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331: The Designer-Developer Handoff

January 29, 2020

This week, we answer two listener questions about designer-developer handoff. We dig into questions like: What does a good developer handoff look like? What information should it contain? What are systems to make the handoff more efficient for everyone involved? As always, we share our cool finds of the week, this time including a return of the 6-second video format and a useful language learning app.

Golden Ratio Patrons:

Sisu is looking for a thoughtful and data-savvy designer to help build the next generation of analytics software. You can find out more at (You might recognize Sisu from our interview with Michie Cao)

Flywheel is a delightfully designed managed WordPress hosting platform, thoughtfully built for busy creatives. Streamline your workflow with their slick platform and sweet set of workflow tools perfectly made for designers! Get started at

Pathrise is an online mentorship program that you land a great UX job. Previous fellows have been placed at Google, IBM, Atlassian and other exciting companies.You can learn more at

Latest VIP Patrons:

Huge shoutouts to our latest Very Important Pixels!

  • Rex Shi
  • Joe Thomas
  • Seth Richardson, with a tweet, too!
  • James Morgan
  • Alisa B
  • Sergio Rovira
  • Geetha Kardahally


  • We are very close to 128 patrons on our Patreon, the milestone needed for us to start making march!
  • Evangeline Ng shared that our last episode on Twitter Tips was useful, and has been surprised at how welcoming the community is. We agree!
  • Craig Van Wiechen tweeted about the Twitter Tips episode, noting the importance of positivity as well.
  • Michael Woodruff is holding our chapter marker naming standards to the highest level.
  • We heard back from Carly Batson, the question asker from episode 330: "I'm still trying to get comfortable with contributing, as I'm more of an observer... but your tips about positivity and consistency were great. Thanks again!"
  • Marshall shared some behind the scenes of just how much work goes into editing this podcast. Spoiler: it's a lot!

Listener Questions:

  • Michelle Lamond asks: Could you go over the details of design documentation and developer hand-off?
  • Eric Gendreau asks, similarly: "What are some best practices for handing off interaction design specs to developers?"
  • Our notes on developer handoff:
    • We're both over manual redlining. Instead, we give our teams access to source files (usually Figma), and teach engineers the right ways to measure distances, get variable names, and navigate the file.
    • Educating engineers about the underlying design systems and its core rules (measurement system, color naming patterns, etc.) is a high-leverage use of your time as a designer.
    • Have thorough specs for individual components, covering all of their variants and states. With the individual building blocks implemented properly, composed UIs will be much faster to communicate and build.
    • Don't be afraid to say "I don't know, but I'll find out" when posed with a question from your cross functional peers.
    • Do your best to meet your engineering team halfway: learn the tools, vocabulary, and constraints.

Cool Things:

  • Marshall is very excited about Vine 2.0, aka byte. This is the reincarnation of the 6-second looping video mechanic, with a wonderful design and clear interface.
  • Brian has been ramping up on learning Chinese with Hello Chinese, as part of his 2020 goals. The app has been super intuitive, and provides several useful exercise types to make learning easier.

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