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I know there are already various topics discussing what we can do to get managers to buy into good development practices, but I was wondering if there are any specific things we can do to explain to designers that Web Development is more than just turning their design into a website.

I want to try and push them to design based on progressive enhancement, responsive design and ajax but I think there is a trend to stick to the print based design principles, which is understandable as it is their background, but is frustrating to a dev.

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closed as too broad by gnat, MichaelT, GlenH7, thorsten müller, Robert Harvey Jan 28 '14 at 0:01

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Good luck with that... –  Yannis Nov 10 '11 at 10:53
If they are primarily print designers, you have to somehow inspire their passion for web design and make them understand that it is a different medium to print design. Perhaps showing them some cool CSS3 demos or introducing them to something like smashing magazine. –  Kristian82 Nov 10 '11 at 11:45
Sorry, but it's not the designer's job to worry about software design standards; it is yours. Ask for what you need from the designer, from their point of view, using their terminology. They have no reason or incentive to adapt to your sensibilities. –  Robert Harvey Nov 11 '11 at 4:11
When they are designing for the web more than half the time I would be inclined to disagree with you. –  Toby Nov 11 '11 at 8:39
@RobertHarvey you got the idea. You can't design for a medium that you don't know. Progressive enhancement, responsive design and ajax-style interactions are not about standards, but design decisions. –  Ricardo Tomasi Nov 16 '11 at 6:01

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I just came from a work environment kind of like this. And two years later, we're re-building the whole site from scratch... finally. So, how is it done? In our case, the company split (and we're doing quite well still).

Since that's probably not desirable for you, I would suggest finding the common ground between your design rules as a web developer and theirs, as printers. For example, we generally agreed about the concepts of white space, headers, fonts and formatting, but disagreed on the amount of content per page, for instance. Explain these correlations.

Furthermore, it couldn't hurt to find an example (or a few) of a legacy website designed with print in mind and a new website using the latest technologies and styles to be appealing and useful (competitors, if possible). Show them your inspiration for your philosophies. The clearer they think your design philosophy is equal to theirs, you'll have more flexibility, even if they design for print instead of web.

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This is a two way process, the most successful projects I have worked on involved development teams with a decent understanding of the commercial pressures and vice versa, ie management teams who understood the commercial benefits of specific technology.

Every single project you work on should have as its first priority - return on investment. You should be flexibile enough as a developer/architect to mould your software and designs around your clients specific requirements. Don't be rigid in patterns, architectures or techniques. Every project has a different set of challenges. You mentioned responsive websites, let me give you an example.

Responsive web design is the new 'cool' thing and all us techies are advocating using it. However for eCommerce websistes, exact page layout and months and months of MVT testing to work out the exact layout or a page that converts best is critical. Changes to this page can be worth a huge amount of money to the business, I have seen conversions on pages drop 50% because a submit button fell below the fold of the page. This immediately suggests that you should not be using fully responsive pages on eCommerce sites.

This is just one small example but my overall point is be flexible and use the right technology and architecture for the project you are working on, not for your CV.

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