6 best practices when it comes to working with developers

Once you finish designing, at least one or more developers will need to write the code to bring your designs to life. It’s a make-or-break stage of the product design process. 

The success of your digital product relies just as much on the development process as it does on the design. Learning how to collaborate effectively with your developers will not only result in a quicker turnaround time, but you’ll also position yourself to deliver a great product experience.

While developers may be considered power users, the process of designing for them is as important as with any other type of user. While developers are the people building new technologies, they also have specific needs as users.

Keep reading for 6 best practices when it comes to working with developers and learn how to set your designs up for success:

1. Prevent issues early-on

One of the best ways to ensure a smooth design handoff with developers is to make sure any potential issues are addressed before the handoff. This can easily be done by involving the development team in the design process early on. Send your developers’ early mockups and prototypes so they can point out any potential development issues your designs might present. 

By involving developers in the early stages of the design process, you can ensure the files they handoff will be going to present roadblocks to the finished product later on.

2. Use a design system

To make it easier when you hand off your design to the development team, as it streamlines the amount of coding they need to do. Design systems should include UI components like forms and icons, code snippets, design toolkits, and other resources that can be used across the organization. Once a design system is created, it streamlines the design of any digital product the brand creates and ensures consistency across all of them.

3. Reduce knowledge gaps

There are big differences in the way designers and developers talk about certain design elements and smaller variations. For example, you might refer to rounded corners in a design while developers would define that as a border radius. While in that instance you might be able to figure out what the other is talking about, not all terminology is so easily translated. By taking some time to learn more about the principles and conventions of the development process, you can ensure that you’re speaking the same language and on the same page when talking through your designs.

4. Streamline communication

Establishing clear communication methods and standards between you and developers early on can save a lot of time and headaches in the handoff process. Setting up dedicated channels in apps like Slack for discussing particular projects is a good place to start.

5. Clearly define user flows

Without clearly defined user flows, developers will need to guess how the product actually works and how users will interact with it. While some interactions may be obvious, many others may not be. This typically creates a lot of confusion and unnecessary back and forth between teams. Make sure to show developers the typical and atypical user flows and journeys through your product.

6. Don’t forget to schedule a handoff meeting

The best way to ensure a smooth design handoff is to have a handoff meeting with all involved parties. Take this time to go over the design assets, ensure that nothing is missing, and answer any questions. If something is missing, it can be identified immediately so that it isn’t discovered mid-way through the development process to limit progress or create unnecessary work.