Bridging the Gap between Design and Development

Bridging the gap between design and development

Bridging the gap between design and development can be a challenging task, but several strategies can be used to ensure that the design and development teams are working together effectively.

What exactly is the design-development divide?

Simply put, the ‘design-development gap’ refers to the communication breakdown between designers and developers during the product development process. When a designer merely “throws the design over the wall” and dusts off their hands, the situation becomes especially severe in businesses where waterfall techniques predominate.
In this case, the gap forces developers to interpret the designer’s goal on their own. That gives plenty of leeway for off-brand animations, links that go nowhere, and rounded corners that are a pixel or 50 off.

1. Designers that create ‘impossible’ designs

Anyone who has worked with CSS knows it can’t accomplish everything. Designers who are unfamiliar with CSS and want to push their creative bounds can easily build designs in Sketch or Photoshop that cannot be transported to the web (easily, or at all).

Bridging the design-development gap in this case implies ensuring that designers understand CSS capabilities well enough to avoid building impossible solutions.

2. Extensive documentation

Documentation is one of the most popular techniques used to bridge the design-development gap: redlines, spec docs, component diagrams, and so on. Whatever your team labels them, they are all documentation, and they all imply that a considerable amount of effort is spent on something that no end user would ever directly experience. Of course, that does not mean they lack values; most digital products may benefit from the design, language, and development documentation.

3. Extended feedback loops

Even if your designers construct with CSS in mind and provide extensive documentation, feedback is unavoidable. And it’s always useful. However, if the loops continue for too long, they can deplete resources and have a negative influence on staff morale. 
Contrary feedback emerges from one cycle to the next, stakeholders muddy the waters with interpersonal arguments, and everyone loses sight of the overall strategy. Bridging the design-development gap in this case entails identifying strategies to eliminate superfluous feedback loops.

  • Communication is one of the most important strategies for bridging the gap between design and development teams. Regular and open communication between team members can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the design and development processes are closely aligned.
  • Collaboration is another key strategy for bridging the gap between design and development teams. Collaboration involves working together from the beginning of the project and throughout the development process. By collaborating, design and development teams can share feedback, brainstorm solutions, and work together to resolve any issues that arise.
  • Using a common tool is another strategy that can help bridge the gap between design and development teams. A common tool can be a shared design system, a prototyping tool, a project management platform, or a documentation tool. Having a common tool in place can help ensure consistency across the design and development process, and make it easier for both teams to work together effectively.
  • Clear documentation is another key strategy for bridging the gap between design and development teams. Clear and detailed documentation, such as user stories, wireframes, and design specifications, can help ensure that both teams have a clear understanding of the project requirements and design. Clear documentation can also help to ensure consistency across the design and development process and make it easier for both teams to work together effectively.
  • Creating cross-functional teams is a key strategy for bridging the gap between design and development teams. A cross-functional team includes members from different disciplines, such as designers, developers, and project managers, who work together to achieve a common goal. Having designers and developers working together on the same team can help to ensure that the design and development processes are closely aligned and that the final product meets the needs of the user.
  • Empathy is an important strategy for bridging the gap between design and development teams. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. By encouraging empathy and understanding between the two teams, designers and developers can better understand each other’s work processes and perspectives, which can help to build a better working relationship and create a better end product.
  • Flexibility is an important strategy for bridging the gap between design and development teams. Being flexible allows teams to adapt quickly to changes in the design and development process, which can help to ensure that the final product meets the needs of the user.

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Author's Bio

Sunil Vallala

UX/UI Designer with hands on experience in building ideas from scratch with the core belief that design is a catalyst for change in any business.

Razor sharp skills in executing a broad range of projects

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Bridging the Gap between Design and Development

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