Too many website building activities focus on handing a design over to a coder, answering any questions the coder may have, and then sitting back and waiting for the deliverable.
Unless you have given the coder design details down to the pixel level, and doable, and the coder knows his business well, the deliverable may leave something to be desired.
Design and coding are creative activities. It only makes sense that if the creativities of both parties can be shared, through a good workflow process and a strong collaborative effort characterized by timely feedback, the end result will be a superior design.
Let’s look into how this can be made to happen.
Planning a Project
Plan, plan and plan again
Planning a project is not only important in itself, but it also provides the best opportunity for the designer and the coder to being working together.
Handing off a design to the coder along with a list of specific requirements, and awaiting the result, may work for a very small project; although it is not the best approach. Taking a similar approach with a large or complex project almost guarantees that the project will become a fiasco.
As a minimum, a project plan needs to be put in place. The plan should include cost and schedule estimates, and either reviews or provisions for timely communication and feedback.
We contacted Xfive to find out how they approach development work. We chose this 10-year old development agency because of the impressive development work they have done for a number of major corporations.
This is what COO Milosz Bezala had to say:
“We believe the pre-development part of the project is almost as equally important as the development itself. In Xfive, we are dedicated to understanding the customer’s needs from the early discussions on the project, so that later on, our project management team can choose the proper solutions for each client.”
Milosz Bazela and his team discussing a project
Tips for Preparing a Design for Coding
There are several things you can do up front to help the coder and keep the workflow moving along at a good pace.
Pixel-Perfect Design is Best – The coder can only go into as much detail as your requirements allow. Specifying precisely what you want saves everyone time. This includes providing exact details on such items as margins, paddings, colors, and font usage.
Follow Photoshop Etiquette – This can sometimes involve a good deal of housekeeping. Naming and structuring your files is critical. Take time to align text, images, and design elements properly. Remember that a misaligned element or any similar mistake will also be coded!
Keep the Lines of Communication Open – This significantly benefits the coder, especially when questions arise, if the coder has a suggestion, or you need to make a change. A minor change can create a major expense when it is late in the game.
Developers preparing a roadmap for designers
Provide Design Information for Interactions – Make certain that design specifications for interactions such as sliders, hovering commands, and drop down menus are detailed and complete.
Understand Development Technologies – You should understand enough about development practices to know which of your design features will be straightforward to implement; and which may not be.
Keeping Time on Your Side
It’s often the things you neglect to do that can make time your enemy. A lack of up-front planning, meaningful estimates to work with, or open communication channels, will have a negative impact on transparency. When this is the case, as the development process proceeds, sometimes in fits and starts, the clock can easily become your enemy.
This is how Xfive addresses the issue:
“Although we have developed some pretty advanced time management skills during our ten-year experience, and each project has its Project manager, we only count the development time. This is because we believe that quality project management is not a service, but a norm.
If a customer is in a hurry, we either include additional developers, or discuss it with the team and add some extra-hours on the schedule. We believe in flexibility, since every project has its own traits. We try not to cause a situation when the time is running out because of our precise estimation process focus and the clear reporting on the burned hours on each task”.
To deliver successfully, coders and project managers must collaborate closely
This 10-year old software development agency is an excellent source of information about workflow practices and designer-developer interaction. Xfive’s staff consists of professional software developers and project managers. This team offers its services to a worldwide clientele, and it is supported by offsite coders and freelancers.
A reason Xfive stands out among its competitors is its corporate culture.
The team sees themselves as an extension of the design customer it is supporting. Xfive’s culture is a caring and energetic one; a culture punctuated by high fives.
No matter the size of your project, feel free to ask the team for a quote. You’ll find yourself partnering with a development agency that cares, and is a pleasure to work with. You can also expect to receive quality, cost-effective deliverables – every time.