Developers: Just can’t see it

How many times have I worked through a design got the team to agree on it and when it comes back it looks nothing alike?

Design a form, design a screen, and layout the controls and the text. Make sure that the things that are grouped are what the user is looking for. Draw attention to the important things such as the content and data entered. De-empahsize the unimportant things like headers, labels and separators. Make the flow work and make the visuals intuitive.

What happens? A handful of developers can see the layout and understand what is being done. Most developers, even after working with them to teach about what is being sought after, cannot see the design. So what do they see? They see the stuff. They see the elements and their labels. They see the sections. They do not see the padding, margins, alignment, saturation, hue, flow, and control choice.

In this past week we had 2 developers send back simple dialogs saying they were finished. When we asked when they were going to make the UIs look the same, they returned a messages saying “Except for the button icons, what differences are you seeing? ” and “How is the implementation very different from my sketches?” In each case we had 8 and 13 basic points of difference.

Just because a developer is a good coder does not mean they can do well at creating UIs.

Or to be more crass, just because you have someone with a pulse on your development team does not mean that you should have them do UIs.

I will take 1 good UI developer that cares over a thousand developers “assigned to me” for building great UIs.

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