Role Playing at an Intersection

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Today I wanted to reflect on my role in the team on the Recon Jet Project. This project is another chance for me to experiment with the intersection between design and development disciplines. As many of us have learned, there are many ways to communicate our intentions and proposed solutions in digital media. One of the greater issues in digital creation is the fundamental difference in how designers and developers communicate and work. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with my contemporaries about the near-misses and train wrecks that have been caused by ill communication between designers and developers. The problem amplifies as companies build design departments and agile development teams that have no way of working together. What do you do if you feel like you’re both a developer and a designer and feel that picking sides isn’t the best way forward?

As with most research, I have more questions than answers. How do we negotiate these differences between developers and designers? Can we start by beginning to understand the differences in perspectives and building a bridge by agreeing upon common language and shared work methodologies?

I’m fascinated by how differently we think and how culture plays such a huge part in how we interpret the world. It’s become one of my favourite dinner conversations at my house, many of the discussions stem from this article that I read about how Americans see the world differently called We Aren’t the World which is based on a research paper called The Weirdest People in the World

I’ve chosen to challenge myself this term by not playing the role of the typical UX designer as this is an area that I’ve spent 15 years practising and teaching. It’s not to say that I’ve learned all there is to know about design, but rather that one of the areas that much of the design industry is still in the dark about is the communication with developers. I would go so far as to say that designers become better at design by learning more about coding and how programmers think.

The way to explore this intersection will be using Lean UX methods. If you’re curious to know more about Lean UX, here’s a great article by Jeff Gothelf, the author of O’Reilly’s Lean UX book:

What are your experiences of negotiating the designer/developer intersection?

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