How to ignore the devil on your shoulder and be a Devvie that the Dezzies want to work with.
noun a person that performs magic to make the internet come alive.
noun a person who makes things “pretty”.
Devvies are not trying to be difficult.
We just want to deliver a solid, yet flexible product. We don’t want to make a solution that works today, but one that works months and years from now. We work feverishly to execute your designs while attempting to meet our own deadlines. Catch us on the wrong day and we can be as easy to deal with as a cat that got stuck in the rain.
As Devvies, we have a reputation for being quiet, glarey-eyed nerds who don’t want to be bothered. This intimidation can be useful in a dark alley, but at work it can create roadblocks and miscommunication. It is time to stop living the arrogant Devvie stereotype and start acting like a Devvie all the Dezzie’s want on their project.
Be responsive, not just in your code but in your communication.
If you are anything like me you enjoy listening to music while you work using large, over-the-ear headphones. Sometimes you just enjoy having the headphones on so people know not to bother you. Problem is your Dezzie might need your advice on how to integrate Twitter or want to know if something will scale properly. By being approachable and encouraging open dialogue, you and your Dezzie can avoid functionality issues before the design is ready to develop.
Ask to be invited to meetings.
I know, I know hear me out. As a Devvie, it is important to be a part of those initial concepting meetings as well as the design reviews. It will give you an opportunity to flag any potential functionality issues as well as offer solutions and ideas.
In this case if something does goes wrong, nobody is thrown under the bus (including you) because everyone had an opportunity to provide input and knew what the end result would be. As a team you can all learn from those mistakes and move on wiser and stronger.
Encourage fluid, not pixel-perfect, design.
Several Dezzies come from a print background, so it can be hard to stop designing pixel-by-pixel. The web is diverse, fluid and ever-changing so your product’s design needs to adapt and respond to different environments. If we stop thinking about the web in pixels and instead think of it as views, we can concentrate on how the design will be displayed in multiple views rather than just on our screen. At eROI the Dezzies create two separate PSDs: One for the desktop view and one for the mobile view. Whatever happens in between those views we work on together to make sure it degrades gracefully. Which brings me to my next point…
In a perfect world, you would receive a PSD in the exact format you prefer, labelled correctly and with every known state included. However in the real world when there are deadlines, client delays and last-minute PANICS, this doesn’t always happen. Instead of throwing a stack of papers off your desk (guilty) or writing a passive-aggressive email (guilty), try calling them over to your desk and look at the file together. Offer solutions if you see them and take the time to be thorough. Soon enough you’ll be able to throw your headphones back on and start coding without cursing under your breath. Let’s face it, we can send the file back, refuse to work on it until it’s perfect and throw a tantrum like a 3-year-old* but it only hurts ourselves in the end. Deadlines will become tighter, feelings will get hurt and eventually you’ll have to pick up those papers you threw on the floor.
*It’s cool, I have a 3-year-old nephew so I can make fun of kids.
Don’t take the easy way, even if it’s faster
Deadlines are a pain and sometimes you would rather grab wings and a cider instead of working late. Rather than making that headline an image or eyeballing the margins, use sustainable coding practices. You owe it to yourself and your Dezzie to do it the right way the first time. If the font that is used isn’t web-friendly or the layers are messy, let your Dezzie know and they can help you fix it.
Have a sense of humor.
When you have a deadline looming and you want to pull your hair out because all the layers on a photoshop file are merged together, just take a deep breath and remember that your Dezzie is also a human and probably feeling that stress too. Send over a link to 30 Dogs Who Are Actually Mean Girls and take a mutual head break.
Protip: A beer or a cider works pretty well too.
The moral of this love story
is that Devvies and Dezzies should start thinking about how the other half exists in the project and be respectful of their roles. While we don’t have control over how the file might be formatted or the scope of a project creeping, we do get to control how we behave and communicate with our coworkers.
Now that I’ve given you the tools to be a good, communicative Devvie to your Dezzie, remember that it’s a two way street. You’re not their slave. Wonderdezzie Tatiana shows Dezzies how to make our lives easier in her blog post Designers and Developers: From Duel to Duo.
Also check out our Portland Design Week event NewlyWebs: Exploring the Designer/Developer Relationship at eROI on Wednesday, October 9th at 6pm.
In this interactive live game show and open discussion, eROI’s Creative Team wants to see how well you know your developer or designer. Through lively discussions, you’ll learn what your counterpart really thinks about gradients, layer organization, and text overlays. Together we’ll learn how to communicate more effectively, implement an iterative process between design and development, and collaboratively create functional and beautiful experiences for the end user. Newlywebs who know each other best will walk away with exciting prizes! Hope to see you there!