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Creating synergies between Front End Developers and UX Designers

Here at Extendi, we are always working on best practices and best solutions for creating first-class designs and top-notch front ends. In this article, we will go through the differences between Front End and Design and how these two figures can work together while creating amazing synergies.

Leonardo Rosseti & Fabrizio Troncanetti

By Leonardo Rosseti & Fabrizio Troncanetti

Design and Frontend

27 May 2021

Sinergy between Fe and Design - Extendi

Front End and Design: know the difference

First of all, let’s see what’s the difference between Front End developers and Designers and why they are both key figures in interface development. It’s possible to give a broad definition by saying that while Front End developers think codewise while Designers work on user experience from a visual viewpoint.

So to clarify a little further, you should know that Front End developers surely think about user experience, but their main concerns are centered on things like design patterns, codebase, algorithms and other elements strictly connected with coding languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript or Typescript.

On the other hand, Designers focus strictly on the visual part of the project, the “artistry” of it: things like colors and their blends, size, symmetries, navigation, etc.

Difficulties when working together 

It’s common knowledge that many times Front End and Design can manifest clashing interests especially when it comes to the idea that one discipline may be more important than another. Let’s see some recurring problems. 

Form over code, code over form. Depending on how you want to look at it, Designers are often guilty of diving too deep into the design putting apart practical implications, while on the other hand Developers are accused of setting too many constraints to the design. 

UX: for instance, many designs can be very aesthetic but on the other side they lack user-friendliness and they are very hard to translate in code.

Background: Designers have very different backgrounds from Developers. Some Designers may have spent part of their careers working with physical material (brochures, catalogs, packaging, etc) and this is why sometimes they struggle with the responsiveness approach in digital instruments. Vice versa, Developers often come from very technical backgrounds lacking a sense of “beauty” and harmony. Another example of this is when Designers desire to create super-interactive websites to make visitors “wow” but at the same time Developers wish to avoid unnecessary weight to the structure.

Last but not least sometimes conflict originates because there is no clear division between the roles and overlapping occurs even if there is a substantial difference in the competencies and views.  

Achieving success thanks to synergies 

After seeing the reasons for conflict, it’s now time to look at how Front End developers and Designers can collaborate to create great products. 

First of all, here at Extendi we have understood that design is not completely an aesthetic concern, nor is developing an entirely technical one. Our designers do consider how functionality affects form, and our developers learned to be creative when building functionality. 

Our teams understand each other processes and work in harmony: our approach comprehends collaboration through the whole scope of the project, constant interchange of opinion and side-by-side advancement. This allows us to merge those two worlds and creating perfect designs. Designers and Front Enders should be able to perform UX audit together, and this is something that we have been doing for a long.

The ultimate goal is creating synergies where teams showcase seamlessly UX and development skills. Having Developers and Designers work together makes better UX, because it’s possible to assess immediately what is possible in terms of design and code. Try to look at them as two parts of a unique skill set, not separate disciplines.

Working closely ultimately will head off disputes, empower both sides and allow Designers and Front Enders to learn something one from another in a mutual exchange. And if someone is not willing to collaborate, then they should be removed from the team. 

We know that creating a sense of togetherness is not easy, especially when designers and developers work in different teams. But, again also in this case astonishing results can be achieved through some of those best practices: removing physical barriers (if non-remote workers), asking developers for visual feedback, introducing common frameworks, using collaboration tools and component-based development. 

Creating a partnership between designers and developers is one of the most challenging yet beneficial parts of the designing process, as the payoffs received are innumerable on taking up the challenge. Since both designers and developers approach problems from different angles and live in different worlds, it becomes important to increase trust and build a sense of camaraderie between the two disciplines.

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About Author

Leonardo Rosseti & Fabrizio Troncanetti

Leonardo Rosseti & Fabrizio Troncanetti

Design and Frontend

Leonardo Rosseti (Senior Frondend developer) and Fabrizio Troncanetti (Senior UX Designer) are two peas in a pod. They have been working together on exceptional frontends for Extendi's clients.

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