Ask DN: How do you review design implementations with developers?

9 years ago from , Product Designer

This is specifically for website reviews, but feel free to chime in about mobile as well. How do you usually review an implementation of a design and approve or comment on it? Are there tools for this?

Ideally I would like a screenshot or a live build of a design, and annotate on certain sections and send it back to the dev. If everything looks good, I would want to mark it as complete.

TL;DR Layervault for engineer/design reviews


  • Bowen LiBowen Li, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    I know this is a radical idea, but, how about just talking to the person? Assuming you have a test/dev environment to play around in before it goes live, just take a screenshot, mark it up, and then walk through the changes with them and why. And in return, listen to the costs, and tradeoffs.

    2 points
    • Taron Ghazaryan, 9 years ago

      This is sort of what I do now, I was just hoping that there would be a more automated solution. I do not want these annotations to live in slack or email.

      Ideal scenario would be.

      • Dev presses a button • I get a screenshot/build of what he developed • I annotate/sign off • Dev pushes code

      0 points
      • Aaron GrandoAaron Grando, 9 years ago

        The missing step in there seems to be "dev spends time implementing your feedback".

        As a dev myself, talking works best. Email and Basecamp (etc.) aren't great for discussing feedback...they're great for throwing work bombs over the "wall".

        There's always tradeoffs – to implement your feedback might take lots of time, cost a lot of performance, or require a technology that's not available across your entire device audience. Your dev's the person who knows this stuff, and you should talk to them.

        0 points
        • Taron Ghazaryan, 9 years ago

          I agree with everything you said, but I'm looking for a system suited for minor tweaks. e.g. Dev uses a wrong color, text style, animation is too slow etc.

          Anything that is going to take a lot of time or cost performance usually gets hashed out before any dev work is done.

          0 points
  • Sean LesterSean Lester, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    We will typically overlay a screenshot of the coded page on top of the mock - perhaps turning it into a GIF to show the difference, then cry, then TRY and bring it up to someone who ultimately doesn't think it matters. This isn't helpful, I know. u.u

    1 point
    • Bowen LiBowen Li, 9 years ago

      "Let go your earthly tether, enter the void, empty and become wind."

      Seriously though, pixel perfect implementation for web applications has massively diminishing returns. Given the range of screen sizes, browser zoom, fonts, and text / color rendering differences between browsers, it quickly becomes impossible on any medium-large complexity site.

      0 points
      • Sean LesterSean Lester, 9 years ago

        I would agree if we were talking about simply "pixel perfect implementation". But in our case, it's more they make up their own grid, sizes for everything, alignment, button sizes - basically enough things are wrong to where every page we mock turns into an embarrassing mess that in no way captures the elegance or intention of the mocks and no one here seems to think it matters.

        We are, however, a small company with limited resources and our only front end coders are actually back end programmers who are doing front end simply because there's no one else.

        2 points
        • Bowen LiBowen Li, 9 years ago

          I see what you are saying. What about defining a style guide, so there's no guesswork whenever you need a new button, form, header, etc.

          1 point
        • Cesar TorresCesar Torres, 9 years ago

          This elusive "talking" concept everyone is describing here should be happening all the time, not just in the implementation phase.

          There's a few steps you always go through in your design process; keep stakeholders in the loop during these. Not for "feedback" ("did you try putting this here?" — that's a whole different conversation, ha), but for buy-in — be that business-wise or tech-wise.

          We always build-in time for roadshowing a design recommendation, end to end, whether it's for the other designers on the team, the operations, marketing or exec teams — and definitely the oft-overlooked community and support teams.

          A product studio should be super collaborative, especially as a handoff and shipping stages near. You're creating design systems not just for the hell of it or because it's trendy — you're doing it because it's the helpful analytical part of designing print, web or mobile. Let the engineering team in on that. The team's workflow will be the better for it.

          1 point
  • Katarina RdultovskaiaKatarina Rdultovskaia, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    have you tried invision? basically allows you to do just that on multiple different layers: ie. client, internal, Dev


    0 points
    • Aaron GrandoAaron Grando, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

      Invision is great for previewing and distributing links (especially "in-situ" responsive sites). My team has found it not especially good for feedback. Tends to happen like this:

      Word Doc Joke

      0 points