Web Designers: Don't expect to earn points by suggesting technology solutions.
Please don't get me wrong. Developers like designers who familiarize themselves with the technologies they are designing for. It saves time and energy, when first cut designs require little or no feedback from the development team. That said, dictating technology is a fast track to getting yourself removed from a developer's Holiday card list. This goes ten fold, if the suggestions are made without checking first in front of project stake holders.
So what do I mean? Imagine a scenario where you're in a meeting with a developer and the VP of eSolutions and he asks:
"What about mobile? I want to be able to see this thing on my iPhone!"
After cringing, the developer replies, "I'm not really sure about that. It may require some investigation." This is not your queue to shout out:
"...There's a module for that available in open CMS XYZ (which you happen to be using). I read about it just last week. It should be a snap to integrate."
And here's why:
- The module may be in beta
- It may be horrible code
- It may be the wrong base version of the software
- The VP may have been asking for an iPhone App, not a web app
Most importantly you may have just created a bunch more work that you aren't responsible for delivering.
So, if you are a designer who keeps up with technology, that's great. But keep in mind technology suggestions are much better when raised as technology *questions*. In the same way that developers shouldn't tell you the background color in a certain design should be red and not green, or that the font needs to be bigger - designers who want to stay on a developer's nice list should ask about technology, rather than dictating. And even that is best done back at the cubicle or behind closed doors.
- 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.