How a Common Language Can Improve Your Web Design Workflow

A team conducting user research on a project.

Have you ever wondered how a static design becomes an interactive website? The most successful projects are brought to life through close alignment between design and development. 

As Mark Twain wrote, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." If you can’t communicate clearly, every project is starting off at a disadvantage. 

Design and development should not happen in detached silos. Building a website is an inherently collaborative process that requires a common language and understanding among teams that are too often pitted as adversaries. 

At Elevated Third, we’ve prioritized alignment between our design and development teams. The benefits have been far-reaching. 

Improved Web Design Efficiency

As a designer, having a common language with our development team has allowed me to understand the implications of the design decisions I’m making well before presenting my work. And I’m able to communicate exactly what I want from a visual, user experience, and functional perspective. 

Why is this a benefit? It ensures that everything we design is buildable and vetted for functionality before implementation. There should be few, if any, surprises when an idea is translated from static design files to Drupal. 

Double the Problem Solving Power

Just as our design team makes an effort to understand the development implications of our work, our developers are fluent in the language of user experience. They care as much about UX as they do about code. 

Involving developers early in the process is not just about finding out whether something can be built, it also gives us a chance to enlist their minds for design solutions. While they may approach a problem from a different angle, we can come together under a shared language to strategize a solution. 

Save Time and Prevent Unnecessary Reworks

Being able to communicate more clearly across disciplines reduces the number of gaps that implementation can often reveal in design. At Elevated Third, our close collaboration means that we think through implementation realities well before site building happens. 

The Elevated Third Project Timeline
Elevated Third's Project Timeline

Designs, UX considerations, and site architecture are discussed as a team before a single line of code is written. This clear communication and collaboration leaves a lot less room for assumptions and surprises down the road. And we’re able to think more creatively about how we might make something that seems impossible – possible.

The More You Know, The More You See

The more we know, the better we’re able to view our work objectively, develop critical problem-solving skills and come up with better ideas. A different perspective allows us to consider things that we might have otherwise overlooked. As a designer, I don’t just see what the interface looks or feels like. I understand how it should work and how my decisions impact performance, the admin experience or the effects of one feature on another.

Inversely, empathy for the end user helps our developers implement better solutions. Sure, something out of the box is easier to build—but it may not always be the best user experience or even the best solution for to the project as a whole. At Elevated Third, we don’t just think about the fastest and cheapest way to build something. We want to uncover the best solution possible for our clients and their users. With our approach, we can truly provide value to every project we touch.

More Efficient Workflows = A Better Product

Having a common language is a powerful collaboration tool that will help you save time and solve problems faster and with more innovation. That isn’t to say that specialization is unimportant—a combination of skilled people on our project teams is critical in creating diverse and rich perspectives. Speaking a common language is the bridge between us leading to improved web design workflows, more exciting ideas, and much stronger solutions.

Collaborative Design and Development