By the time RJMetrics hired a designer, the ecommerce analytics startup had built up “design debt.” Founder Robert Moore said he wished he had hired a designer sooner.
“I wish our third or fourth hire was a creative one,” he said.
The team was overwhelmingly composed of developers, and it was only when RJMetrics brought a designer on board was the company able to answer big questions about the vision and image of the company. That, and make the product a little easier on the eyes.
“The product looked like enterprise software from 1992,” Moore said. “It was compromising our ability to be effective.”
So, when is the right time to hire a designer?
Here are some other highlights of the panel discussion:
- What’s the key to a successful developer/designer relationship? Constant communication, the panelists said, and an understanding, on the designer’s part, of what’s possible and what will be very difficult to build.
- Should designers know how to code? The panelists were split on this one, with Artisan Mobile‘s Kevin Jackson saying that sometimes he’ll work in Ruby on Rails, HTML and CSS, while others like Wells (“I never want to code anything ever.”) and Curalate‘s Melissa Morris Ivone (“I can do it if they make me but it’s not a good use of my time.”) prefer to work in Photoshop.
- Tips on how to treat designers. Jackson: Don’t ask to see what I’m working on while I’m working on it; Ivone: Trust us as experts.