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Collaboration versus handoff, and avoiding broken promises

I’m a fan of web designers and developers collaborating closely rather than designers throwing mock-ups over the wall. Recently I read two newsletters relating to this topic, or perhaps more accurately about perceived divisions between design and development and some better, more modern ways of thinking.

The first, The best handoff is no handoff from Smashing Magazine, presents alternatives to waterfall including The Hot Potato Process espoused by Brad Frost and Dan Mall.

The second, Promises from Clearleft argues that presenting flat designs for sign-off at an early stage of a project doesn’t make sense given the nature of the web, and that it makes promises that can’t be kept.

In practice, sign-off leads to disappointment for everyone involved. A design created in isolation in a graphics-design tool almost never survives contact with the reality of the web. The client is disappointed that the final output doesn’t match what was signed off. The developer is disappointed that they weren’t consulted sooner. The designer is disappointed that the code doesn’t match the design.

Clearleft argue instead for presenting the coded page in the browser because it avoids broken promises and presents reality.

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