How to find a web developer who can turn design into code

Turn design into code

Many of my clients are graphic designers who need a developer to turn their design into code.

They design the website, and I develop it for them.

When new graphic designer clients come to me, they say things like:

  • “I can’t find a developer who actually makes the website look like my design.” 
  • “Developers never get my design right.” 
  • “They miss all the important details.” 
  • “It never looks how I want, and I have to spend so much time making edits.”

So pretty much, they spend all this time designing a website for their clients, and then their developer goes rogue. How frustrating!

I understand this frustration because I’m a WordPress designer, too. I understand the thought, precision and strategy that goes into design. (I also have a Master of Arts degree in Graphic Design from SCAD.) So I know that when a designer designs a website for their client, it’s because they want it to look exactly that way!

As a WordPress developer who is also a designer, I care about typography, white space, margins, padding, line height, and the way type is arranged with other elements. All of this matters to me. I care about the subtleties and nuances that go into the design, how to turn design into code, and bringing the designer’s intention to life accurately on the web.

Here’s how I turn design into code:

My ‘You design it‘ (I develop it) package includes:

  1. The designer provides a mockup in whatever format they like best: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, XD or Sketch. My personal favorite is Illustrator.
  2. We review it together. On a screen share, the designer guides me through their design. We make sure that we’re both viewing the same design in the same size, and talk about the fonts they’ve used. We discuss what kind of functionality they want things to have. For example, if they want a certain button or icon to function in a specific way, they can describe that to me, or better yet, provide an example from another website or from CodePen. This review helps me ask clarifying questions and understand precisely what the designer wants so I can interpret that for the web.
  3. I make suggestions based on the latest web standards. When I design WordPress websites, I design in a grid so there is some standardization and cohesiveness between the pages. Sometimes, if a new designer client is just starting to design for the web, I will make suggestions on how to do their design the most justice for the web, allowing everything to be readable, legible, and conform to ADA and accessibility guidelines. Due to my background, these suggestions come from a design-informed place and the client is usually grateful for the collaboration. Go team!
  4. I develop and make web-informed, design-informed, audience-informed decisions. Most of my clients leave the web-centric choices up to me. They know that I’m making decisions about things like rollovers, dropdowns, hover states, animation, accordions and pop-ups that align with their design and audience, and are smart for the web. During my development process, I’m also ensuring the site is easy for the client to update. 

When you’re searching for a WordPress developer who will convert your design:

  • Ask: How closely will the final website look like my design? 
  • Talk to them about fonts, white space, margins, and see if they have a shared understanding and passion for those design elements.
  • Ask to see a project design that they developed.
  • Ask them how much freedom they like to have in a website’s development process, and why. (Do their answers have to do with web standards or usability?)
  • Ask them to describe their process to you.
  • Look at their portfolio. Are they designing sites that you find aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly? 

Want to be a great design partner for your web developer? Here are some tips on how to make your web developer adore you.

Want to see if we’re a good fit for a designer/developer relationship? Let’s talk.

About Jill Anderson

Hi, I’m Jill, a WordPress WordPress designer/developer who partners with talented designers, copywriters, and agencies on their websites, and their client’s sites. I’m passionate about crafting beautiful and innovative WordPress websites focused on clear positioning and positive user experiences. Get my free report, Get Your Website Done: 12 Actionable Steps for Designers, and check out my Client Onboarding Toolkit, a simple 4-step digital course for converting prospects into a paying clients.


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