Oh, the sting of disappointment when hours of painstaking design efforts are returned with a lackluster end product. The design system disregarded. The nuances lost. The pain is common, in fact, a study by Anima uncovered this issue to be the biggest frustration for UX/UI designers. 

In this situation, it’s easy to get ugly. Your craft feels disrespected. Dashed is your hope of creating something great for the user. Blame, resentment, and bitterness follow. You either resign to apathy or dig in your heels for the bout ahead. My advice? Do whatever you can to avoid this situation in the first place. 

At Ample, we rarely experience this drop off in work quality from design to development. That isn’t (just) because we’ve an outstanding core group of designers and developers. It’s because we were able to identify the underlying issue: every designer on our team needs to deliver UI assets in the same way. To address that inefficiency, we created a production checklist so that all our deliverables were more consistent – alleviating guesswork, Slack messages and project management time. 

We thought sharing this might help bridge the gap between designers and engineers (making our digital world a little brighter). So here it is…

Ample's Designer/Developer Handoffs Checklist (PDF)

There are tons of caveats here. Everyone’s team makeup is different. The work is different. The processes. On and on. I get it. Is this an exhaustive, one-size-fits-all, the-checklist-to-rule-all-checklists? Heck no. Consider it a step in the right direction. Or better yet, a start of a conversation. 

Rob’s pro tips:

  1. Review the guide we use for designer-to-programmer handoffs.
  2. Copy it into a place where you can eventually share it like Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, a Slack post or your project management tool of choice.
  3. Customize the list to fit your work, team or project.
  4. Share it with your development team to get their feedback.
  5. Make an instance of the checklist every time you handoff design work.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5.

One of our engineers signs off each email signature with, “an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of code.” The truth of that statement sticks. I believe developers want the same outcome as designers do – excellence. By digging in the corners during production (aka the least sexy part of the job) designers can extend their ownership of the process and ensure a smooth handoff each and every time. Then, instead of focusing on what’s wrong when you see the end product, you can collaborate with your development team to polish the details. 

Great teams make products better as they go. Hopefully this guide will help you get a little better.  

Interested in moving to the JAMstack? Let's talk.

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