Is This Really a Post PSD Era?

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Ever since this post came out in January I’ve been thinking about the way we do web development. Most people I know who work on agencies work in a process like this:

  1. Client hires agency.
  2. Client meats with Account Executive and Designe
  3. Designers come up with site.
  4. Client loves design and approves it.
  5. Account Exec meets with Developers and they figure out how long it will take.
  6. Random stuff here.
  7. Developers make websit
  8. QA work
  9. Client approval.
  10. Everybody wins and we all get medals!

Is this the most efficient way to build a website? Should developers be so far removed from the project that they don’t do any work until the designers come up with the site and make it?

First of all, let me say that designers are awesome. They have great attention to detail and they have a mock up for everything including hover states, modal windows, everything you can think of. Sure, sometimes things come up in development that there isn’t a design for. And Developers are not Designers. I know this from personal experience and from working with my fellow developers. Every now and then you come across one of those gifted developers who can do some design work but it’s a rarity.

The emphasis lately tends to be on wireframing first followed by fleshing out the design later. Design elements of the site and mash them up so the client isn’t focused on details and more on the overall layout. Once the layout, and functionality is ironed out then move on to focusing on the details.

Another reason for developing in this way is because of the rise of mobile devices. Clients are starting to look at their phone, their tablet, and wanting their site to work on these. The days of one design fits all are fading. Your site should respond to various devices and look good on all of them.

It makes far more sense to spec out the elements, the general layout, and get those sorted and then move on to color, hover states, etc. and focus on the details.

What do you think about this? How is your development process changing with
the increasing prevalence of mobile devices and clients starting to
notice mobile traffic?

Let me know in the comments! I’m interested to see how others are dealing with this.