The Design Responsibility of Developers — Designer vs. Developer #5

The Design Responsibility of Developers — Designer vs. Developer #5

[MUSIC PLAYING] MUSTAFA: Responsibilities. We always hear everybody
is responsible for design. But sometimes it feels
like if everybody is responsible for
design, then nobody is. And it seems like a leading
question, but who would you think is
responsible for design? SERGIO: Well, I know you
don’t want me to say this, but everyone kind of is. And the idea is that
as cheesy as it sounds, you’re working
together as a team. And your goal as a
team at the end of it is to produce something good. Now how do you go about doing
that is a good question. In some cases, you have
these very isolated teams, almost like silos, where
you have the developers. And they prepare the design,
and it’s this complete thing. And now they handed off to
the developers to implement. You don’t really want
that kind of experience. I mean, I’ve had some
experience of that in the past. I work on material
components for the web. MUSTAFA: Yep. SERGIO: And so by the
necessity of that, that’s pretty much
what happened there because we had the
material design spec and then we had
to go ahead and we had to implement that
as different components for the web. That becomes a very
challenging process because I feel that the
interaction between a designer and a developer
should be a dialogue, not something where there’s
a prepared design that gets implemented because there’s
always something missing there. What happens in this
particular situation– MUSTAFA: And you
lose context, right? SERGIO: You lose context, yeah. And I think it’s
important for developers to bring some of that context
into the discussion as well. For example, when it comes
to platform specifics– MUSTAFA: Like the
behavior of the platform. SERGIO: The behavior of the
platform and all of the caveats that come with the
platform and all of the positive aspects of it
as well that you can really seize and put into your design. I think that’s an
important discussion. For example, when it comes
to things like topography, the web is full of problems
because fonts are big. And if you’re making your
end-users download them you’re going to have to consider
what happens while the fonts are downloading, what happens
once the fonts do download– do you swap in system font
by the downloaded font? Do you wait awhile before
you do that just so you give your user a chance not to
see that jarring transition? And these are all learned
things that as a developer you can help the designers
with, particularly if they’re new to the platform. MUSTAFA: Do you feel
that your responsibility is to support the
designer as well as being responsible for
the experience as well? Or is that just really based on
the relationships that you have the design designer
that you feel that you may have had to take
hold of that responsibility? SERGIO: I don’t
see it as much of an individual responsibility. Again, it’s kind of a shared
responsibility where you’re only really as good– both
the designer and the developer are only really as good as what
comes out at the end of it, right? Because you can have
the most amazing design and if it’s not realistic
to implement it according to the restrictions of
that particular platform you’re going to implement
it in, then it’s not going to work, right? MUSTAFA: So why call
yourself a developer, anyway? I mean, it almost is
like you’re one step away if you’re taking the
responsibilities of behavior from the user perspective
rather than from just a purely visual design perspective. But, like, how a user
is going to interact with the product or whatever–
and why not just be a designer? SERGIO: Well, I think it’s
really a matter of focus. As a designer, I
wouldn’t do as good a job as I do currently
as a developer. Whereas for a lot of
designers, it would probably be the other way around. So I think we can
frame the whole thing in a matter of focus. So I know I won’t be
doing design full-time. But I feel like I should know
enough about a designer’s work process, about a
designer’s tools, about a designer’s
language in order to be able to
collaborate with them and present problems to
them in their language and present solutions to
them in their language. The same way, I feel that
it’s useful for a designer to know a little bit
about development. Not be able to put
up a website together and ship it to production–
nothing like that, but know a little
bit about what it’s like to develop a
website based on a design so that they can
then communicate with me in a similar way. MUSTAFA: I mean that’s– I mean there’s a sort of
thing that Nick Butcher, one of the design advocates
out on our team– he talks about ceilings and
floors, especially when it comes to material design. And so some people see design as
developers see material design as a limitation. It’s a ceiling because
it makes you design products that look like Google. But his perception
and the way he sees it is no, it’s
actually a floor. You build up upon that. And I kind of see
the similarity. So, in a sense, the
designer and developer is– that’s the focus rather
than the limitation. Would you say that’s true? SERGIO: Yes, I
think that’s true. I think that it’s
important for us to know a little bit
beyond our own core jobs because that’s the only
way that you’re actually going to be able to
work as a team together. I mean, if you’re living
in different worlds, it’s going to be very
hard to work together. So– MUSTAFA: So you have
your specialism. But that’s the starting point
rather than the end point? SERGIO: Yes. Exactly. That’s what I feel. [MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 1: I think in that
case, it is not really limiting but it’s
more exhausting because you have to
have much more feedback loops with the designer. We can’t do this. What else do we
think would work? I can’t place the underline
in exactly that position because I don’t have
control over that.

5 thoughts on “The Design Responsibility of Developers — Designer vs. Developer #5

  1. Personally I feel the people most responsible for design are those who are very strongly experienced with the design processes, especially the processes that UI/UX designers use every day as user experience is a vastly complex field that requires knowledge of aesthetics, psychology, technical and social engineering.

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