We are a remote team of 60 people and we have two UX/UI Designers that are in process of migration from Web to iOS development.

I'm having a hard time managing the relationship between developers (Objective-C) and the UX/UI Designers because developers say the designers don't understand iOS development and there are no good resources that I know to educate designers on how to create mockups and UX for iOS.

Here the things I have tried without success:

Our current workflow is:

  • Designer creates a Mockup (PNG or animated GIF)
  • We ask details about measurements and non-iOS elements used
  • Designer send annotated image with static measurements
  • Developers give up and try to emulate de mockup in the code.

I suppose large companies as Facebook, Twitter, Apple, etc. have some way to deal with this problem.

What can I do to improve my process?

  • 1
    Question right now is probably too broad to be answerable. How designers and devs interact is highly team specific. Maybe try rephrasing your question to something more specific? Just as a quick response. If you don't have the right resourcing on your team, consider hiring a contractor with relevant experience as the temp design team lead to come up with a workflow with your devs, and teach your designers the basics. Once the process is in place, transfer the lead role to one of your in-house designers. – nightning Oct 6 '15 at 20:50
  • I agree with you. And from the other StackExchange communities I've learned that too broad questions are not ok, however I think it address an important concern that both UX and Dev professionals could benefit receiving an opinative answer. – ppaulojr Oct 6 '15 at 20:54

Our current workflow is:

...heavily waterfall and dependent on heavy documentation.

This rarely works. If ever. And especially hard to pull off when the UX folks have no technical knowledge.

Instead, I'd suggest adopting a more agile process. This doesn't have to be a formal agile process, but rather, embrace the idea of having your UX folks be a part of the dev team. Instead of tasking them with creating documents, task them with working side-by-side (virtually, of course) with your developers.

I'd suggest something like this:

  • UX folks define some shared elements (style guide, for example)
  • UX and Dev folks work together to create a pattern library
  • based on the above, UX folks create wireframes (not high-fidelity mockups)
  • UX folks then work with the developers to implement the screens based on the wireframes. UX folks don't dictate, but steer. Developers contribute to the UX as well.
  • After the page/feature/function is completed, UX looks back at the style guide and pattern library and makes updates as needed.
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Sounds like your designers need to become more in tune with what's possible in the platform, or at least, what the developers are happy to take on.

The trick, by the way, is to hire designers who aren't going to run into these issues in the first place.

Sketch Early with a Developer

As a solution, I'd change the first step in your workflow to be a collaborative sketching session and include a developer with the knowledge and authority to reality check ideas. The result is a set of generally approved, but rough, UI ideas. This is what your designers make their first set of mockups from.

Apps, Not Documentation

Regarding them otherwise learning the OS, rather than have them read through documentation, have them use competitive, or similar apps. Docs talk about how things should be, but apps show your how they are, and more importantly, how they fail.

If after a few months of having ideas pre-approved by developers, and exploring alternative apps, these designers show no sign of increased platform awareness, perhaps they're not in the right role.

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