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Designing the Process: Collaborating Across Design and Development

Published on by Harry Segal, CEO Segal Savad, and Kenia Seretta, Digital Creative Director, Segal Savad

Design + dev

First and foremost, we are strategists and designers. As channels of engagement continue to grow, the opportunities (and challenges) to succeed increase exponentially. To keep up with this change, we must work across the aisle. We must rely on our technology partners early on in the scoping and discovery process, as well as most phases of design. We call on technology partners that are able to understand our strategic vision and help us execute through all phases of the project. In this post, We’ll describe how we at Segal Savad approach the process of collaborating across design and development.

Across any channel of interface we ask, “What are we trying to communicate and what is the best user journey? ”Whether working internally within a company, or working with partners,  successful digital engagement requires a seamless integration of creative and technology. Working together opens up greater opportunity for us all. At the same time, staying isolated in our silos will no longer work. Great creatives must understand and support their technology partners, and great developers and architects must understand the needs of marketing and be able to communicate with their design partners. Thankfully, Adobe has empowered all of us with the tools for a fluid workflow stream.


How we work as designers

While designing and creating a user experience across multiple channels, we always keep the end user in mind. From branding, event, and collateral design to creating websites, apps, screens, AR/VR, social and more, the user must be the center. 


1. Where we start - setting project goals
As problem solvers, we work with the full team (designers/developers/marketers/writers/key stakeholder, etc.) to establish the key issues we are trying to solve and begin from there.

• Research + Discovery
The initial step in the creation of any product is to set communication goals and what success would mean for the client and the end user. This initial phase sets the foundation for all design and development work. All teams bring in their questions as a starting point - "Who are your main user groups? What technology systems are you currently using? What is the company’s idea of a successful project? Who will be managing the design, development and client feedback processes?" Involving our developers, key stakeholders and main design team in this step ensures we are all aligned towards success.

• Documentation
Our design lead and a project manager from the development team clearly document the needs and ideas discussed at this stage and further define the project scope. Documenting these things early on provides a reference point throughout the project and clarity for all parties involved.

• Project planning

At this time, our design and development team work together to discuss an initial site map, user journeys and initial sketches and top line wireframes to get the iterative design process going. Pen and paper are still invaluable tools when planning. When ready, diving into Adobe XD and getting a good start will allow an easy transition into the design phase.

2. The process - working collaboratively
Gone are the days of working individually as a designer and presenting work we are in love with at our very first meeting. Sitemaps & wireframes should lay out our general sense of the project and should be refined with client and developer feedback. Showing a rough work in progress that has been vetted internally by our team, as well as our developers ensures our concepts and ideas are feasible and fit the documentation goals outlined above.

3. Clarity in communication - engaging client feedback
Perfection is not the goal with wireframes! Once we have key stakeholder feedback, and feel all of our bases are covered in terms of scope and project needs, we continue the refinement process in the prototyping and design stages.

• Creating an interactive prototype
Providing a top line prototype for the full team to engage with allows them to really focus on the interactions and overall flow of the project. Presenting a flat pdf or full design too early, may cause clients to focus on nitty gritty details such as color and typography. While those are important for the final product, getting caught up in these details will hinder the client’s ability to focus on the key elements of the user experience.

• Repeat & Iterate
Keeping this process going throughout the design & implementation stages allows all team members to be equally involved in the discussion and provide ideas from different perspectives. Creating complete prototypes for the designs allow team members to fine tune and provide clear feedback. XD allows for comments to made directly on the prototype, making the feedback process seamless and easy to track.

How the process has evolved and where to go from there


• Design hand-offs are things of the past
At the end of this process as designers we create production files and guides and hand off to the developers. Our work does not end here. We have learned that the most successful projects are the ones with open lines of communication long after the designing is complete. We encourage our developers to show us works in progress to give design feedback and help solve unforeseen issues that may arise more efficiently.

• The client is your partner
A truly engaged client becomes an invaluable member of this process and team. Having a successful partnership involves trust that is built up from that very first meeting and the communication that follows until launch and beyond.

• Ever changing design & marketing tools

Whether its using XD for prototyping, After Effects for creating compelling videos, Adobe AEM for dev and asset management, Analytics, Target & Campaign for testing and improvements as well as personalization, staying up on the latest tools will only create a stronger solution for everyone.


About Segal Savad

Founded in 2000, Segal Savad is an experiential design consultancy based in New York City. We combine strategy, award-winning design, cutting-edge technology and data marketing to develop impactful user experiences that help companies transform and grow.

We are also an Adobe solutions partner specializing in XD and AEM for web and mobile development with a particular focus on user experiences across a complete customer journey.


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