How to Communicate Your UX Design Plans to Developers
Do you know how to communicate your UX design ideas to developers and other stakeholders?
Every user interacts and perceives differently - some have great tech capabilities while others don’t. Some love fancy colors and patterns from the 90’s while others are into minimalism.
Designers spend a lot of time on research and testing to perfectly serve users. However, many designers are facing a challenge when it comes to communicating their UX design with stakeholders in the company. Finding the right balance between what is achievable given tech constraints and offering a state-of-the-art UX to users is crucial. Who are the stakeholders that need to be involved in design process, prototyping and building solid design systems for your ideas? Among the teams that you will need to work with are product, marketing, developers and management.
UX plans should be as flexible as possible
Your UX plans should be as flexible as possible and open to criticism from stakeholders. You should view the entire process rather as a negotiation instead of an instruction. Including your stakeholders’ ideas and creativity will consider project constraints you may not have thought of. It is down to you to accept or reject ideas. Some of your own ideas may not be doable as developer teams will define technical boundaries that affect your plans to some extent.
Work in sync and use real-time collaboration tools
It definitely helps to invite developers at the very start of your design process as this will minimize surprises during handoff. It is a pretty common mistake to let designers do the work first without developers being involved. Therefore you should set up regular group meetings with all team members throughout the entire project, especially with development.
There is a wide range of tools that can be used during the design process, e.g. Figma, InVision or Adobe. Choose the one that is best fitting to your teams and process. Figma for example allows you to mirror code and design so developers can see code components.
Developers will be able to grab some snippets of automatically generated code and discuss them within their team. The “dev handoff” will be much easier as requirements were already known and potentially amended at early stage. You should run your entire concept past the developers so any potential clash with existing infrastructure can be identified when it is still easy to adjust.
Also, to optimize communication you should agree upon a channel with all parties involved in the process and establish clear guidelines for communication (e.g. frequency, format).
Dev handoff and expectation management
Once you are presenting your design brief you are handing over design documentation and define relevant metrics for the implementation of your plans. These should include timelines and expectations, even the specific individuals and their tasks. The brief should prepare your development team for the project stages that follow: coding, QA and launch.
Transmit your idea to both front and backend developers
The developers will perform their own analysis and use their skillset, which obviously differs from your own. Along the process both parties will have to find the right language – you need to transmit your design ideas while the developers should communicate their views and constraints. Many people think that UX designers just interact with frontend developers. If you are a great UX designer you also understand architecture and consider logics, dependencies and filters that are built by backend developers. Often designers create flow diagrams that can be implemented as code quickly.
Some of your ideas will not be implementable even though your research indicates a significant UX impact. As with anything in life, many things can be achieved – but at what cost? Your developer team will put your plans into a context that is rather driven by practicality and cost efficiency.
In this blog we learned that working hand in hand with developers from day 1 and setting timelines and expectations at handoff ensures that your UX ideas will become reality. Give your developers a chance to highlight potential flaws that your concept may have!
If you need help with UX design, UX metric monitoring or branding, shoot me an email
Have a great start into the week!
Conne Gil Morales, Software Engineer at Prisma Softwares