We Don’t Need More Designers Who Can Code(medium.com)

over 8 years ago from Saneef Ansari, Consultant Designer & Developer

  • Evan DinsmoreEvan Dinsmore, over 8 years ago

    Designers should be capable of architecting a visual language for an application's UI layer

    I disagree. That would be like saying a front-end developer should be capable of designing a visual language for an application's UI layer. They may be able to do it, but it might take them longer and not be up to the same quality standards.

    Designers should be able to understand in general how the front-end is being architected, and design something that doesn't overcomplicate things for whatever platform it is. But I wouldn't expect a mobile designer to write production code for, say, an Android app's UI elements.

    If a team's resources are limited, this might be an acceptable compromise, but more often than not a front-end developer will be able to implement a (well designed, properly spec'd and communicated) design in code more efficiency (in both speed and implementation) than a designer could.

    I know the basics of a lot of different programming languages and I could code an app from start to finish (back-end and front-end on web, iOS, or Android) but it would take me an incredibly long time and I'm sure developers would want to re-write all my code. Knowing how those platforms work, however, has improved my designs and my ability to efficiently communicate my designs for those platforms, and it means I can jump into the code to troubleshoot bugs or make small tweaks and adjustments rather than asking a developer to increase padding by a couple pts. In my experience, this has been the most efficient approach.

    7 points
    • Paul BestPaul Best, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

      Coding is not a necessary to "architect a visual language for an application's UI layer". This can be done in Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. The visual language is just that, visual. "Designing your very own twitter bootstrap"....that is what I mean when I say "architecting a visual language".

      I think your points about workflow are well taken, and the answer certainly varies from team-to-team and platform-to-platform. It depends wholly on the teams' skillset and the requirements of the project at hand.

      Finally, when using code as a "design tool", the aim doesn't always have to be production code. Personally, as a designer with my own front-end systems in place, delivering style specs for basic web elements (forms, type, buttons, tables, etc) would be accomplished faster using HTML/CSS than Sketch or Photoshop. I could take a screenshot and send this to the developer, which they could treat like any other mock-up. The benefit is, there is top-notch markup and CSS behind which they can use/not-use.

      Your native example is a good one. IF I was designing an Android app, this approach would definitely not work.

      0 points