Designers are from Venus, developers from Mars

Every good web team should have at least one designer and one developer. I think we can all agree this is out of the question. Of course, you will need to have other “titles” to keep everything going, but today we will focus on these two because we think we can help you make them more efficient without hacking their comfort zone.

We know that because we are a team of designers and developers and we are using the same approach. It helps us work better together, be more efficient and have fun at the same time.

What is the problem anyway?

If you are running an agency or a web project team you probably heard conversations like this one:

Designer -Developer talk

I am sure you have similar misunderstandings in your own team. The problem is that the designer is approaching the problem differently compared to the programmer.

For him/her moving a layer 3 pixels left is 11 milliseconds, but for example, this can be 30 min of work for a developer and usually, he/she will use the same words – “move this layer 3 px left, please”. There is no such thing like layer for the programmer.

On one hand, you’ve got the designer’s creativity and thinking about the details and on the other hand is the way how the programmer thinks about a problem and what is his/her approach to finding a solution.

Let’s not go deeper but this is a problem and we know how to easily solve it.

The Solution

I’ll keep telling you how we actually solve issues like that in our team and in our clients’ teams.

Please read carefully because this is how you can solve your communication issues, make your team more efficient and ultimately have 8 man-hours more per week. That’s a whole day!

We are using something called “visual annotated screenshots” in order to help designers and developers to be on the same page.

Instead of “Can you move this (pointing at your monitor) 3 pixels to the left?” how about this?

can-you-move-these-3px-to-the-left-pleas

The designer can show what exactly he/she needs, using the tools that any designer is familiar with.

The developer will get a bug report in the project management system you are using with all the necessary details, plus:

  • browser version
  • operating system
  • screen size

and more data automatically collected to help them work better and to understand what the designer needs exactly.

Additional details

The staging server

Most of the successful web projects are using a server where they can deploy the current snapshots of the projects so developers, designers and the rest of the team, we will not mention in this article, can work together.

Usersnap can be installed on this server with just few lines of code and will bridge the communication gap between programmers and developers. Now they are on the same planet (remember the title).

They live on the “Completed on time”-continent.

Do you have the same problem?

Probably if you are reading this and if you are here, you do. So let’s get started? Oh, if you don’t have a staging server, don’t worry, you can use Usersnap on any server and website.

(Also feel free to forward the instruction to someone who is responsible for setting up things like that)

  1. Sign-up for an account with us by clicking here. It’s free for 15 days and we will not take your credit card now.

  2. Log in and configure your first project: Usersnap_-_Your_sites_-_2014-06-05_15.10.46

  3. Hit Save and use the code that will appear to embed Usersnap to your web project.Usersnap_-_Your_sites_-_2014-06-05_15.14.13

  4. While there, take a look at the right side of your browser – here you can set up where the feedback will be delivered – you can use bug tracking system, project management system, helpdesk software or even your own internal solution

Usersnap_-_Your_sites_-_2014-06-05_15.15.23

Not convinced yet

Feel free to contact us by writing help@usersnap.com.  It’s always nice to know who we are working for day and night.

Codefront.io Conference in Linz

In Linz begins

We recently attended and sponsored this year’s Codefront.io conference in Linz and it was great fun! A variety of topics were covered, here’s just a few hightlights of the talks given: Twitter’s Andy Hume talked about Resilient Front Ends and why your web application should work on your daily train commute. Thomas Schranz from Blossom shared his insights about product management: “Building products people want”. He also maintains a collection of top blog-posts about product management here and even more can be found here (both recommened). Miavia‘s Carina Wetzhuetter talked about the strangest feature requests she’s ever seen and why building a consumer product is hard as users tend to know the product roadmap better than the product team itself. Gercek Karakus provided excellent and actionable tips how to super charge your front end with the best UX.
Last but not least, Vitaly Friedman from Smashing Magazine gave his impressive and comprehensive talks about Responsive Web Design.

Find some impressions below!

Continue Reading “Codefront.io Conference in Linz”

Meet fellow startupers from all over Europe. Every Friday. Online!

It all started a few weeks ago when we were having our Friday online standup.

