The relationship between designers and engineers.

image by @kaleidico from Unsplash.

We all agree to meet the needs of our users, it definitely takes a collective effort from the designers, engineers, project managers, and everyone on the team. When working on a product, we have to be thoughtful about the “Why” we’re making certain recommendations. Designers need to acquire more than execution skills and possess soft-skills as well. We need to document well, and essentially go into meetings to communicate better, and Listen attentively.

On soft-skills, it’s essential to communicate earlier if you’ll be staying behind schedule on tasks else that can have a delayed impact on the ability of the Engineers to code and launch on time. Most importantly, we all need to be team players. Some designers often feel comfortable when working in silos, and then send that beautiful mockup to the Engineers for execution. My recommendation is to communicate with the engineers during design work. It’s safer to talk about the “Why” and get instant feedback when you work together in real-time.

Have an open mind to meet your engineers and discuss raw ideas before opening an artboard on that UI Design tool. Get your engineers involved earlier on with rough sketches so they can as well share their thought-process about the possibility of coding the idea. This brings everybody into the building process as opposed to just presenting pixel-perfect designs or Hi-fidelity mocks that haven’t involved everybody in the process.

Another strategy is sending out emails to the engineering team about feedback gotten from field research.

“Hey team, these are the feedback we learned from the users during the field research. I think they might be helpful with your building process”.

Another tactical idea is sparring (or sit down) with the engineers, and have them watch as you sketch these ideas. I found out that it’s a lot faster to trade ideas, instantly make iterations, and end up with lots of strong options. After this sparring session, the designer can then head over to work on pixel-perfect designs off the sketches. This beats designing in a silo and having to wait for a long time to get a long list of feedback from the engineers.