It’s astonishing that so many digital products lack inspiration or fail to perform when technology and digital media companies spend millions of dollars on design and user experience.
Just as following a recipe to the letter doesn’t guarantee a delicious meal, using user-centred Design practices alone won’t create innovative digital products.
Product teams often deliver substandard user experiences for a variety of reasons. In some cases, engineering members reject proposed designs or the team lacks the necessary skills to build innovative designs. We frequently see this issue: a UX design team creates a great design, only to have it denied.
The difference between UI/UX Designer and a Front-end developer
Both UI/UX designers and front-end developers have an important role to play in a product design team. While their ultimate goal is to make the product functional and user-friendly, there are some key differences between these two roles.
UI/UX designers work on the visual side and user experience, which are strongly interconnected. They do UX research, build wireframes, UX flow, and prototypes, develop visual elements, and ensure consistency of the design-brand and human-centred approach. The designers also take care of branding, colour schemes, typography, and iconography to make sure everything works together perfectly and meets the user’s needs.
While Front-end developers work on front end engineering – the functionality of an app. This includes coding interface elements, making sure buttons and pictures are linked to the right pages, and that data is saved after user or app interaction.
Though both UI/UX designers and front-end developers work towards building the best user experience, their fields of responsibility naturally differ. This often leads to a disconnect or ‘gap’ between the two departments.
UX professionals should own front-end development for a variety of reasons, but most importantly because it bridges the gap between skill sets. Front-end developers are the middle resources between design and development, and often their skills are unknown or underrated.
- The first gap is while designers focus on delivering better experiences, they also look for opportunities to create a great user experience or solve user challenges through design. When they find ways to improve the user experience, they get excited about it.
The front-end developers get pumped about being able to solve complex technical problems irrespective of those solutions having an impact on users. However, user impact might be a second thought. They are concerned about what the code can do and what it is meant to do. In the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) process the developers confidently assume that users will be able to understand and use the product somehow.
The second gap is that we want to be able to move quickly from a concept to a fully functional prototype that users can validate. This way, we can make sure that we are always moving forward and making progress.
Front-end engineers have to juggle a lot of different priorities. If they report to user experience, they need to optimize for the user experience. But if they report to engineering, they need to make sure their code meets engineering’s goals.
When UX teams are solely responsible for not just delivering visual representations but actual front-end, presentation-layer code, they have the potential to create innovative, and high-impact user experiences much quicker and inexpensively and are scalable solutions.
Fusing Front-End Development or FEED as we call it, with traditional UX teams creates a new dimension of design. Our experience to date suggests that UX teams who have fused FED into their practices will grow exponentially in the digital era. Because the ability of these teams to move from idea to function makes front-end code have a fast-paced iteration which is key in today’s day and age.
Why Front-end developers and UI/UX Designers should team up for better products?
Bridging the gap between Front-End Development with User Experience, you create an opportunity that can focus on other essential functions, and assess and evolve ideas in the purview of organizational infrastructure. This allows for a more cohesive development process that can avoid costly mistakes.
Better product and scalability by integrating FED and Design Functions
By integrating front-end and design wireframing, you are increasing the chances of your product being well adopted as it will be more realistic in terms of functionality. Also, by optimizing hundreds of interactions and data transactions before any back-end code is written, you are making it more likely for users to adopt your product because of the productivity benefits it offers.
Reducing transaction and coordination costs
Designers and developers often have different interpretations of what is “good enough” or “outstanding.” When designers hand off a design to the Development team, the developers may produce a user interface that meets the general requirements that the designers documented in the UI specs. However, in our experience, when developers interpret design specifications, they almost always fall short of design expectations.
Second Opinion on your product design & development
Even if you’re confident in your design skills, it’s always helpful to get a second opinion from a UI/UX designer – they might be able to help you identify areas that need improvement or suggest ways to make your design even better. This is especially important if you’re working on a project by yourself, as it can be easy to overlook things when you’re too close to the design.
Function & presentation combined
It’s just not visuals or code
Designing a fantastic User Interface for a web application is not only about having pretty visuals. It’s also vitally important to understand how users interact and behave when using the app. This is where front-end developers need to pay attention to their design skills and knowledge. UI principles, such as consistency, efficiency, and transparency, can contribute greatly to enhancing a user’s experience while navigating the app.
Open communication between UX designers, UI developers, and front-end developers can foster a project’s results as well as individual professional growth within the teams.
A successful product requires both front end engineering and UI/UX design. Most of the time, you need a UI/UX designer in addition to a front-end developer, rather than choosing between the two.