The only way to create great software is to work with developers throughout the process. You can send someone to the store with a grocery list and get back precisely what you asked for. Not so with software. You can’t just throw your designs over the fence to developers and expect great results.

Too many designers find themselves unhappy with the implementation of their designs. They complain that “the developers messed it up.” Don’t accept this. See to it that your designs are faithfully implemented.

Why Not Throw it Over the Fence?

  • Your designs will never tell the whole story or account for every possibility.
  • Fundamental changes to your work often need to happen based on technical constraints.
  • You’ll miss out on potential for better ways of doing things that are based in technology.

Collaborate Closely, Gesticulate Wildly

Pasquale D’Silva told me that he uses wild gesticulations to convey the intended characteristics of animated interfaces to developers. That’s the kind of communication that can’t happen without close, ongoing collaboration between design and development.

The iPad photos UI was created the same way. When I ran into one of its developers, I asked what the process was like. Unsurprisingly, the process involved a close collaboration between design and development. They often sat together in order to perfect the behavior of the UI.

Discipline Yourself Into This Mindset

Decide that your portfolio will only have finished, working software. Not mockups or prototypes. This way you’ll be forced to do whatever it takes to reach the intended end result. Feel empowered to see to it that great results are achieved. Don’t be content to throw designs over the fence. Open the gate and work together from beginning to end.