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Designer Life #5: Why Developers Hate Designers👩‍💻🤬👩‍🎨

And how to get along with them

Briandito Priambodo
Apr 17 · 5 min read

Designer life is a collection of learnings and stories based on real-life experiences of product designers. What is written may or may not resonate with you. Please take it with a grain of salt 🧂👌



1. We don’t speak the same language

How to fix: Communicate better by speaking their language

To communicate better with developers, we need to be able to have a proper conversation with them. To do that, you need to understand their language.

Interaction between two different species who don’t get each other.

Speaking with Android Developers

The easiest way is to refer to Material Design every time you need to have a conversation with them. All the components, guidelines, specs, and terms are there — they will always have faith in Material Design documentation.

Speaking with iOS Developers

Check out Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. Unfortunately, Apple’s HIG is not as comprehensive as Material Design. However, it is still the best reference to learn about designing for iOS.

Speaking with Front End Devs

For front end devs, learn about HTML & CSS. Try to understand what can be achieved using only CSS and what needs JavaScript in order to work. If your company uses React other similar frameworks, learn about components and how to make your design reusable.

Speaking with Other Devs

There might be lots of different job description for developers in your company. To better understand the technical terms and the technical process in your company, it’s best to learn from the Product Manager.


2. We design without their consent

How to fix: Include them early in the design process

Include the developers as early as in the wireframing phase. Ask them for feedback and let them try out the prototype. Discuss what is possible and what’s not possible to develop — let them take part in the decision making process.

Hey, I’ve done everything without telling you anything so just do it and say nothing, OK?
  1. The developer will more likely to do the same with you. If something went wrong they will ask for your feedback, and not decide on it without your consent.
  2. They will back you up if someone disagrees with the design solution.

3. We don’t empathize with developers

How to fix: Be considerate and empathize with them

Make them understand that you don’t just think about yourself, but also their interest. This usually results in an understanding between you and the developers. They will also ask you nicely if they need something to be fixed quickly.

Sacrificing other people’s deadlines to meet ours.

Empathize when you want to request something

Like us, they have deadlines too. Before you tell them to do anything, ask them about their availability and the effort needed to do the complex interaction you designed. Let them know if there is no time to do it, you can adjust the design to fit their timeline or have a further discussion with the PM.

Empathize when they disagree with you

Before you say something, listen to their reasons. Try to understand where they are coming from and don’t jump into conclusions. Have a discussion, not an argument — converse to gain mutual agreements, not wins or losses.

4. We don’t get personal

How to fix: Be nice, be good, be their friend

Most of the time, it’s just as simple as being nice. Working with a friend is better than working with a coworker who’s just as good as an acquaintance.

Do you even know the developer’s name?

Conclusions

Whichever tips you tried, I hope you learned something from this article. These tips are based on our experience as a product designer as well as some rants from the devs I know.

Developers don’t hate designers, they just need to be understood.


Designer life is a collection of learnings and stories based on real-life experiences of product designers. What is written may or may not resonate with you. Please take it with a grain of salt 🧂👌

Better Experience Design

Better Experience Design is a collection of arbitrary encounters with everyday things that have given us either delightful or stressful experience.

Briandito Priambodo

Written by

https://briandito.co - Product Designer and Writer

Better Experience Design

Better Experience Design is a collection of arbitrary encounters with everyday things that have given us either delightful or stressful experience.

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