If you work intensively on web related projects, you'll know by sure that
Web Designers UI/UX Designers can charm clients with over-promising and fascinating layouts, lifting their expectations to the maximum. Then all of a sudden, a Grinch Front-end developer will raise his hand while starting to transform the design to HTML/CSS to point out that it will be impossible to make that banner fluidly "responsive" or compatible with Microsoft most valued product (Internet Explorer). The Project Manager will frown a bit but eventually will listen to the developer's rant and consent him to place a roughly designed, but cross-browser compatible, patch the digitalized layout, warning the unfortunate Account Manager of the first "minor" edit to the project.
The layout has now become a rich HTML5 and CSS3 website, full of fancy Java-scripts and shiny jQuery plug-ins. It's now time that the Php developers attach their proudly built CMS to the design and make some database magic. But wait a moment. Did you really thing that the markup and CSS would have simply worked into the un-customizable Framework? I don't think so.
Usually at this point, a project manager, and account manager, three developers and a frustrated client are pointing their fingers to who built the website on the first place: The obsolete designer.
In modern web development teams with an Agile approach, usually this scenario will not occur, but in small web agencies it is usually a daily routine. It is time we change the way we design for the web.
All designers and developers have at least once experienced a sever level of frustration with a waterfall design process. Having a great designer but with no knowledge of the recent HTML/CSS capabilities, Responsive design or Wordpress can water down the project's effectiveness not only for the eyes of the clients but also, worst of all, for the final user.
A solution to this issue is finding (or becoming) a Hybrid Designer. Nowadays, a hybrid designer can be compared to a Unicorn, a legendary creature with both user experience design and web development skills. He may not excel with coding abilities but his complete set of skills will build a solid bridge between the clients vision and the development team requirements.
The hybrid designer can embrace technical constraints to develop an enhanced user experience based on content and usability. A designer with no development skill is like an architect with no idea on what materials will or could be used and where to build.
Pair design with development
If you're a designer, start pairing with a developer everyday. Build approaches, discuss theming issues and you'll see both your's and the developer knowledge increase drastically. Start iterating more and more, speeding up prototyping and wire-frame sketching keeping always under sever surveillance the feasibility of each desired functionality.
In order to successful, a Hybrid designer will have to develop rapidly specific skills.
Rapid wire-framing skills: encourage your clients to sketch the wireframe with your help to cut down to almost zero the prototype revisions.
Extensive communication skills: As a digital communication consultant you'll need to be excellent in efficiently translate the client's expectations in to a successful reality pairing synergically with project managers information architects and senior developers. Develop purposeful digital solutions by creating a solid bridge between design and user experience through innovation.
Probably you'll never be a ninja developer, but you'll know enough to improve drastically your work.
Most importantly, you must have an intense passion for your job. Live for Monday. Delight customers and users with functional, beautiful, and purposeful digital solutions. Always try to experiment with new forms of digital communication. Maintain close links between industry, design, research and academia to encourage increased technology transfer and open innovation. Recognize the challenge. Embrace constraints and understand the boundaries. Have fun as when you were attending art class in Kindergarden, it isn't that much different.
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