Bridging The Gap Between Design & Development

Updated 1 month ago by Rahulan Sivalingam

Product development is not just about crossing the finish line – it’s about seamlessly executing each step along the way, including the handoff from concept to code.

Executing consistent and coherent product experiences is anything but simple, if design and development teams operate in silos. Not all beautiful designs are easily executable, which is why clear communication and seamless information flow between designers and developers is a must, and a key component to successfully launching products. Luckily for Frontify users, bridging that gap is kind of our thing.

Setting The Stage For Successful Information Flow

With our all-in-one approach, Frontify serves as both the home to all up-to-date and centralized design files, as well as the place where preconditions for successful information flows are set. Host your design files in the Frontify Workspace, set up specific folders, and make them accessible to the right people – with proper rights – through the advanced user management options. Control the invitation of stakeholders with temporary invite and access options, or direct them to specific collections and folders via invite-link.

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Connect teams in a space where you can manage, discuss, and iterate on projects and designs. With the Sketch plugin, you’re enabled to push changes in Sketch source files and sync artboards directly to Frontify.

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In addition to all of this, definable project settings allow you to stay in the know about everything that’s happening in the workflow. With automated information management, stakeholders will be notified about changes in projects assigned to them. These notifications can be received via email or in-app messages, as well as through Slack messages thanks to our handy Slack integration. Set up a dedicated Slack channel for single projects and let information flow into a dedicated space. The plugin is especially valuable in more agile processes, where information flow has to be fast and over-the-desk.

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Defining Your Way of Working Together

The best cross-disciplinary communication doesn’t end with setting the preconditions for sufficient information flow; it’s also streamlined and channeled. Define a customized framework for design-development collaboration with the Workflow feature. You can even assign ownership for each workflow step, with the option to add task lists to them.

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There’s no universal way to define the collaboration between design and development. The process is based on, and highly influenced by, a variety of factors, such as team sizes, geographical distance, and project type. Frontify’s value across the design, handover, and development phases is only enhanced by its flexibility, allowing customizations that make the most sense for you and your team. Through your brand’s single source of truth, you can set the ideal standard for teamwork.

The Design Phase

Iterations are a normal part of the product development lifecycle. During this phase, the cornerstone for a beautiful product with a great user experience – one that’s also technically feasible – is set. With Frontify Workspace, the environment facilitates collaborative discussions among multidisciplinary teams – enabling you to include the development team early to factor in the build potential. You can set up an additional workflow step for this very instance, as shown in the example above. Enriching the power of collaboration, features like feedback requests, color and measurement specifications, pattern embedding possibilities, and basic prototyping functionalities succeed in easing the handover process from design to development. With the versioning feature, you’re able to keep track of all changes throughout the timeline of a project.

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The Handover Phase

Once you’ve come up with the right product design, it’s time to hand off the baton. Any hiccups in communication could result in time and energy wasted, not to mention open a Pandora’s box of uncertainty. The length of time for development, further collaboration, and precise design specs are just some topics to cover. As mentioned, you can make use of simple (yet dynamic), prototyping functionalities to provide more substance to your designs. Currently, you’re able to accompany assets with color measurement and pattern specifications; the pattern definitions, of course, can be retrieved from the Pattern Library. In terms of design specs, there’s Inspect Mode for Frontify. With Inspect Mode, you can retrieve a wide range of other particulars relevant to coders, like typeface weight, spacing, and much more.

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Taking the daily ops for developers to the next level is the ongoing interconnectivity experienced through Frontify. Linking brand guidelines and assets, centralized in the cloud, means all of those brand essentials can be accessed at all times from within the Workspace – allowing you to fall back on the respective material at the place where design handovers take place.

The Development Phase

The magic of digital efficiency really kicks in at the stage following a successful handoff. A special UX repository – the Frontify Pattern Library – makes it possible to define, store, and reuse patterns; maximized productivity for the win.

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The creation of new patterns can be pushed through the Workflow itself, where the design team can have an eye on it before adding them to your Pattern Library. Real-time pattern previews, testing responsive behavior for page breakpoints, plus different screen sizes and device types are just some of the features which will help you to build products in harmony with design requirements.

For any issues that might arise once designs have made it over to development, such as image alignment hiccups, it’s important to keep those communication channels and feedback loops open. Keep track in your workflow and get design involved again, before, finally, launching your product.

Clarified, simplified design-to-development handovers are just one of the ways Frontify bridges the gaps. For more on how we connect digital experts, check out our success story with digital agency Namics, or dive into our ebook to examine the ins and outs of digitalization.

Rahulan Sivalingam

Product Marketing