How to Communicate with Website Developers

These five tips will help you make sure your ideas translate into code as painlessly as possible.

Development

So you want to make a change to your website. You’ve looked at the data, read up on 2019 website trends, and decided to make some edits to existing pages.

You reach out to your vendor and ask for what you think should be easy and painless edits.

It’s just a couple little things, you write, you just want to move around a few forms, display a hero image in a different part of your FAQ, add an infinity scroll to the home page — how big of a deal could these changes be?

Their development manager emails you back and lets you know your request won’t be a problem and it’ll only take — a month and a half for all of the changes to take effect.

You’re confused — the website has already been built. Shouldn’t making these changes be quick and painless?

However, even website edits that appear simple can take significant work on the back-end and require extensive design work.

Without the knowledge of a developer, how are you supposed to know which changes require 5 weeks and which changes require five minutes?

Communication is key. Being on the same page as your developers and designers can save you countless back and forths and hours of painful edits.

We asked our team to put together some quick tips on the best way to communicate with developers and designers and get the best results. Check out our tips below:

1) Familiarize your developers with the content you want to display and commit to a design that showcases it.

Developers and designers build your site to display your most important content in the most desirable way possible. It’s hard to design a website for content you have never seen and once the site is built, editing it to showcase different content will increase turnaround time.

Before you decide on a design, show your content to your developers — it helps them develop a site best suited for your needs and will reduce the number of significant design changes (and the time it takes to make them) later on.

2) Building and editing a website is complicated — there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

Be patient — you might think the requirements and design you want for website are simple. However, even a website that appears basic can require detailed design work and hours of development on the backend. While your request might seem simple to you, it probably entails more work than you think.

Content can be quickly updated, but structural and design changes take time to execute properly.

Here’s a general rule of thumb. If you can change it easily in a Word document, it will be a quick fix for your website. Highlights, bolding, font size, et al. can be changed without a problem.

Additionally, testing the functionality of your website and making sure it is secure takes time. Respecting the time it takes to properly test and secure a website can smooth communication between you and your developers.

3) Seemingly small changes can have an outsize effect on the overall feel and design of the website.

Small aesthetic changes can have big impacts on your website’s overall design. We call this the domino effect — if you want to change the size of a button on one of your pages, the rest of the website’s buttons should be changed to match your request as well.

Aesthetic consistency provides legitimacy to a website and inconsistency creates an unprofessional image and disorganized feel. 90% of users believe that poor design indicates an untrustworthy brand – so take your designer’s advice seriously.

4) Good edits vs. Bad edits

Not all edits are created equal.

“When requesting edits to a site, it’s important to be very specific about what exactly you’d like to change. Instead of saying ‘that doesn’t pop’, tell us what exactly about it doesn’t pop. We want to make the best website possible for you, and being clear about what you want – and don’t want – will make our jobs a whole lot easier.” – Josh Mahan, IMGE Director of Design

If you don’t like the initial design of your website, don’t simply tell the designer that it looks “bad.” Think about why you don’t like the design and present the designer with specific criticisms about what you do and don’t like about the current design. Giving designers concrete, direct, and specific edits will result in a better end product, speed up the editing process, and reduce unnecessary back and forth.

5) Invest in the product. Invest in the vendor. Invest in the process.

Commitment is important. Thoroughly developing and committing to a concept is important for both the client and the vendor. Organizational commitment to the direction of the project allows the developer to execute without hesitation or constantly altering the fundamental design and functionality of the site.

Make sure the people at the top of the approvals process sign off on the design before you create a final draft. Every significant stakeholder should be on the same page before the website is finished — nothing is worse than having to start from scratch because of a lack of communication.

Developing a website is a process. It requires multiple teams with different skill sets and hours of work. Being prepared for the process reduces pain points and last minute changes that cause missed deadlines and late nights.

When in doubt, trust the experts — there’s a reason you aren’t building your website by yourself.

How does IMGE approach website development? Learn more about our team here.

Thanks for reading!

While you're here, check out these related articles: