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InVision ambassador ambassador
Joe Donohue
Joe Donohue Updated

Calling all devs: Spec it out, ya'll!

This one goes out to my developer friends—you know, the people who have to actually write the code that powers all our favorite apps. They're the same people who get to solve the problems that other project stakeholders hand off. In other words, they're the people who inherit the responsibility of bringing wildly innovative designs to life, technical challenges be damned.

Before joining InVision, I co-owned a digital design shop, which was a small team (10 - 12 people) that managed to consistently land big projects for big players. Our collective attitude toward taking on heavyweight engineering challenges proved key in winning projects away from larger design firms that were also in the running for projects. No matter the need or the complexity of the technical solution, when a prospective client asked if it could be done, my answer would almost always be an emphatic, "absolutely." Coupled with lengthy discussions about the technical details involved, that matter-of-fact confidence in our developers' ability really worked wonders with clients.

The approach was, uh, let's say, not always as popular with our developers, who would immediately recognize the challenges I had happily placed in their laps. Here's the thing, though: The challenging work was never the issue. Nearly every big-brained engineer I've had the pleasure of working with absolutely loved the opportunity to flex their intellectual muscles. In fact, as long as the project was scoped and scheduled well, even the gnarliest engineering feat came with no real objections.

In my experience, developers simply need the right information, right away. No worries, though; there's a doc for that.

Somebody queue the drumroll  so I can properly introduce the solution: InVision Specs Available now in InVision V7, spec documents are specifically built for developer handoff and continued collaboration. Designers can send developers spec documents for any screens that are currently ready to code, giving the developers a single resource packed with all the gritty details needed everything needed to build each screen—including crucial Inspect data so developers can pull raw values, components, variable names, and more.

After having spent much of the last week testing our new specs integration for Jira Server and Data Center (released yesterday) so I could write the corresponding Help Center article, I can personally attest that it's super easy to connect a spec document to Jira, so developers have the link handy right there in the Jira. The same is true for the Jira Cloud integration for InVision V7 (which has been available for use with specs since we first launched the document type).

I can also say that I've seen specs make a world of difference for InVision's internal developer handoffs as well. Because comment threads in specs are typically developer-specific, even the engagement among developers seems to have increased since we've started using specs for handoffs.

Now then, if only I could turn back time and start using specs with the devs at my old design shop. Too bad I can only imagine all the time and hassle we'd have saved! Thankfully, your team doesn't need to daydream about a better way; you don't even need a time machine. All you need is a team of devs who are ready for a more efficient developer handoff flow: Get familiar with specs now 

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