3 Skills Designers Must Have To Work Better With Developers

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Designers and developers need to collaborate to create functional designs. In the absence of efficient skills, synergy, and alignment, companies are bound to give their users poor engagement that will lack skill and efficiency. While design and programming are different disciplines, there are crucial skills that developers and designers can adopt from programming. These skills play a vital role in helping designers and developers enhance their productivity.

When it comes to design and development, various companies have differing organizational formats. Big companies are bound to have two specific departments within which complex sub-groups get found. For instance, these can be front-end and back-end developers. Smaller brands may have both developers and designers working in the same department, and probably sharing duties. Regardless of the departmental format, the importance of collaboration between these two professionals cannot be over-emphasized. It helps them work together towards bringing out the best in design.

Today, both development and design are becoming more refined and specialized. There is a growing need for designers and developers to understand each other's disciplines. This can be a recipe for one of them to feel intimidated, and calls for immediate action to help promote teamwork between these two professions. Why is it important for both developers and designers to understand each other's skills?

·         It gives designers the opportunity to tackle the workflow and make a few alterations on their own with minimal struggle. For instance, they will not need engineering skills to change a button's color.

·         It enables developers and designers to understand each other's language.

·         It is necessary to understand the limitations and possibilities of design.

·         It enables designers to comprehend the medium on which they are designed for better execution.

Now that collaboration between designers and developers is paramount, what skills should designers have to enhance their relationship with developers? The following three are crucial.

1. The terminal/command line

It is important to understand the functionalities of the terminal/command line. Different operating systems have their way of describing terminology. On Dos-based and Windows systems, it is referred to as the command line. On UNIX-based and Mac systems it gets referred to as the terminal.

Graphical interfaces play the role of intermediaries for what happens inside computers. Through understanding how to utilize terminals efficiently, developers and designers can comprehend a computer's operations and thinking capabilities better.

It is much faster to complete specific tasks using a terminal as compared to menus and graphical applications. Also, terminals allow access to numerous scripts and commands. The process of installing an application is a common terminal task which can be accomplished using one command, rather than having to maneuver through the synaptic manager or software center.

The terminal can get used for simple tasks such as running build tools such as Webpack or Guld, navigating around file systems, and connecting to a remote server. A terminal is a genetic tool which makes it convenient and comfortable to use, whether one decides to use it heavily or lightly. Understanding the terminal is important for both developers and designers. It makes them collaborate better. The terminal enables designers to run developer-specific local copies on their machines. The GitHub desktop app is quite potent, and it is naturally a terminal-first system.

2. Git/GitHub

Git is a valuable tool that is usually wrongly explained. This gives many people the notion that it is complex and difficult to understand, which is not necessarily true. Git can get referred to as software that syncs and tracks all alterations made on files. This begs the following questions: how do two people working on the same project from different computers keep it synced between them? If they were to make any alterations, how are the files merged to form a single version? Git provides designers and developers with answers to these questions.

Git can be efficient with or without collaborators. This system comes complete with an additional layer of security. For instance, if after working on a project for various days a designer decides to change course, Git enables them to retain their progress while retrieving the changes. This gives them the opportunity to experiment extensively with many copies per file with minimal hard drive overload.

GitHub is a cloud development platform whose inspiration is derived from how people work. The software has gotten incorporated within Git. Today, developers utilize GitHub as the default standard for version regulations. It comes with a desktop app to give users the convenience of using it with an appealing visual interface as compared to the age old typing of commands in the terminal.

Git gets often used for code tracking. Designers will perhaps use it to track codes while working with developers. Git is an all-inclusive tool which can be used to version design work, and to track any file.


HTTP, Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the backbone of the web. Despite the fact that HTTP is used every time to make Ajax requests or document transfers, some web developers have very little knowledge about it. REST, or Representational State Transfer, is a simple way of organizing engagements between self-reliant systems.

Requests come in four types:

·         POST

·         GET

·         DELETE

·         PUT


A post request gets used when clients wish to repeat a process on the server.


GET is the easiest HTTP request method. Browsers use them each time users click a URL or a link in the address bar. It advises the server to relay to the client data that has been recognized by the URL. A GET request does not prompt data modification on the server side as it is read-only. However, it can modify data once the client receives it.

DELETE and PUT requests are used for deleting or updating already existing information. They are also not very common.

Various requests are made to the same address to execute various tasks. For example, a GET request made to requests that are different, can be addressed to the identical address to execute different actions. For example, a `GET` request addressed to `example.com/user/2` may restore data about the first user to that website. However, a PUT request to the same address may change the user's data.

While these actions are easy, combining them can define any web application and service. A glance at Twitter’s developer documentation depicts a series of PUT and GET requests. Besides, what clients develop happens to be a visual interface that gets built on REST requests.

When developers and designers understand the HTTP response and request system and the operations of REST, they can easily notice the influence it holds in many websites. Many complex apps and websites are combinations of these 4 commands consistently reading responses and sending requests from a server. Being able to comprehend how this works helps designers to figure out the technicalities of a developer's work.

According to Douglas Rushkoff, being able to understand our devices is paramount to ensuring we can regulate them, as compared to vice-versa. Its partiality can sway people who have little understanding of how things work. In as much as designers deal with the user-facing part of the software, their work gets determined by being able to comprehend its technicalities. Being able to understand the above skills appropriately not only helps developers and designers to collaborate well, but it also enables them to perform better at their work. Through listening to the responses of their users, they can meet their needs and provide them with user-friendly designs to boost their productivity.

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Postat: 11 august, 2017


Designer // Writer // Creative

Tom is a Design Correspondent for Freelancer.com. He is currently based in Melbourne and spends most of his non-work moments trying to find the best coffee.

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