In this conference talk, Magdalena Ostoja-Chyżyńska will not talk about the differences between developers and designers.

Instead of focusing on the differences between the roles and how that might cause friction, she will approach the subject with a problem-solving attitude, and expand on how to make the relationship work.

And she should know.

Magdalena Ostoja-Chyżyńska is a former frontend developer with 10 years experience in design. During her career she has worked with over 70 developers and enjoyed every second of it.

If you are struggling to get on the same page as a Designer friend, here are some tips she will cover:

How to Set-up Your Desks

The desk set up is pretty powerful. Where the Designer sits in relationship to you is imperative for good and strong communication.

Magdalena suggests sitting in a triangulated format, with the Product Owner being the third piece of the puzzle. This way, any dialogue that is shared can be picked up by all parties at all times.

Another suggestion is to form an L shape, where the Analyst is an information broker between the Designer and Developer, keeping both separate from each other and solving any issues that may arise. This formation is very popular in the banking or finance industries.

'The Bridge' is the third set-up. This set-up works for smaller scale startups where the dev team is not so large. It essentially has the Product Owner as the information broker, whilst perhaps taking on some of the traditional roles an Analyst may have. Again, in this situation, the Developer and Designer have limited contact with each other.

Each set-up is powerful, but very unique to your team. Make sure to watch the video to see which is right for you.

How to Manage Access Between Designers and Developers

Even if it's in a limited capacity, Magdalena recommends encouraging developers and designers to have a direct form of access to each other. If you hear any of the following, this is a major red flag.

"You don't need to speak to the designers/developers, you can speak to me."
"Just focus on your code."

You should always encourage open communication on any team, as gatekeeping can cause toxic workplaces for all involved. If you are in a situation where this is happening, Magdalena suggests taking on the responsibility to fix this.

How to Handle Developer-Designer Meetings

An exemplary developer-designer meeting is a presentation consisting of showing visuals and storytelling.

Designers should not only show what they have designed, but also explain why. By explaining why, the Developer can understand the decisions the designer made in the design process, and buy into the final idea with the same amount of conviction.

Respect Between Developers and Designers

Both designer and developer need to respect each other's work. This means that the designer does the design work, and the developer does the development work, not the other way around. This might sound obvious, but the opposite happens more often than you think!

To learn more and dive into each section in more detail, make sure to watch the talk from Magdalena right here:

This article was written by Ania Kubow in support of the conference talk made by Magdalena Ostoja-Chyżyńska.

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