Who leads? Design or Development.
Tom Hopkins - Front End Developer
Do you start with the beautiful creative and build it or do you start with technical structure and creatively design to adhere to those technical rules?
What comes first? The designer or the developer?
The answer? Neither.
Today, there is an increasing need to merge the lines between design and development. Design leads development and development leads design.
The speed at which frontend development is progressing and how design trends are changing means that both designers and developers are having to consider holistic design/development. Collaborative working from the Briefing stage right through conceptual design, technical structure, wireframing to final build is paramount.
So what does this approach look like in reality? When it comes to creating a site, we no longer think about pages as the major concept to follow, we focus more on repeatable blocks of content that can be rearranged to create different hierarchies of data. This then leads to the creation of different page templates, allowing us to retain a consistent style across the site while also building something that suits the content.
We are constantly working as a team to check what is possible in the design phase and if we are able to replicate that design in the intended way in the development process. This is never more important than when it comes to animations!
Animations are creatively engaging but can be tricky in the development build, particularly if time constraints mean our team don’t have time to mock out the animation idea. Animation is a simple initial idea which typically only materialises at the development stage and we can then try out and alter as much as want. Designers need to sit with their Developers to see how the creative idea is manifesting and tweak, adjust, test and play with what can be possible in the code to get the desired creative impact that is, at the end of the day, actually buildable.
Carefully considering the design, as well as the technical requirements, of a simple search box is another great example. We want to ensure that it is designed well, laid out in best practice format for ideal usability and is creatively visually appealing and we also need to know the technical keywords, titles, content and taxonomy requirements. How are we going to design the results page for maximum effectiveness? Do we want to prepopulate the search box with data, showing potential search queries and results as you type?
Designers and Developers need to work together to consider these kinds of questions and ultimately, produce better websites.
So, does design lead development or should development lead design?
Neither - it’s about teamwork, close collaboration throughout the website build process and that is something our teams at The Escape, do so well.