Let me tell you a story about a designer and a developer who enjoyed pairing together and making something great.
Getting to Know You – the pairing world.
I had an amazing opportunity to join Devmynd(custom software development company) six months ago and I’ve loved it ever since. Our office is full of smart, talented, problem-solving people, all of which pair program. For those of you who don’t know, pair programming focuses on reviewing a partner’s code, to ensure maximum efficiency. Everyday, I see pairs of developers sitting shoulder-to-shoulder working on their projects, exchanging skills, and joking around. It’s no secret that being paired with someone works best when there is a good working relationship and a lot of patience. Alright, that’s enough of the developer’s love story. Let’s get into it!
Our Design Process
In previous working experiences, once I finished high fidelity mockups, I handed them off to the developers, along with endless pages of documentation. After that, the dev would send me a staged link, and I would do user testing to make sure the functionality was working correctly. And of course, I was obsessive about being a pixel perfect.
At Devmynd, our design process is all about collaboration, from beginning to end. On one project, I paired with Matt (a developer who loves dancing and spreadsheets) to conquer the front-end part. Matt and I went through the designs to figure out how best to set up our Sass variables such as font faces, font styles, font sizes, borders, paddings, colors, and so on. It turned out to be a great way to double check my own Ul elements, in order to maintain consistency throughout the product. Pairing allowed us to explore different animations, microinteractions, and we were able to tweak design interfaces in the browser.
After setting everything up, we started to build and carefully craft the main pages containing all the unique Ul elements. By working in this way, I was able to keep going on my own when Matt needed to focus on the backbone stuff, which I’m not ready for yet.
Why Were We Pairing?
Have you heard that pairing is caring? I know that’s a little cheesy, but it’s true! We were not only solving a complex problem, but we were able to pay close attention to the details–which is extremely important.
A developer should care about small design details: “Should we change the font size from 16px to 14px? That looks way too big for me,” or “Let’s add more padding to the left column.” It’s the same for a designer. A designer needs to have some HTML and CSS knowledge to understand the code structure and be able to translate through code. I learned so much about Haml (a simple version of HTML), Bourbon.io which is an amazing framework with a mixin library for Sass, and lastly the holy grail–Git commands. Gaining this thorough understanding is what makes it possible for our pairs to ship quality work.
The Three Big C’s of Pairing
Collaboration is the best way to solve problems.
We tackle problems from every possible angle and agree on the best solution.
Curiosity is how we learn and grow.
Asking questions when we don’t understand something, or simply out curiosity, will help us improve each other’s skills.
Challenging ourselves is what keeps us going.
Getting outside our comfort zone can take time and be difficult, but the rewards are worth it!
By the end of a project, we had both grown and developed new skill sets from our experience pairing together. And let me tell you, we made a great pair. However, in the end, the most rewarding aspect of our pairing together, is that we were able to deliver a product that we’re both really proud of.