How designers can survive the future (codefellows.org)
over 9 years ago from Mike Anderson
over 9 years ago from Mike Anderson
What interests me the most about all of this topic is how we're kind of coming full-circle back to the late 90's again.
When I started on the web back then, everyone designed AND coded. If you were a web designer you knew how to code. The code (and the design) was simpler back then though... much more tabular in nature... a littleand built pretty much everything you needed.
But then the code started getting more complex. Not just with the pages/sites themselves, but also things like Actionscript. Soon, a demand for more specialized talent emerged. It allowed for better designs and more improved ways to develop them.
Now, demand (on the front-side) seems to be waning a bit... developers don't want to deal with "lowly" CSS and HTML... thus more and more designers are being asked to code again.
While I think this is not a negative step by any means... I do think there is still a very large and important demand for designers that just design. I feel the quality we've seen on the web has gotten better and better year over year because designers could focus on design... and developers could think of the best way to bring that vision to life.
I think it's absolutely key that designers understand code and front-end development trends... maybe know enough code to be dangerous... but for some reason I worry about quality. Not because the people can't learn or do it, but because deadlines aren't going to get longer.
A company isn't going to want to wait twice as long to get a landing page or company site up... it's inefficient. They are going to want things in the same timeframes that have become the norm now. So then, what will give? Features? Will code be wonky? Will designs be watered down? This is what concerns me, because in the end... true Unicorns are definitely rare.
I dunno, this probably isn't the best analogy, but nobody is standing on a soapbox telling professional european soccer players they should start punting for the NFL because it would make them more marketable. Sure, they kinda do the same thing as the NFL guys... but they are specialized at what they do... and do it well. Each of them perform better focused on their niche... and there's nothing wrong with that and I don't think it makes them less appealing.
I strongly believe there will always be a need - and a desire - for high level web/app designers focused on just the design and experience... just as much as I feel really great developers will always be sought after as well.
I strongly believe there will always be a need - and a desire - for high level web/app designers focused on just the design and experience.
This has been the case everywhere I've worked so far. Even in places where people did design and code they were booked as either-or for whatever project they were on.
In my experience it depends entirely on the company. If you're working for an agency with many projects, it's faster to have a bunch of specialists. That way you can have multiple projects running concurrently, at different stages of design.
If you're working on a single product, or for a startup, especially a ground-up build, having a design polymath around is priceless.
Sucks for me, as a design polymath working for an agency… my coding skills are getting rusty ;)
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