Developer not following designer's design

almost 7 years ago from , Senior UI Designer

Have you all encounter this issue that developer didn't follow designer's design? Have a project recently, the designer designed the website in 978 grid system, after the designs all come out and then pass it to developer. But developer develop using 960 grid system. I ask the developer why don't just follow the designer's PSD grid, he told me that he think 960gs is what he always use to develop website. Although just a 18px width different, but we still can sense out some of the element is looks wrong in the development site.

So what I can blame? Is the designer didn't tell the developer which grid system he gonna use for the design? or blame the developer didn't follow exactly the design grid system? or the project manager (which also think 960gs is the must follow grid to follow)?

Now the project is already on development so I just can ask the designer to follow developer grid, but I can sense that she not very satisfy with my decision.

After I've talk to the developer and the project manager (both of them quite new in the company), I only know the answer why they so insist to use 960gs, they want to do it in 960gs cuz then the design can be view in iPad...but our contract with client didn't have this part to optimising the website for tablets.

The grid is not affecting the iPad view is it correct? Let's say I've design a website in 1200px width (non-responsive), the iPad still will fit the width to show the website right?


  • Zoltan Szalay, over 6 years ago

    Well this time Blame the developer. 960gs is oldschool because it's not a responsive framework. Just check out the 960.gs site, there's a nice little message on the top, if you want a responsive grid framework go to Unsemantic ... So your developer at least should use Unsemantic.

    On the other hand you should blame the designer too, because nowadays it's not a good practice to design with a fixed grid. Sure 978px wide site will look good on iPad landscape, and will work on desktop screens, but then you forgot about other tablets, ipad portrait and mobile phone screens.

    The answer for you last question is yes, the iPad can fit the website, but it will not be readable if you design a 1200px wide site. That's bad practice too. Responsive or at least Adaptive design is the way to go. Your designers and developers should really know this.

    5 points
    • John LockeJohn Locke, over 6 years ago

      Thanks for saying what I was thinking, Z. Fixed width layouts are kind of becoming a thing of the past. While the designer might be upset that their masterpiece has been ruined by 18 pixels, I just see fixed width as something we should ALL be moving away from by now.

      0 points
    • , over 6 years ago

      Yah I agree responsive/adaptive is a way to go, but the company have raise the price if offering client the responsive website, and mostly client not willing to pay for it or not enough budget. As a designer, I can't involve more in the financial part, that's the sad thing for me in current company and I'm leaving soon too. That's why I need to try to make the fresh designer and developer work well now so all of us can move on with ease~ :)

      0 points
  • James DellarJames Dellar, almost 7 years ago

    There is a saying... Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.

    I would recommend getting a process in place where the designer and developer talk frequently throughout the project so they're both aware of what is planned to be built and how it will be accomplished. This means that the developer can prepare themselves & research the necessary dev libraries to ensure that everyone; both internally and externally are happy with the final product. The last thing you need is a design team not trusting the capabilities of the development team. This will also lower morale. A happy team is a productive team and this is achieved by not allowing people to assume functionality. Learn from this and see it as a communication break down and ensure that the right things are in place to not let it happen again.

    4 points
  • csswizardry ⁠csswizardry ⁠, almost 7 years ago

    This designer–developer relationship is something of huge interest to me. It’s a little shameless, so I apologise, but I recently gave a talk on exactly this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldx4ZFxMEeo&hd=1

    I think there is a healthy balance that needs to be reached: I don’t think developers should have to build a site exactly as the PSD just because ‘that’s what the designer wanted’, but I do think that any alterations the developer does wish to make should be fully discussed and agreed upon by all involved parties.

    It’s an interesting one, and I’m sure it shall continue to happen, but I do wish people were more transparent about how they wish to work.

    3 points
  • Steve McKinneySteve McKinney, almost 7 years ago

    I think this is probably a learning curve for everyone. As any work you do involving multiple people, you should communicate what is to be done/expected.

    If you design a website and use a particular grid system, let the developer know, let them know the measurements you use, every detail to make sure it turns out the way you want it. This may slow down the work rate and things but if that's how it is to be so you're satisfied then so be it.

    Whenever I have felt something should be done just because, it's never been the case. You can never assume someone will just follow your design, people will always do what is most comfortable to them. I know I have so I didn't have to write some unnecessary CSS. I do it in my own designs and accept that what I design in photoshop isn't the final word just an idea.

    3 points
  • tom randletom randle, almost 7 years ago

    This is one of the problems 'designing in the browser' helps to solve.

    3 points
  • Jacob Kelley, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    I made a frontend framework comparable to Bootstrap, lets just call it Framework. This is our consolidated design.

    Every design element on a page can be boiled down to one of three classifications:

    1. The designer has created a 1-off style that can be easily replaced by the other styles we use, opt for default Framework CSS styles.

    2. The designer has created a 1-off that could easily be reused in the future, add to Framework

    3. The designer has intentionally created a 1-off that is only for a certain thing, code the CSS by hand, do not add to Framework.

    Often times, I will make the best decisions for my designers. They have good intentions, but to be honest, you should know how to design for the web by now, and opting for 978 vs 960 would make a lot of frontend devs question your motives.

    Work with your dev, your medium is wicked dynamic and it's something you'll need to feel out for yourself. Nobody is to blame, he's not insulting you, none of that.

    2 points
  • Jaeson BrownJaeson Brown, almost 7 years ago

    At the core, it's an organizational issue in my opinion. Nothing uncommon but just clearer communication at the scope level. A designer - developer relationship is always delicate. Each is or should be very passionate about their job and have spent time learning tools, tricks and trades to be more proficient at it. The designer went with what was right in their opinion with the 978 grid. The developer is probably use to only developing for a 960 grid or feels that he is right in his decision.

    There should have been some communication during the scope phase to discuss what tools would be used and why. The designer would have the chance to make his or her argument for the 978 grid and there could have been a healthy debate between the team on yes or no. Designers usually win in this debate. Clearer communication is always good.

    0 points