Our Perg team opened a couple of beers to celebrate a really hard week. During this meeting the idea came up – why don’t we create an event where people like us – startupers, can grab a beer (or juice) and share some moments from their week – ideas, troubles, little victories or just get in touch with fellow colleagues.

This is how StartupBeer was born. Continue Reading “Meet fellow startupers from all over Europe. Every Friday. Online!”

We support Codefront.io, Bulgaria Web Summit and Alpe-Adria Camp

I am not sure how to begin this. We are a team of developers, designers and …well, a team of geeks. We love being part of a crowd and to contribute to the community of people like us.

That’s why we are helping some events this year to be even more awesome and will continue to do so as good as we can.

Codefront.io

A ground-shaking festival for Front-end Developers, UI/UX Designers and Web ninjas! If you are brave enough to join as a lightning talk speaker – you will receive a gift from Usersnap. <- That’s us 🙂

Bulgaria Web Summit

Continue Reading “We support Codefront.io, Bulgaria Web Summit and Alpe-Adria Camp”

Developers Will Never Need To Leave Vim Again.

To be honest it all started as a joke when this tweet became one of the most popular in the IT world. I am sure you know it:

The problem

The truth is everybody needs to do multitasking today. The real cost of it  is hidden, but you’ll definitely lose at least 40% of your productivity if you are constantly switching between apps. Let’s try and do some other stuff in between. 🙂

40%: This is too much!

Continue Reading “Developers Will Never Need To Leave Vim Again.”

De-Paint-ize your world – be more efficient and happier!

We’ve talked with a lot of people these days in our attempt to help them become more efficient and happy. We want to share our thoughts and knowledge in a series of articles.

What we’ve discovered:

  1. It’s really hard to inspire a change. We realized there are the people acting like trained robots – do step 1, do step 2, use this tool, etc. No fun at work, no change.
  2. Some of the managers don’t care about the effectiveness of their employees. Hard to believe? Are you still using “good old MS Paint” to report problems? Still using tools and tricks from late 90’s, without a change. This is just the top of the iceberg.
  3. Many people are really fed up with all those old techniques they have to use at work. They know there is a better way, because they are doing it at home. Yes, you can spend less time reporting problems, for example, and more time doing something more important.
  4. Oh, there is much more to that and If you are interested in learning more, please sign up from here to be announced. As usual no blah blah, guaranteed.

Continue Reading “De-Paint-ize your world – be more efficient and happier!”

Basecamp Integration Improvements

Here at Usersnap we have a lot of customers who love our 3rd party integrations of bug trackers, project management and customer service tools. We also have an open ear for useful hints how to make our integrations even better. In a previous update we already improved the Basecamp integration, today we deployed additional improvements for Basecamp, which you can use from now on.

The first hint to improve the Basecamp integration came from Nicolas Glinoer from walkingmen.com. The idea was to use the email address given in the Send Report form when taking a Usersnap to map the reporter to a user in Basecamp.

The big advantage is that no further action must be taken in Basecamp to get change notifications regarding this bug.

Continue Reading “Basecamp Integration Improvements”

Brian Lovin: I try to find beauty in the real world and in the pixels on the web

When we started Usersnap we wanted to help people in Web Development and Design to focus on the more important stuff in life than handling endless Email support conversations. That’s why we are starting a new series in our blog, called “Picture My Work”. In this series we ask designers and web devs to give us a little sneak peak into their daily work routines, their values, their tools and what they like / dislike about their work.
This is the fifth post in this series and we asked Brian Lovin, a Designer turned Product Manager at Buffer, the company that built an amazing business out of a decisive culture and a scalable cronjob, for his set of answers. Follow him on Twitter: @brian_lovin, see his portfolio on dribbble or read his blog.
1. Tell us about your work in 140 characters.
I’m a designer turned product manager working at Buffer, writing on my blog and shooting pixels on Dribbble. I’m always trying to learn.
2. What is good design for you personally?
I think that if we’re talking about design as a whole – software, hardware, etc – anything that a person can understand immediately is something that likely encompasses good design. No instructions needed, no tutorials or tooltips.

