Patrick Joyce

May 20, 2007

Rubber Meet Road: Working with Designers

Amy Hoy

Designers working with developers. We’re all nerds, but different types of nerds. We think differently.


Main question is What? they worry about form. they think about purpose (why does it have to exist). what does it do for people on a spiritual way. They worry about context. They only care about what the user sees.


We’re artists because we’re a little fucked up. code is just our canvas. - Kevin Clark

Question that guides us is How? Worry about connections - how things fit together. Worry about functionality.

Designers should be involved early and often. Even if it’s just you, you need to where a designer hat early.

Where’s the hand-off?

Need to have a feedback loop.

Discussion of different design process.

Ideal is having designers and devlopers meeting in the middle and working on the html/css views together

Start with really low fi sketches through grayscale comps all the way through full color fully photoshopped comps.

How to work with each other. You have to collaborate. Please don’t dictate. This is a big barrier. Telling other people what to do destroys any team dynamic.

Show, don’t tell. This includes technical stuff. Don’t tell your designer how to use svn, show them. Programmers are really good at imagining abstractions, normal people don’t train that part of their brain so much.

Don’t say: Can’t do that. Look for solutions, or explain why you don’t want to do it, and figure out a solution. Everything involves trade offs and designers can’t do their job well if they don’t understand the trade offs. Teach them.

Design is not fluff.

Dig Deeper. Designers need to explain the underlying need, not just the end result that they want. As a developer, ask them.

Rails - programming is hard, especially for the normal people. be kind to non-developers. Rails doesn’t make it harder than it need to be.

ERb is one of the best templating languages. Layouts, views, and partials can be explaind. AR objects can be explained to non designers. Designers can deal with code tags if you explain it to them.

Could be freindlier.

  • Write ruby code for your designers.
  • Create cheat sheets.
  • Write helper methods.
  • Comment the code.
  • Don’t forget to teach them svn


What about other templating styles like MasterView

She thinks its harder to see what’s going on.

Popular opinion is that there is a big divide between desingers and devlopers? What do you think that Rails does for this?

Ruby on Rails is pretty. It tries to make things human. This is a good thing for designers because designers care about appearance and rails is gordeous.

Where do you find designers?

She is working on a design collective. Note for designers: best way to improve career is to learn how to program a little.

How do you work with clients?

Keep things low fi as long as possible. Lot of interviewing up front. Iterative!

When you work with the client do you bring both developer and designer or just designer?

If they’re not the same person, absolutely. Just don’t let the developer talk too much (laughter0

Getting Real

Good thing to read. Clients don’t ever want to do that.

How about splitting AJAX between designers and devlopers?

Paper prototyping. Got to work together.

Wireframe tools?

Paper and Pen. She uses omni graffle for low fi computer ones.

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