FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGNERS - HOW DO THEY COEXIST?

Do the mechanisms of developers clash with the vision of designers?

Oct 1st 2020
Front-End development and Designers - How do they coexist?

Over the last few blog articles,  many things were written about communication, knowledge sharing, and current trends. This time, we pretend to know how front-developers and designers are supposed to coexist. Do the mechanisms of developers clash with the vision of designers? It was what we discussed with Luis Mirandela, a front - end developer with more than 10 years of experience.

Q: Luis, you've been  working  in front-end  development for more than 10 years, and  many  things  have changed since that, including the  way  we  moved  from the archaic process of  producing  static  designs  in Photoshop to embracing  a much more expansive toolset. Is  it fair to  say  the modern Web  design  process  requires  intense collaboration between  designers  and  front-end  developers, or in your opinion, companies can  succeed  in  having separate departments for web design and front-end development?

A: Nowadays having separate departments should not affect the end product. Obviously, communication is key on the course of all the projects but current technologies and methodologies make it possible to share designs and their interactions with the end-user in a way that it’s very clear what the result should be, examples of that are Adobe XD, Figma and Sketch. Also, one thing to notice is that now UX is being taken very seriously and that brings to the table very clear guidelines leaving front-end developers and web-designers be usually in sync.

Q: You've mentioned a broad array of tools, however, a question that emerges is how to choose those tools? Should a developer choose a technology that fits his taste or should he opt for a specific technology based on the project?

A: This question usually causes a lot of discussion. As a personal opinion, each framework has its own pros and cons, so I normally choose depending on project requirements, when I’m working on a small solo project or up to a team of 2 maximum, React is my way to go. The minimal amount of boilerplate needed and getting results from the get-go is a huge plus. If I’m rather working on a large-scale app with a bigger team, I’d normally (if the decision of the tech is on the dev team side) go with Angular, the opinionated design makes it that team changes would not affect productivity in a mid to long term and also makes it easier to clean, refactor and maintain the code which is a nice thing when you have a large project.

Q: Finally, there is another world we haven't explored...the back-end. After all this composition of design and front-end, how does the articulation with back-end work? I mean, does a front-end developer usually work with what the back-end provides, or is there any kind of communication to reach a middle ground?

A: There is a lot of communication, obviously documentation helps mitigate this a bit, but there are always many other things to discuss. For example, the back-end provides an endpoint for a certain feature but the way the app was designed requires another type of request, getting this information in two steps, or another data structure as normally front-end should have the minimum amount of business logic as possible. Those two sides of the coin can also improve a lot of an app by profiling bottlenecks and find new ways to improve communication and data handling, making the app quicker and safer.

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