The biggest problem one faces in web development or digital product development is the gap between the design and development teams. Having a tool to resolve this problem would be great. There are so many excellent tools that are available which can address some of the issues. Unfortunately, we have not yet found a tool which can address all of them.
Understanding the Design-Development Gap
In a nutshell, the gap we are talking about is nothing but the gap in communication between the designers and the developers. You will encounter this problem during the product development process.
If the waterfall process dominates your company, you will definitely face this problem. The main reason why this might happens is because the designer thinks his work is complete once the design is ready. He hands the design to the developer with no intention of working on it again as he put so much time and effort into creating it. The developer might not like the design as it does not match his requirement. This issue can be solved easily if there is proper communication between both the parties. A communication gap can cause confusion as the developer does not understand the real intent of the design.
It not only create chaos, but it can also cause several other failures. For example, it can give space for off-brand animations and links that are terrible. You might see rounded corners as they can be a pixel or 50 off the mark. These things can take a toll on web development or a software development project.
If you assume that the design-development gap plagues only the waterfall teams, you are wrong. Any organization can encounter this kind of obstacle when there is a lack of experience as well as mutual effort.
Key Problems You Might Face
Issues that come from this design-development gap are numerous. These are some of the main problems that your team might encounter.
Problem 1 – Not Knowing the Limitations
Anyone who knows CSS pretty well also knows the limitations of it. It is quite evident that you cannot create everything using CSS. However, some designers do not know the limitations of it. They juggle a lot to ensure that they get the design that they want. To achieve this, they might make the designs using Photoshop or Sketch and assume that it is easy to bring it to the web. In reality, this is nearly impossible.
Bridging the gap here includes helping the designer understand the capabilities of CSS. It is the only way he will avoid designing an impossible solution.
Problem 2- Documentation That Consumes Time
The best way to bridge the gap between the design-development gap is to maintain proper documentation. Redlines, component diagrams as well as spec docs are some of the documents you need to maintain. You might call them by different names, but the purpose of the documents is the same.
These tasks seem to be time-consuming even though some of them bring value. Generally speaking, almost all the digital products benefit a lot when you use documentation related to the design, language, and development.
Redlines, for example, can take a lot of your time and effort to create, therefore, check and remove the documentation that is not necessary. It is best for you to find ways to find the fastest as well as the easiest ways to document.
Problem 3 – Lengthy Feedback Process
Feedback is one thing that is inevitable and is valuable. Even when the designers have CSS at the forefront of their minds and even when they document all the details. If the loop is too long, it can negatively affect employee morale, and it can also drain most of your resources. It is common for you to also receive different feedback from different people. Engineers can lose sight of the overarching strategy, especially in meetings when the stakeholders disagree with one another. It is imperative for you to find ways to remove the additional feedback loop.
Ways to Bridge the Gap Between Design and Development
You can easily understand the nature of the problems that one can encounter during the design-development process. There are a great many tools to help resolve the problems that you encounter. However, the best way to resolve most of the issues is by improving the communication across the teams. Digital tools can be of help to a point, but you should rely more on interpersonal skills. Now, here are the tips that can help you solve many problems at the initial stage:
Tip 1: Early Communication Is the Key
Designers and developers need to work together from the time they begin the project. It means a lot more than communicating on the GitHub tickets or sharing files on Sketch.
Designers should talk about their designs to the developers. Let them look at the designs at an early stage and point out the gray areas. Find and finalize ways that will work well for you with regards to communication. Use various communication channels to discuss several things including specs and changes. Now, your communication can be a lot more effective when you take care of these items.
Tip 2 – Adopt Agile Design
Being agile can help more in eradicating communication problems than you might think. You need to have people working in cross-functional teams. Involve people who have specialties in various streams of a process. It can help them significantly to understand the process and erase the problems right when they are budding. Both the designers and developers will be able to communicate better with each other as a result.
Tip 3- Speak their Language
Designers and developers should know each other’s work to some extent as it can help open up a dialogue between them. It does not mean the developers should know how to code. It is helpful if they know how to do it as it can help them to share insights that can greatly assist the designer. In the same manner, a designer needs to understand what a developer can do. Knowing the possibilities of what a developer can do with the interface can be quite helpful to the designer.