When you’re used to being in control of your web design projects, the thought of bringing someone in to take care of a major part can be intimidating. Not to mention all of the horror stories we hear about working with developers. Either the developer disappears part way through a project or the end result isn’t anything like you expected.
I’m here today to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. You can have an amazing experience bringing a developer in to work on your web design projects rather than suffering through code or working with someone who leaves you with a stressful experience. You can feel completely confident that the work will be done right and have more time to work on other projects (or even relax a little bit).
To help with that today, we’ll talk about how to succeed in your first collaboration with a developer.
Know your process inside and out
The most important part of succeeding with a developer is knowing your own process inside and out. You should know:
- What steps make up your design projects
- How long each step takes, and
- Common roadblocks that might throw off the timeline
When you’re this familiar with your process, you can easily see where the developer will fit in. You’ll also be able to give them accurate dates for when they’ll start on the project.
Knowing your process this well also makes passing design materials to your developer much easier. When you’re familiar with the way you do things in the web development portion, even if you haven’t been doing custom development, you’ll be better prepared to hand over all the necessary files and information to your developer.
With that being said, be sure you ask them before the project begins exactly what they need from you. I provide the designers I work with a checklist of everything they’ll need to send my way to keep it nice and easy. But just in case the developer you choose to work with doesn’t provide this, it’s better to have an idea of what they’ll need before going in.
Ask your client #allthequestions
The next way to make sure your first collaboration with a developer goes smoothly is to get as much information from your client as you can up front. The best way to do this is to add to your intake questionnaire.
So in addition to the questions you ask your clients, ask your developer what they need to know to give an accurate quote and timeline as well. Then, add those questions to your intake form so you’ll have all the information you need upfront.
This is helpful for a few reasons, the largest one being that the process is streamlined for everyone involved. Your client only has to fill out one questionnaire, you don’t have to go back and forth through email with them, and the developer doesn’t have to worry about under quoting or important features being missed in their proposal. You don’t have to worry about sending your mock-ups to the developer, and then them saying they’ll need more money to make it happen. It will also be easier to tell your client that something new they want to add wasn’t included originally and can be added later.
Design what you want the final website to look like
Next, make sure the mock-ups you turn over to your developer look exactly what you want the final website to look like. Remember, we’re developers for a reason. You don’t want to give us any room to interpret your design the way we think it should look.
Imagine placing your mock-ups side-by-side with the finished website. The two should look exactly the same. Keeping this in mind during the design process will make sure that when you hand your mock-ups over to your developer, you’ll get exactly the results you’re expecting.
Also keep in mind smaller details like hover effects, how different buttons should look like, and what headings should look like in blog posts. It’s even a good idea to have a partial (or full) mock-up of what you want the mobile version of the website to look like.
When you provide complete mock-ups like this, you can rest-assured, you’ll love the way the website looks in the end (as long as you keep the next point in mind).
Work with someone who knows what they’re doing
Right along with that last point, make sure you’re working with someone who knows what they’re doing. If you’re outsourcing full-custom development, want the website too look exactly the way you expect, and are hoping for a streamlined experience, don’t work with someone who’s just getting started or even someone who’s never worked with a designer before.
Even I, who’s giving you these warnings, have tried bringing on several developers to my team who are a little bit newer and I’ll be the first to tell you it’s more trouble than it’s worth. You’ll end up doing a lot more project management, revisions will be a headache, and there is a good chance things won’t turn out the way you expected.
Working with someone with a proven track record will make the process go a whole lot more smoothly and you can feel more relaxed while development is going on. To find someone who knows what they’re doing, look for impressive portfolio projects and testimonials from other designers. For more information on how to find a good developer for your design projects, check out this blog post.
And last, once you have these details out of the way, it’s time to get excited. You’ve just taken 40+ hours of work for every single design project and handed it off to someone who can: one – do it way faster, two – probably do it better and three – save you a whole lot of time. Consider taking this time to accept more profitable design projects, improve your own business, or give yourself some time to relax.
Are you ready to collaborate with a developer?
After reading through this post, take a few minutes to consider whether it’s time for you to collaborate with a developer or if you’ve done it before, if it’s time to give it another try. Take some notes on the things you’ll need to put together before a project and then find a developer who will work well with your process.
For more tips, click the button below to get my free checklist, 10 Steps to Go From Hours of Code to Development Free Design Projects.