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

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

  • Kris KimKris Kim, over 8 years ago

    My thought... Print designer would have to know paper materials/textures/printing press to design well. Industrial designers would have to be on top of all physical materials/machining process, etc. to do so. If s/he designs for the web, s/he then would have to be able to understand/write some code to design well for the web.

    20 points
    • Saneef AnsariSaneef Ansari, over 8 years ago

      Totally agree with you.

      2 points
    • Jeremy TreudenJeremy Treuden, over 8 years ago

      I agree that designers designing for web should have a good working-knowledge of the coding that goes into building what they are designing for. They should even be able to do some simple web-building, of sorts. However, I do not believe that they need to know how to actually implement the entire piece, in full.

      Just as an industrial designer, even though needing to know a lot about the materials that are being designed for, does not need to know how to actually build, from scratch, the entire piece in development. And just as the print designer, although needing a good base-knowledge of all the materials that go into the printed piece, don't actually have to print it themselves.

      I believe that separate roles are important. It is important for the print designer to work with a quality printer to finish the job. It is important for an industrial designer to work with a quality manufacturer to finish the job. It is also important for the web-designer to work with a quality developer to finish the job. I think that, although possible for any of those 3 designers to take their project from ideation to completion all alone, it is behoove the designer(s) to work with a knowledgable partner to get the best end-result.

      Just my thoughts :) I mean, more power to the designer who can do it all. I just feel that time can be better spent honing their design skills.

      4 points
      • Kris KimKris Kim, over 8 years ago

        You're totally right and I think I'm the one who didn't get the point of the original article here.

        My point is that it's passion that is important and that pushes good to great. Of course designers who only deal with pixels can design the most beautiful websites and sorts but if they are passionate what they are making, they'd dig in to code, which makes their design to real website thing, so that they can communicate with devs better.

        So for example, if I happen to know some code, I then will be able to give some deep direction as to how the page scrolling will behave (parallax or not), how focus/active state will behave on certain forms, etc, instead of having devs guess all these things. I'm not really sure if it's possible to understand all these without knowing code...

        I also do not believe they have to be able to push their entire piece to live and I agree with how important the separate roles are. We need them. We need to be the master on what we do and we need another master on what they do to collaborate. We just need to understand/know how the other side works to communicate better.

        2 points
        • Jeremy TreudenJeremy Treuden, over 8 years ago

          I totally agree! Well said. And, yes, it is definitely MUCH more helpful for a designer to know how code than to not, even if they only use that coding knowledge to aid them in better their designs, interfaces, experiences, and more easily being able to communicate with their developer(s).

          0 points
    • Richard BallermannRichard Ballermann, over 8 years ago

      Print designer would have to know paper materials/textures/printing press to design well

      I don't think this translates to

      If s/he designs for the web, s/he then would have to be able to understand/write some code to design well for the web.

      You're equating "knowledge" with "ability", and you aren't respecting the very large gap between the two. Expecting a web designer to code is akin to expecting a print designer having the knowledge and foresight to determine paper size and gang-up print pages for the printer so they can just start printing.

      When I was working in print production, however, we had jobs where designers would try to do this as a way of "helping out", but this was rarely if ever helpful and almost always required a lot of extra work to fix. The production team determines the best way to print, not the designer. The production team knows what size of substrate they're using, not the designer. A designer is best limited to understanding the complexities associated with the production of a given product as a way of influencing their design, but in no way should they be expected to actually do the work that another discipline has far more experience with.

      4 points
    • barry saundersbarry saunders, over 8 years ago

      knowing the affordances of the medium is key, but the industrial designer example is illustrative - while an industrial designer might make a working prototype together with an engineer for certain aspects (electronic prototyping, powertrain, tensile structing, wind-tunnel testing), they wouldn't do it alone.

      And once they'd finished their role, a second set of engineers would focus on how to build it with the appropriate material constraints (material, strength, safety, etc). And then a third set of engineers would focus on building the factory line to actually produce it. A fourth set would focus on quality testing, etc.

      It is possible to design, create and sell things direct to market - that's the Etsy model, it works for a certain scale. But the larger the scale you work on, the more sense it makes to leverage specialists working together. At a certain point it creates something bigger than the sum of its parts.

      It's not that one person can't know everything, it's that above a certain point it's inefficient to have them do everything - and you can't get the benefits of collaboration when you're working alone.

      0 points