The deadline for speaker submissions to Interaction 12 closed 15 minutes ago. Judging by the Twitterverse, there was a mad rush to get them in. In case you hadn’t noticed, I was on vacation last week. As I do every year, I spent a week at my parents’ log cabin down in West Virginia, so I was completely unplugged. That didn’t stop me from submitting, however. I’ve been working with Uday Gajendar, my fellow CMU alumni, on a 45-minute session. I’d like to share it with you.
Working with Developers for Fun and Profit
In many organizations, there is a struggle between design and digital development. This is unfortunate and unnecessary. While they each have different areas of focus and perform disparate tasks, designers and developers should have a common goal, working towards exceptional products. It is best for all parties involved to not just have a basic understanding of how our pieces fit together, but to develop mutual respect and a place whereby decisions are made on agreements as to what will be best for the project, rather than political ties or job titles.
We will be drawing upon diverse experiences—working within a design group in a large company juxtaposed with a small firm, in which there is only a single designer—to show the benefits of a productively close rapport with digital developers. We will discuss how to foster positive relationships, touching on different types of developers and the consequent roles a designer can play. We’ll discuss collaboration lifecycles in relation to project schedules and design process. We’ll explain how designers can extend their influence, ensuring design integrity and improving final build quality, by learning to use the development team’s tools, such as issue tracking and version control, and integrating them into their own processes. We’ll present examples of design specs and other artifacts that have proven effective in collaborating with developers. Finally, we’ll dive into the benefits and perceived drawbacks of designers learning to code, a contentious yet vital debate.
I’m guessing they had around 400 submissions, though many of those will be for 10-minute sessions, rather than 45. We’ll have stiff competition for very few slots. I think we have a solid proposal and a fighting chance. It is my desire to present information useful to a seasoned professional, rather than those new to the field, as I am often disappointed by the level of knowledge shared at conferences. I think I’ll make it my goal to submit a workshop next year.