Teamwork: How web designers and developers work together successfully

Designers and web developers should always work hand-in-hand on a project. Sounds coherent and you might think that the workflow is the same. Unfortunately this is not the case too often.

The designer designs the layout, works on new buttons or typography. The web developer, on the other hand, ensures the implementation of the design with his code. But here lies the rabbit in the pepper, because this division of labor can cause problems, under which the final design will suffer.

However, if the two areas of design and development work together from the outset, a result will come out with clean code and great aesthetics. It is also expected that only a fraction of the time will be spent as there will be little rework to do in this way.

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Designer and web developer


Designer and web developer

Designers typically use programs like Photoshop to design a web design. Web developers, on the other hand, have the task of implementing the designed design with HTML, CSS, jQuery, PHP and other programming and markup languages. In a design agency, they often work in the same room, but they can work on a project in different countries as well.

Neither of them usually has sufficient skills to make a complete website complete. Therefore, both professions should work hand in hand and coordinate with each other to get the best results.

Advantages of cooperation

The most important reasons for close cooperation are both the rapid progress of the project and the optimal result. Designers should know quickly if a particular part of a layout is technically unworkable. Web developers, on the other hand, need to know how exactly they need to work in order to be able to implement a desired design as one-to-one as possible. After all, the interactions of a web project not only have to fit in technically but also look appealing.

If interaction designers are involved in the project in question, they must also be brought into the boat. If you have all employees in the house in an agency, you can hold meetings of your colleagues. That’s the best case. But even if designers, developers and interaction designers work scattered across all countries, Skype conferences can be held and files sent via Dropbox or other services.

The benefits of working together at a glance

  • Another pair of eyes can detect any errors.
  • Creative brainstorming makes for a more sophisticated design.
  • Designers and developers get to know each other’s problems and concerns.
  • A design from a single source. All things fit together, no compromises are visible.
  • Each of the parties is much better able to translate into the other profession.
  • A variety of ideas merge together to form an optimal whole.

Are there any disadvantages of working together?

Who would believe that there could be no disadvantages of a collaboration between designer and developer, that would be quite naive. Because they exist. But there are not many disadvantages, you get them quickly under control.

  • The cost of a project can increase slightly, especially in the case where the parties are not working together in an agency. Then it will need tools to share the files of the project, as well as telephone conferences. The effort is usually to get over.
  • Of course, there are also people who just can not get along with each other. However, we are all adults and can regulate accordingly.

A clear communication


Designer and developer

Everything starts with a clear communication. Web designers and developers first have to think about the project, the big picture. This applies to all decisions about the entire creation process of the website. Of course you will not win every fight, but that’s not the point. Good cooperation is like a working marriage: you have to make small compromises over and over and choose the most viable option for both parties.

If designers and developers are in an agency in one place, it would be a great start to go out to dinner or have a coffee. Get to know your new “partner” thoroughly before you start working. Talk to him through workflows and agree on a common process. Because that benefits both.

Everybody involved in the project should also check from time to time if the project still has the “red thread” and is within the given timeframe. If criticism is appropriate, it is really important to make it as constructive as possible. Nobody should be hurt by the criticism, it always applies to the project. Therefore, be always open for feedback and constructive criticism. It will only improve you and the project.

Important tips for designers and developers

5 tips for the designer

  1. Give the developer a short but concise introduction to the design theory of the project. This will help the web developer understand where the aesthetics come from.
  2. Always look at the interactive elements completely. All stages of interactivity must be designed.
  3. Only completely design. Do not expect the developer to copy and then edit things. If something is not there, the developer can not implement it.
  4. Please help. If you are not sure about a specific font or similar, just ask! Your developer will thank you.
  5. Always deliver all files in a file format that can be used by the developer, and ensure that the resolution is sufficient.

5Tips for the developer

  1. Teach you the basics of design. A foundation in the design with the most important technical terms is a good thing to be able to work better with the designer.
  2. Be honest with yourself and confess when you can not implement certain things. Let the designer know sooner rather than later.
  3. Ask questions and help your colleague throughout the design process.
  4. Be involved in the design process right from the start. Also brainstorm with design ideas if you can think of something. Especially when designing a user interface such ideas are always welcome.
  5. Stick to the integrity of the design. This also applies to parts or areas that you do not like. Do not change the point of the layout without consulting, otherwise you’ll make enemies. Changes are only made after consultation and for technical reasons.

These skills should be designers and developers


Web development

To narrow the gap between designers and web developers, both professions should take on a small part of each other’s skills and speak their language as well. Web designers and developers should complement your skills. In order for us to understand each other correctly, we do not expect to study the abilities of the other, only a solid basic knowledge that can be acquired quickly, at least with some support from the other occupational group.

Every designer and every developer should have the following skills:

  • Understanding the principles of design – such as colors, whitespace and typography
  • Optimum image formats and file sizes
  • A basic knowledge of HTML and CSS
  • Use of webfonts
  • Trends in design and development
  • Understanding what users want and need
  • Knowledge of grids, frameworks and wireframing

TLDNR: There is no other way

  • The final product gets much better. Ideas flow together and form an optimal whole.
  • The development process is faster when designers and developers agree. Any change in design or code can be quickly adapted to the project.
  • Any errors are found faster and can therefore be fixed faster.
  • Designers and developers grow together. This holds great potential.
  • Every part of the website looks like a one-stop shop.
  • There are fewer problems, because everyone in the other can “put in”.
  • Optimum cooperation saves money. The development process accelerates noticeably.

My conclusion

The question is not really whether and why web designers and web developers should work together, but how. At the same time, this clarifies the question of how the creation process of a website or web application can be improved. Only when we understand each other’s tasks can we work together effectively, swiftly and purposefully.

Because at the end of the day, both designers and designers have only one goal: to create a very good website. The process, however, is fluent. Because web design is web development and web development is web design. That has to go in the heads.

The development of a really good website has become increasingly difficult in recent years. Creating a good website is a big hassle. The competition does not sleep and the customer requirements are getting higher. But if we work hand in hand, we master this task optimally.