How to Talk to Your Web Developer

If there’s ever a language considered missing from Google Translate (or any other major online language translator), it’s certainly the language web developers speak.

Even Facebook acknowledges obscure user-languages such as Pirate and Esperanto. So, why not show the same love towards web developers? Aren’t all the latest and greatest websites created by this magical developer language? Is there no hope for a world where techies and non-techies can finally understand each other?

Here’s a dirty little secret…
Believe it or not, even web developers occasionally experience tech-overload. When those rare moments hit, web developers are just as likely to tilt their gazes, pretend to look serious, and watch the conversations fly over their heads.

The world of technical web-developer jargon is far too vast to conquer — even for experts. But there is some good news — there are tricks to help you understand your web developer.

Tips to Ease Tech-Talk Pains

1. Pay attention
Web developers are people too, so it’s human nature to want the listener to be genuinely interested. At times, it may seem that developers speak in irrelevance, but consider this: Where else can you find a group of people that can become so passionate, by the mere mention of work? Let them talk.

2. Know the end-product
It takes a surprising amount of imagination to envision how the end-product will work. Ironically, the task is incredibly mundane and slow. Keep in mind, a lack of vision for the end-product makes it that much harder for your web developer to give you an answer. In the case where you’re having trouble envisioning the end-product, you can always ask for help — this gives the web developer time to review and strategize the technical process and creates a smooth transition from planning to programing. Begrudgingly or not, every web developer will agree that their active participation is a good idea.

3. Be prepared
Before engaging with your web developer, it helps to organize your approach. Always consider the desired results of your target projects. Think of what the web developers might need to achieve these goals. Will the developer need passwords to gain types of access? Or more experienced questions could be: Are there any existing issues with the site? Should the web developer check for issues before starting on a project?

4. Understand the solution
Never hesitate to ask about the process of labor. You may feel that this will create a drawn-out response, but this can also tether the web developer back to Earth should you feel the conversation is elevating too far in terms of level of effort. Keep in mind that web developers often offer solutions in two ways: 1. Either to optimize their own workflow or 2. Further enrich the user experience. Either options are worthwhile investments.

5. Don’t assume it’s easy
Giving a task to a web developer is like playing Jenga. The premise is simple — move a lower block of wood and place it on the top while trying to keep the entire structure from collapsing. Unfortunately, not all projects are neatly stacked. Most web developers would prefer to give accurate answers, but it’s easy to imagine the uncertainty web developers face when they can’t see the code they’ll be working with.

In the greater scheme of things, learning to talk to your web developer is part of a process which fully utilizes the dynamics of your team. Despite the undeniable amount of great effort you must make even with all the aforementioned tips, the benefits are definitely worth it — clear communication with all those you work with.

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