of front-end development to smooth out the wrinkles here and there in their creations. The role can be akin to a surgical intern who would be called in to stitch the patient once the surgeon has done his job, at least until the time, designers become fully proficient in handling modern HTML and CSS attributes.
Technology companies that receive large projects from Fortune 500 clients could make use of this form of collaboration between Developers and Designers. In fact, they should encourage such bonding, for if the mockups that clients approve are not what they are when published online, they are not happy, and their unhappiness directly results in loss of future business (unless their Business Development Associates are master salespersons, just kidding).
Working with Content
Furthermore, we should encourage clients to provide us with as much content as they possibly can before the mockups are designed. As music is composed after the lyrics are written, so should the designing process begin after the content is received. Designers can easily blend the content while making the designs and the mockups would look exactly as the end product. What you see is what you get.
A design is in a pliable, flexible, adaptable form when inchoate. However, once the chassis is welded, a structure formed, its pillars erected, it is virtually impossible to make amends to the core design framework. And if one of those pillars is slanting, the framework is bound to draw displeasure from the target audience. While designers can learn a lot from front-end developers, so can developers too. Working in tandem with each other can really bring out the best in design, one which is elegant, functional as well as timeless.
This article was first published in dignitasdigital.com