The ultimate guide to working with programmers
Those who’ve worked with website programmers understand that while we wouldn’t be able to build digital technology without them, they prefer to work in their own unique way.
So, if you’re about to engage with programmers for the first time in your working career, here are some handy tips to help you get the most out of your relationship.
It’s all about the vision
About to begin a new project? Bring your developer into the early stages of planning instead of waiting until their part of the job needs to start. Why? Understanding why a solution is needed gives developers the macro perspective to assess shifting priorities as a project is underway. So instead of creating a comprehensive set of directions, a developer can share their perspective on how to find better ways to realise the vision.
Programmers do what programmers do
As stated earlier, the role of a website programmer is varied and the lines between, say a web developer and website designer, often become blurred. Our blog: What Does a Web Developer Do? can help you spell the difference. By getting to know the roles and responsibilities, as well as the limitations and opportunities of a developer, your creative relationship can take on a new and positive meaning.
How non-programmers should talk to programmers
There’s a two-step process when talking to programmers. Step one: Get down with the lingo. Educate yourself of tech vocabulary for non-programmers. Step two is the fun part. It involves actually talking to them. Now, tread carefully. Programmers are some of the most literal people on earth. Besides pleasantries, any task you assign them needs to be conveyed with precise, yet non-prescriptive language.
If you are reporting bugs in your website, use phrasing such as:
“As a __ user, when I do __, __ happens. I expected __ to happen.”
Here are a few examples:
“As a logged-out user on the sign in page, when I type in the incorrect password I get an error 404 page. I expected the error to be highlight on the sign in form and allow me to try again”.
Using this structure, called the user experience or story, is important as it allows the developer to reproduce the issue by defining the scenario in which it occurred. Creating a task called “login page has errors” is similar to saying “I live in Bowen Hills” instead of providing the specific address to your cab driver.
When communicating ideas, learning how to write a spec, use screen capture tools (we list the best ones in this article on Google Chrome Screenshot Extensions) and draw a wireframe can greatly improve the communication between you and your web developer or programmer.
As a final note, we think it important to share the quick guide to getting your developer on side. The strategy goes:
- When finding a desk for your developer, find them a dark and quiet place where they can get in the zone without distraction.
- They love a good challenge, but also want you to take their advice — they are the experts after all.
- They can easily be bribed. In our experience, chocolate and cheese are a good go-to.
- Show appreciation for your developer. These people often find themselves working around the clock to complete a project or are the first point of call at 3am when something “breaks” on a website. Not sure how to show your appreciation? We’ve got a bunch of cool gift ideas for web developers that you can pick and choose from.
If your business is looking to refresh or build a new website, get in contact with iFactory today. We are a digital solutions company based in Brisbane, with over 13 years of experience creating meaningful website design, digital strategy and digital marketing — so you can get the most of your new website.