Warm Gun: Sell Design to Engineering

by Luke Wroblewski December 1, 2011

In her But What about Latency: How to sell design to your engineering friends presentation at the Warm Gun Design Conference in San Francisco, CA Rebecca Bortman shared some tips for designers to work better with engineers.

  • When you understand why your co-workers are different than you, you can learn how to work with them. Designers and engineers are often on the opposite side of personality tests. This is a good thing as it creates a good balance.
  • Be available to answer questions about your pixels.
  • Never let an engineer see you pick a color –they think it’s a secret process. Keep it that way.
  • Be careful about how you use language. It should be different for business owners and executives.
  • Executives want a logical explanation for why you are doing things and need some assurances things won’t change completely.
  • Try to avoid using the words “feels” and “always” in design reviews. This removes subjectivity in conversations.
  • Spec-ing is a very tedious job but it’s really important. Most engineers don’t want a spec up front. “Nah, I’ll just look at the Photoshop file.” But over time they learn to appreciate detailed specs.
  • Specs can also serve as a record of decisions.
  • In your designs, always determine what the key elements are. Have arguments ready about why those elements cannot change. Be prepared to make visual compromises in other areas that don’t matter as much.