A reflection on what I’ve learned about UX from my Developer friend
Sharing thoughts about UX Design with my Developer friend made me understand that, collaborating with developers is daunting and exciting at the same time. Developers don't like to be told how to do things. This is an insult to their intelligence. Then, how do you deal with it?
Designers and Developers often have very different ways of solving problems. Let's say a Product Manager set guidelines for what they expect from a finished product and what they want the users to get from it. Then, a group of designers like me comes up with a way to transform the PM vision into a delightful experience. However, when you deliver design specifications to the developers (files like wireframes, red lines, demos) they might say "There's no way we are doing this." Those impressive design features you just thought of as beautiful and delightful may require a lot more coding work than what was anticipated, and this makes it difficult or impossible to get it done by the planned launch date.
As a Designer, you might feel like they just do not want to trust your design decisions. As a Developer, you might feel like the designer is not well informed about technical limitations, project timeline, budget, and all that is in play.
There is a communication gap between Developers and Designers that needs to be filled. My friend says "...all we want is for Designers to communicate all design specifications as clear and detailed as possible so that we do not have to ask them questions over and over again." I came to realize that, to succeed in a project as a Designer, I have to make sure that Developers get what they need with the least friction. In other words, I have to master the skill of articulate design decisions.
Another clear vision that I have from observing my friend working is that developers love to see designs in motion. Communicating design with drawings, wireframes, and words works, but when something is not clear enough, an interactive prototype will do the job!
Both Designers and Developers have their own core competencies and responsibilities. You work together, you have the same goals, you are dedicated to the same project, you collaborate as much as possible. However, you need to respect each other knowledge and expertise. You got to establish mutual trust.