November 2015 Notes

Topic was the Designer-Developer relationship and workflows

Facilitator Barb (for Gabe) Please add in your thoughts, I wasn’t taking notes


Because we all practice different skills in the designer-developer wheelhouse, there is no hard and fast workflow to follow—or partnerships to forge. The overall summary was: follow best practices and inform your partners early in the process if possible.

Designer perspective:

Barb’s process is before any web implementation is planned, a brand identity foundation is established. This isn’t always possible, but recommended. The following is a brief summary of the contents. This sets the most basic of marketing strategies and helps make design and development decisions when a marketing plan is not available.

  • Brand personality
  • Goals (1 year, measurable)
  • Competitive analysis (light, includes at least 3)
  • Audience personas for each segment
  • Tone of textual and visual content
  • Style guide for language, logo
  • Color palette

Other designers weighed in that a brand identity foundation, or discovery, would not be marketable to their client audience, and that to address these things more informally is their approach to keep costs down.

Developer perspective:

Make sure the designer has web experience and understands responsive, and can call out actions, states and interactivity.

Write code for mobile first.

A seamless browser-based design tool that exports clean and ordered code for WordPress may not be a realistic workflow right now.

Other thoughts:

Planning is the most important first step, and that includes the discovery phase. It can eliminate very expensive redesign and development.

Mark has a blog post on how to start planning:

And a guest post: that is equally important for any business, not only nonprofits.

Depending on whether you’re customizing an existing theme or starting from scratch, it is important to include the planning process with both designer and developer, depending on who is leading client management.

To say “I don’t know, let me check with my developer/designer” is a good way to handle things that come up mid-stream.

An interest in knowing what WP packaged themes were the most developer friendly [please list here]



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