Design Thinking

Making a beautiful design without a designer on the team

In the last five years, I have been part of few teams – in small and big companies and there’s one problem keeps occurring. That problem made me put myself in the developer’s shoes when there’s no designer on the team.

So, this article will be is the first one of the series #designertodeveloper helping tools and guides. In this way, I’d like to point out how can developers deal with this kind of environment. 


How to design without a designer on board

Design without designer on the team? How?

Some companies have a small budget and they have limited opportunities for human resources. So, they decide to “save” some money by putting all responsibilities to the developer. Even the designer ones. Some of the companies think that having mockups or prototypes is useless spending time. And at this moment they do not consider the struggle the developer goes through.
In my opinion, having a designer on board, whether is UI or UX, is crucial. A team member that will simplify the user flow based on research and intuitive and beautiful design is simply a game-changer. However, developers, I feel you. Even though I strongly stand behind my state of having a designer on the team is a winning strategy for your future project, I would gladly help you understand the design thinking. 

Let me start by giving you these 3 tips on how to make a beautiful design without a designer on the team.

 1. Choosing Colors

If you think that you don’t have the “eye” to choose the perfect pallet and use it, choose one dominating color. Use that color to accent the buttons, links, lines or borders. Next thing is to get lighter shades of gray and use them as background. Big light gray blocks divide the content gently.

Note: Not always you can bring the idea with just one color. If you really need to make a colorful design, make sure you use the right tools.

Maintain good colors when theres no designer on the team

2. Box shadow

This is an optional design feature. Box shadow makes the elements look like they float or bring a “3d” feel. Back in time, the designers used small amount of box shadow to make the buttons look 3d. But now, you would like to use the box shadow css attribute to show a block-level elements. Also the intensity is really important. Slightly darker shades than the background are the right choice.

Maintain good box shadow when theres no designer on the team

3. Keep an understandable flow

If you feel like you don’t know where’s the right place of the button, research. Somebody out there made it right. We, the designers that love user experience, do a lot of research before the main UX research. Researchception, haha. Oh well. Anyhow, in a world full of successful websites and apps you should not be afraid to take a look at how the others made it. Do not steal,  take an example.  The website should be like a book. Easy to read, understandable and interesting.  Based on your target market, try to follow the way that that audience reads. Fow example, in my country we read from left to right.  So, it means it would be easier to me to follow that direction of reading and interacting. Keep the flow simplest as you can. And give appropriate directions.

Maintain good box shadow when theres no designer on the team

We are wrapping things up!

Before searching anywhere else for example you may want to take a look at my portfolio and get some ideas there or on dribbble. Also, you can contact me if you need any specific help over here.

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