In an ideal scenario, design and development teams work hand-in-hand when building a product, particularly in the creative process. We say “ideal”, because both teams have a tendency to work against each other if they don’t see eye-to-eye on  design comps. Let’s face it, the two roles are thinking with opposite sides of the brain. And many times, the project scope doesn’t allow for every scenario. 

How can your design team fill in the blanks for development teams when design scope doesn’t cover every screen?

Where to Start

We recommend the Loops Process , in which it is critical to align Design and Development. Both teams have a common goal:  build an excellent product with seamless design. Finding ways to get there can be overwhelming, but there are ways to tackle challenges and gaps in design effectively, resulting in a greater value to stakeholders:

1. Work with Development Teams Early On in the Design Phase

Design and development teams are equally entrenched in a product’s strategy and success, and if both don’t intersect early and often, their vision for the product could be miles apart. It is imperative that both teams understand that although there are key requirements to achieve business goals, there is so much more that goes into building a product customers will love.

Bringing development teams into the design phase, as early as user journeys and UX flows, helps Engineering visualize all the scenarios within a product. This helps developers and designers align on how the user and the product should interact, outside of the technical requirements. 

2. Create a Cadence that Works for Both Teams During the Design Phase

Constant communication is key for design and development teams to work in harmony. This becomes a struggle when trying to have every decision makers in a room. Finding a cadence to receive feedback and to iterate is as important as building the product itself. 

At times, design feels like it works in an isolated, waterfall environment, but creating a methodology that adapts to the scope of the project is a key factor to success. Weekly or bi-weekly loops that involve everyone are key to creating alignment from business, all the way to production. Implementing certain ceremonies, like daily/weekly workshops, weekly reviews, and retrospectives, help to lay foundation for a feedback loop that can be fine-tuned for the entire team. 

3. Provide Documents to Support Scenarios

You need many documents to support a build, particularly ones with many scenarios. But let’s be honest, not every scenario makes it to the first round of design comps.

Building documentation for the product/feature in a holistic perspective helps to see the vision in its future state. If we can see the full vision, we can break down the product/feature into incremental phases that can be built out over time. Documents like UX flows, wireframes, and UI comps not only help with seeing this vision, but they also assist in discussions amongst both teams for what parts of the product/feature can be broken down into digestible chunks, for design and development.

4. Design Systems Save Time and Reduce Costs

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a book of foundational components  that developers can  use for building out a product? A design system provides a single source of truth for the product’s strategy, and the visual language necessary to be used in a technical perspective by developers. 

By creating a set of standards to better utilize  repeatable components, design systems increase efficiency for development, reduce swirl, and improve scalability as the product matures.

Not sure you have the resources for a robust Design System? Click here to learn how to build a low cost and effective system.

Continue the Conversations

We know companies who’ve seen a 300% ROI in a few years after building a design system, increasing efficiency in development, and speed to market. Don’t just give engineers a list of components. Make it clear which components are appropriate for which scenarios. Provide examples that developers can easily modify for different scenarios. 

Need help kick-starting your design system, improving design operations, or building more cross-team collaboration? Nine Labs is here to help.