3. What type of designer are you: perfectionist (obsessed with detail, careful, hard working), magician (based on intuition, that needs a lot of experience, makes it look simple), inspired (using what you see around in the world, combining and curating), other?
I’m always trying to learn and expand my horizons. I try to find beauty in the real world and in the pixels on the web. I love finding designers who embody a style totally their own, one which forgoes trends and is simply well-designed.

4. How do you approach working with a client on the design / creation process?
I try to have a goal in mind with each of my designs. What do I want a user to do? How do I want a user to feel using this tool/feature? Putting myself in that mindset helps me to forgo some of the visual fluff that can too-easily creep into my work.
Buffer is the best way to schedule social media posts

5. What is your biggest annoyance?
Having a vision in my head and I just can’t get the pixels to work with me. Sometime this just means turning off the computer and taking a long walk to clear my head.

6. What is your best moment / biggest success?
Still to come, I’ve got a long way to go.

7. How old would you like to become and why?
Old enough to have left a mark on the world and the people who are important to me.

8. How strong is your self critique? Do you believe it?
Designers are their own toughest critic, and that’s what drives many of us forward. It’s good to keep a level head and understand that there’s always more to learn and more room to improve in your workflow and in the design itself.

9. Which person that already died would you like to meet for one more time?

10. Which project are you currently working on? What files are open in Photoshop?

I’ve been working with Andy Yates on a redesigned iOS app for Buffer with an updated design to fit in on iOS7. We’re hoping to have this one live in the next month, pending our upcoming bug hunts.
Buffer iOS7
Right now I have a couple exploration documents open for some improvements to the Buffer landing page and pricing pages. No screenshots at the moment, but I’ll be sharing more on Dribbble in the next few weeks.
Buffers Team Page shows the love for detail
11. What is your favorite tool for work?
Pen + Moleskine for sketching
Photoshop for pixels
Sublime for coding and prototyping
12. What design trend do you think will fade soon?
Unsolicited redesigns.

13. If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?
I’ve been designing and developing for my entire adult life – I’m not sure what else I’d be doing if design didn’t fit into the picture somewhere.
14. How do you handle the feedback process with your clients in general?
I try to remember that my solution is not always the best solution. There’s always more to learn, more perspectives to consider and ideas to digest. My team knows that I don’t attach my ego to my work, and they are always amazing about pointing out where my design is weaker and needs rethinking.

15. What would you like to know from other designers?
I love learning about different tools that designers are using in their workflow. Following people on Twitter has helped open my eyes to some really cool writing and tools that have stuck with me over time.

Thanks Brian!

If you are a designer / web developer and want to give us a little peak into your world, write to hello@usersnap.com or ping us at @usersnap.

This article was brought to you by Usersnap – a visual bug tracking and screenshot tool for every web project.

Usersnap brings color into your life

Over the last weeks we spent our days and nights working on the brand new Usersnap widget. Today we are very happy to officially release the new Usersnap widget to everyone!

It’s now quite easy to match your site’s design with one of Usersnap’s color templates. Speaking of colors: we also added colors for the pen, the arrow and the sticky note tool. Apart from the obvious a lot of effort went to UX improvements. Not only can you scribble colorful feedback but color can also be used underline

The Ruler Tool

Starting with today, we’ll add tools specifically useful for web developers Moreover, we are adding a ruler tool which allows you to double check distances and dimensions, right in your browser.

Continue Reading “Usersnap brings color into your life”

Markus Schmeiduch: I think the classic client/agency concept is broken.

When we started Usersnap we wanted to help people in Web Development and Design to focus on the more important stuff in life than handling endless Email support conversations. That’s why we are starting a new series in our blog, called “Picture My Work”. In this series we ask designers and web devs to give us a little sneak peak into their daily work routines, their values, their tools and what they like / dislike about their work.

This is the third post in this series and we asked Markus Schmeiduch, who founded Flying, an app that brings back the glamour of the Pan Am era, for his set of answers. Follow him on Twitter: @smeidu or see his website.

1. Tell us about your work in 140 characters.
I design all things interactive and craft digital products & services. Maker of @TheFlyingApp, @Orbitalism, @KiezExplorer. #CIID alumni. Continue Reading “Markus Schmeiduch: I think the classic client/agency concept is broken.”