Video: Developers break the designer egg

A presentation at Microsoft's Remix conference neatly described how developers and designers work together to create new applications
Written by Munir Kotadia, Contributor on

Developers and designers are in a constant battle when working together on an application or website project. A presentation at Microsoft's Remix conference in Melbourne last month described the issues perfectly — with an egg.

During the opening session of Remix, which was the first Australian conference organised by Microsoft aimed at both the developer and designer communities, user design evangelist Shane Morris described a common problem.

First he explained that, as a designer, his job is to understand who will be using the application, how they will use it, where they will use it and which technology they will use to access it. "I produce a design vision that includes the behaviour of a product as well as the look and feel. Then I describe that vision in some sort of specification — I produce wire-frames, site maps, story boards and scenarios".

"We accompany that specification with mock ups… that illustrate the user interface and how it will appear on screen. Sometimes we go one step further and build a click-through prototype, maybe in some clunky HTML that we are going to throw away," said Morris.

As he spoke, attendees watched the big screen as a perfectly formed egg started to evolve from a simple line drawing into a sophisticated 3D picture.

"We put together that design vision and hand it over to the development team for production," said Morris, as the picture on the screen changed into that of a hand holding a smashed egg.

"Then, through a process we call compromise, we eventually come up with the final product," he said as, on screen, the "final product" turns out to be a broken egg that seems to have been put back together with glue.

This was obviously a presentation designed to sell the crowd into the benefits of using Silverlight and Microsoft's other design-oriented tools, but for anyone that has ever wondered why applications or websites never seem to look the way they were supposed to, this is an excellent explanation.

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