Design and development are two different states of mind. To get a project out the door, however, they must overlap. We found this truism while developing our new Spec Mode feature, which allows designers to assign code to different elements in their UXPin prototypes.
Both designers and developers have key differences — and understanding these differences is the first step to bridging the gap between worlds.
(Note: this list applies to designers and developers in general based on our experience talking to both camps, and is not intended as a hiring guide or career affirmation.)
- Designers design for the majority of users. Developers sweat over edge cases.
- Designers rely on experience to guide their intuition. Developers rely on experience to avoid repeating mistakes.
- Male designers’ beards imply “trendy.” Male developers’ beards imply “long hours.”
- Designers tend to avoid object-oriented code. Developers tend to avoid color theory.
- Designers inspect each other’s work. Developers inspect with the browser.
- Designers know enough code “to be dangerous.” Developers agree on the last phrase.
- Designers translate their ideas for clients before designing. Developers showcase their work after developing.
- Designers seek solutions on Dribbble. Developers seek solutions on Stack Overflow.
- Designers see PHP as the means to an end. Developers see PHP as the end of their means.
- Designers use bold colors to express emotion and mood. Developers use bold colors to highlight syntax.
- Designers debate Wacom tablets vs. mice. Developers debate keyboard brands.
- Designers strive for pixel-perfect visuals that only they will notice. Developers strive to eliminate bugs that only they will notice.
- Designers redesign parameters. Developers redefine parameters.
But it’s not all divisive. Both groups have a few things in common. They:
- Try to speak each other’s language, with varying degrees of “huh?”
- Sacrifice their wish list to the altar of impending deadlines.
- Balance gut feelings with logical decisions.
- Glad that Rogue One doesn’t disappoint.
- Swear by their favorite tools.
- Swear to finish on deadline and under budget.
- Swear at iTunes’ user interface.
- Read Smashing Magazine.
- Balance desire with practicality.
- Mentor their peers, interns, and recent grads.
- View “inbox zero” as a nigh-unreachable state of zen.
They have their differences, but they also have their similarities — most notably, a common desire to do great work on time and under budget. The more they acknowledge their differences, no matter how small, the sooner they can learn to work together more efficiently, eliminate guesswork, and build great products together.
So where does your team overlap?