Projects rarely give much thought as to who is to design and continue to evolve the screen layouts over time. Sometimes it’s one of the stakeholders, sometimes management other times someone tasked specifically as a UI design expert. This article explains why you should reconsider involving the person who will implement the screens.

There’s an interesting presentation ‘Planning Android Screens’ by Dmytro Danylyk from GDG DevFest Ukraine 2015. He describes how the app designer should not be the sole decision maker…

Developer will be able to give your design team visibility into areas of the design that can either become costly to implement, or present performance challenges for the app.

I agree. It’s amazing how many UI designs I have come across that have had no thought put into the cost vs customisation balance. The more you move away from the standard Android and iOS UI the more it’s going to cost. In some cases the extra complexities are for no good reason and it’s my experience that they often get removed later during a later UI iteration.

I believe the problem partly comes about due to the way developers are usually employed. There’s a traditional ‘how much will this cost’ or ‘how long will it take’ conversation that demands some sort of understanding of what needs to be implemented. Hence, companies are pre-disposed to decide what needs doing before contacting the developer. However, it doesn’t need to be like that. Consider contacting your developer earlier and employing them for a very short time to help with the initial screen planning. You might think this is difficult if you haven’t yet chosen a developer but in those situations you might even use the quality of the resulting advice to fine tune who you want to do the development. As with development features, mitigate the risk by assessing the unknowns as early as possible.

Involving the developer earlier will usually reward you with a faster, less expensive project.