Design engineering: bridging the gap between design and development
In the past, a design workflow involved crafting mockups and documentation, which we would then pass on to a front-end or full-stack developer. Throughout the development process, we would thoroughly review and test these materials to achieve a finalized design. While this approach had its merits, it failed to consider the dynamic nature of websites or products, their evolution over time and the importance of accessibility. Design engineering offers a solution by integrating design and engineering skills, fostering collaboration between designers and developers throughout the entire development process.
A design engineer possesses a blend of design and front-end development skills, enabling them to bridge the gap between design and development.
A robust CSS architecture allows for flexibility and adaptability when dealing with changes in design or evolving CSS techniques. As new design iterations or CSS features emerge, design engineers can update and refine the CSS modules within the architecture without affecting the entire codebase. This modularity and separation of concerns facilitate easier maintenance and future-proofing of the design system.
Design engineers are knowledgeable about accessibility guidelines and standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and can effectively address the needs of diverse users, including those with disabilities. They consider factors such as screen readers, keyboard navigation, alternative text for images, captions for multimedia content, and other accessibility features that facilitate interaction for users with disabilities.
Design systems provide a centralized library of reusable UI components and design patterns, ensuring consistency and efficiency across different projects. This modular approach enables designers engineers to easily adapt to changes by updating and refining the components within the system.
Design engineers excel at collaborating with designers, developers, and stakeholders. They can effectively communicate design concepts and requirements to technical teams, while also understanding and incorporating feedback from various stakeholders to refine and improve the design.
As a design engineer, my skill set allows me to bridge the gap between design and development, ensuring that visual aesthetics, maintainability and accessibility are all taken into account.
Together, we can make a significant impact in creating better, more inclusive digital experiences.