Design has a big impact on web development
You know that button on the website you want to change? The one that looks like it was designed in 1999? Guess what? It was designed in 1999 - and so was the underlying technology.
Occurrences like this are far too common, not just in regard to legacy technology but also with designs that need to be overlayed over existing technologies (Content Management Systems, development frameworks, etc). Every complex piece of technology has its own way of doing things and unless you are building everything from scratch (which has its own challenges!) you'll probably need to build around something.
So what's a designer to do?
- Learn about the Framework/CMS
- Lean on your developer to give you honest feedback and ideas
Learn about the Framework/CMS
Ask for an out of the box install of the CMS that you can play around with. This will give you time to play around with things and maybe even look under the hood to see how things are put together.
Lean on your developer for feedback and ideas
You'll want a developer who will catch the things that you might miss and bring them to your attention. This is indicative of a developer who cares about the project's success. Ideally a developer will bring up these issues in a respectful tone and offer helpful suggestions on how you might achieve similar results in a quarter of the time - but that's the ideal situation.
The reality is the developer may scoff at the design choices or be abrasive with their presentation. If you can get past that, you can often find common ground by asking for feedback on how you can makes things more efficient and being prepared to make some changes. It may require meeting in the middle, but ultimately both sides will benefit from a project that is conscious of development hours and at the same time brings the design experience home for the users.
- Design has a huge impact on project cost.
- It can be tough to be the last person to touch something.
- Developers think of design as black magic.
- Don't expect to earn points by suggesting technology solutions.
- Developers do have a horse in the race.
I'll be looking at each of these items in turn and talking about them in detail in a blog post over the next five weeks.