As a Front End Developer, my main goal has always been to make my websites and mobile apps look exactly like the Design handed to me. By spending the extra time working with Creative, I not only learn more about the principles of design, but the designer learns more about what can and can’t be done. Too many times a designer creates their design then throws it over an imaginary fence to the developers without ever discussing what they want. The final product ends up different from what the designer wanted, but at that point it is too late to change anything. When there is no communication between designers and developers a rivalry tends to form at the detriment of the overall project. The rivalry causes both sides to blame the other for “not understanding” their side.
The role of a Front End Developer:
Front End Developers have two responsibilities, and if you want to be successful you need to take both into account. First, the code needs to be modular to allow it to be extensible. The easiest way to do this is to make a base style sheet for all the basic elements. Second, is to deliver a pixel perfect product, which means that a casual viewer should not know if they are looking at a screenshot of the website or the actual PSD. Anything short of that is failing to deliver a great project.
How Make & Build solves the problem:
At Make & Build, developers are involved throughout the design process, answering questions and understanding the designer’s mindset. Our designers and developers are constantly discussing better ways of solving issues, along with teaching each other best practices. By having this knowledge, the developers fight the “they don’t understand” mindset. By thinking as teammates as opposed to rivals, everyone works towards the same goal and creates a perfect product. Because we follow an agile approach on our projects, we always incorporate a review with the designers at the end of each sprint, which ensures pixel perfection.
How you can ensure pixel perfection:
As a Front End Developer, you should consistently interact with the designers on your team. Try to get involved earlier in the process by being in the brainstorming and design meetings. Make sure that the designers know that they can come to you if they are curious about best practices with certain elements. When the design period is over, have a handoff meeting where the designers will explain their vision. Make sure to use this time to ask questions. Lastly, always make sure to have design reviews with the designer to guarantee perfection.
Creating a Pixel Perfect product may seem meaningless, but it shows that quality is your number one priority. I’ve worked with many front-end developers, and you can easily spot a great one based on their attention to detail. You may not believe it now, but understanding design concepts as a developer brings joy to the work you do. The satisfaction I get from a website or mobile app I’ve built launching is even greater when I’ve had a hand in the entire project, and not just the technical aspects. So go ahead, walk over to the designers on your team, and ask them a couple questions that will uncover design intent. And when you do, listen and try to understand.