Fairytale app development — mastering the tension between design & code

Creative tension between development and design is industry lore. The worst case scenarios seem to rise straight out of a Grimm fairytale — minus the witches and fire-breathing dragons. Imagine the design team creates wireframes and mockups with a skin and functionality the client loves. Then when shared with the development team, they slam on the brakes.

Why? Maybe the design team developed work that doesn’t overlay well on existing backend data and processes. Maybe it was difficult to implement. Or maybe the problem is a simple one. The design team got too fancy for the needs of the solution.

Design and development go hand-in-hand

Relegate any creative tension between the design and development teams to the pages of a dusty antique story book, because the secret to effective, efficient UI/UX that saves clients time and sanity is bringing design and development together early and often.

It’s also important for developers to reconnect with designers along the way to avoid development at the expense of the user experience. Communication between the teams early on will ensure as little rework as possible is required. We all know what rework means. Double the work and double the cost.

Silence isn’t golden

Here’s what can happen when your development and design teams don’t talk.

  • Development can’t implement design work.
  • Costly rework is needed to align design with software norms informed by development resources.
  • A subpar solution is created that doesn’t leverage intuitive use patterns because collaboration was rushed.

Consider developers your second team of UI/UX designers

Developers, by the very function of their title and expertise, know their SDKs (software development kits) well. They know what a default button or text field on a certain software should look like. In other words, like designers, they know what users expect to see. The best software development partners leverage this understanding to create a system of checks and balances between developers and designers.

Collaboration is essential to render the design and development process as smooth as possible.

Developers can also recommend changes to design along the way to align with development best practices or intuitive use patterns that have become normative. Collaboration between designers and developers isn’t just about making the design better earlier. It sets you up to avoid problems you aren’t expecting down the road.

Want to hear more about a streamlined UI/UX process? Register for MobCon to hear our Creative Director Annika Seaberg speak on her approach. Listen to her share other tactics to make design better that don’t cost extra, how lean UX impacts project budget and the benefits of scope control (MVP definition).

Meet Annika

Annika doesn’t just work and play well with others. She leads them — to create memorable brand experiences that unite UI and UX seamlessly. Annika is a natural. She has flexed her intuition for human-first design through work with clients including General Mills, Adult Swim, Bridgestone, StarTribune and one of the largest medical implants providers nationwide. She is expert at identifying usable patterns and brings expertise working within HIPAA and FDA regulations all while completing the extensive documentation and adherence required for projects in the healthcare sphere.

Hear Annika speak at MobCon 2015.

Curious about avoiding other app disasters like the tension between design and development? Read our eBook.

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Header photo courtesy of Unholy Vault Designs.