In a perfect world, we would simply snap our fingers and see beautiful, functional digital designs come to life. However, this isn’t the case. App and website development requires extensive collaboration among design and engineering teams. It’s this collaboration that, ultimately, drives production quality.
The Value of Continuous Collaboration
Technology and design are each synonymous with great mobile app experiences.
However, a great design without the right technology to support it is, essentially, useless to the product’s end-user experience—and strategic technology decisions inform the way in which design structure flows. As a result, collaboration between engineering and design teams is crucial to driving standout mobile experiences.
To achieve fluid functionality, constant communication between teams is a must. As with any development project, changes are to be expected along the way, but teams working in tandem maintain a competitive advantage as they are able to quickly pivot and adapt accordingly along the roadmap of the product—whether that product is an app or website.
On the contrary, siloed teams have an increased risk of miscommunication, which can cause project setbacks and decreased product quality. Disconnected design teams can also easily end up conceptualizing content that is impossible to implement on the backend, ultimately wasting design time and effort.
However, this risk is easily mitigated when design and engineering communicate throughout the process, enabling both teams to come to conclusions about what’s possible before concepting and implementing.
Creating Efficiency Through Process
Sharing knowledge throughout the entire lifecycle of a project creates efficiency. By working together in close proximity, our design and engineering teams are able to precisely define what’s buildable within a set project timeframe, then prioritize tasks accordingly. In line with Google’s design sprint, Hathway embraces the startup mentality—keeping teams lean, versatile, and agile.
Upon project kickoff, a designated strategist, UX/UI design lead, and engineer collaborate to develop and release sprint plans. From this starting point, our teams are then able to quickly move through the design and development phases. During the design phase, our engineers are brought in to review concepts, confirming that all design solutions align with the appropriate technology—that is, the designs are possible and buildable. If there is an issue, it is corrected before the designs are approved by stakeholders and pushed to the implementation phase.
Similarly, designers are included in our development phase to confirm that engineering has achieved a certain level of pixel perfection and fidelity. Together, these teams push each other’s ideas further to develop the best products possible. The Jamba Juice app project, for example, was collaborative from all perspectives—strategy, design, and engineering—from the very beginning. Our creative and engineering leads joined forces to define the product roadmap.
While design focused on front-end UX, engineering simultaneously provided guidance on how to implement it. The result was a tangible roadmap we could seamlessly execute without needing to transfer knowledge between teams at later stages of the project.
Apps and websites are a lot like automobiles. The interior and exterior design details are what make the experience, but the engineering under the hood must be designed to fuel the vehicle.
Imagine a Tesla compared to a Chevy Volt, for example. Both are fueled by electricity, but the overall experience of the Tesla will far exceed that of the Volt. The Chevy Volt simply can’t compete with Tesla’s sleek design powered by high-end engineering.
The same concept applies to the design and engineering of an app or other mobile product.
Remaining focused on ensuring our projects are both design-driven and technology-fueled we’re able to create mobile experiences with a look and feel that’s as powerful as the technology behind them.