51 comments

  • Ian GoodeIan Goode, almost 6 years ago

    I used to spend more time designing than developing but in the past year it's been 80%-90% development due to project demands. Trying to swing it back more towards 50-50 this year. Definitely consider myself more of a designer than a developer. It makes me happier.

    I don't regret doing so much dev though, because right now I feel like I could design + build pretty much anything. It's quite empowering.

    18 points
    • Ian WilliamsIan Williams, almost 6 years ago

      Exactly how I feel.

      3 points
    • David DarnesDavid Darnes, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      I'm in the same boat. However due to my skill set I often have to leave my developer hat on. I tend not to mind though as I know the more I improve our code the easier it is to design.

      0 points
    • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, almost 6 years ago

      Everything this man has said are my thoughts (and experience) as well.

      0 points
    • Andrew Johnson, almost 6 years ago

      Since developers are generally paid something like 20% more than designers of similar experience, how do you navigate your wage when you do both? Especially since it seems like if you're doing 90% dev work, you should be paid as a developer, not a designer, and vice-versa.

      1 point
    • Jan LehtinenJan Lehtinen, almost 6 years ago

      Exactly what I was going to say.

      0 points
    • Anders Schmidt HansenAnders Schmidt Hansen, almost 6 years ago

      Pretty much sums up my experience too. Coupling this with entrepreneurship and some basic marketing stuff and you can do quite a bit.

      0 points
  • Kyle ConradKyle Conrad, over 5 years ago

    100% on both. At this point, I design everything in the browser and only ever open up Photoshop, Illustrator, or Sketch to create assets - icons, photos, that sort of thing.

    12 points
    • Brian FryerBrian Fryer, over 5 years ago

      I use the same workflow. Designing in the browser is so much faster (and produces far superior results) than playing with ideas in PS/AI.

      We'll usually start with a design discussion on a whiteboard, then move to paper sketches, and then directly to HTML/CSS/JS.

      Gulp is awesome for running a local dev environment (e.g. web server, code pre-processing/linting, icon font generation). Divshot makes sharing high-fidelity prototypes with the rest of the team super simple.

      I never really wanted to learn how to code, but here I am 5 years coding my heart away and absolutely loving it!

      1 point
      • Kyle ConradKyle Conrad, over 5 years ago

        Definitely love Gulp. For sharing stuff with the team, I'll usually get feedback using http://localtunnel.me/ - I can just set up a quick temporary server that they can access, have them check it out, give feedback, then make changes as they watch the changes take effect. It's become a really great way of sharing without needing to FTP the files somewhere or set up hosting.

        1 point
  • Ege GörgülüEge Görgülü, almost 6 years ago

    It really depends on what you mean by developing.

    For the last few years I shifted more and more towards designing in the browser and doing the html/css myself.

    To me, that's not development. I consider that design. It doesn't feel any different than opening up sketch to layout a page. In fact, it feels much more easier and faster, especially when doing layout.

    I can get a prototype up & running too but I usually get a developer buddy to help me out since they're much more faster with that stuff. Every now and then, they'll be too busy and I'll be left to work on my own, or devs will be overwhelmed and I'll step in to help out with simpler tasks. That's about it.

    To give an answer, I'd say it's around 90% design / 10% dev.

    8 points
  • Matt SistoMatt Sisto, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    For years I was a staunch advocate of designing in the browser because I didn't like the idea of spending time on disposable deliverables, but the quality of my work is simply better when I can explore design in Sketch. I can iterate more quickly.

    If I do all of the design up-front, I can implement it very quickly in HTML/CSS becuase I tend to think about how I'm going to build it while I'm designing. If I've already planned out (or have an idea of what I want to do with) transitions and interaction details, the JS will come together pretty quickly too.

    I've noticed that sticking with a class-naming methodology like BEM helps a lot on the dev side becuase it streamlines one of the surprisingly difficult parts of programming: naming things.

    If I'm winging it, or designing within the browser, it's more of an even split. You could say that the split doesn't exist at that point, as you are working on both simultaneously.

    4 points
    • Glenn McCombGlenn McComb, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      I've had the same experience when designing in the browser - it definitely helps me to have a reference point from PS. In a similar way, I find quick sketches before mocking things up saves time in PS.

      0 points
  • Erik LarssonErik Larsson, almost 6 years ago

    It totally depends on if with developing you include css/html.

    To me that's not development. It's how a web designer in 2015 should work. That being said, I'd guess 80/20.

    Interesting question!

    4 points
    • Brian FryerBrian Fryer, almost 6 years ago

      css/html [...] that's not development

      This ^ is a good distinction. I'm very comfortable reading/writing code, digging through documentation, and hacking things together... but wouldn't consider it development (i.e. "software engineering") by any stretch of the imagination.

      1 point
    • Adam WAdam W, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      While there is absolutely a big overlap there with HTML/CSS as a tool for design, it still definitely development, i.e. making the interface functional. Even though it is happening in tandem.

      0 points
    • Jan LehtinenJan Lehtinen, almost 6 years ago

      Front-end Development if you count in Javascript and stuff, would call it development even if only css & html because of the amount of things you can achieve with just plain good css and html.

      0 points
  • Oscar WaczynskiOscar Waczynski, almost 6 years ago

    I'm on a really small team of two, a dev and designer(me). But because I have front end skills I end up switching gears at certain points of the project to 100% dev. Other times it's the opposite.

    Most of the time... I have a baseline in Photoshop and then do the rest of the design in code. Somehow it's just easier.

    2 points
    • Ian DonahueIan Donahue, almost 6 years ago

      This exactly the same process I used when I was on a team of 3. Now that I'm a team of 4 developers and 1 design I can spend a lot more time in photoshop.

      I think I get better results doing wireframing and designing in photosohp/illustrator than designing in browser. Once I have a defined visual style and a number of template pages created I shift 100% to dev.

      1 point
  • Bevan StephensBevan Stephens, over 5 years ago

    For me: 5%. I only really end up coding prototypes nowadays. I tend to stay away from production code.

    I would also say, if anyone says over 50%, then you're probably actually a developer that can design :-)

    2 points
    • Morten RiisMorten Riis, over 5 years ago

      Yeah... for me it's design: 30%, develop: 70%... but I'm more a Developer with Designer capabilities. I would say a part of the work in development is used for design/UX, as I simply work faster coding things up in Sublime than drawing in Photoshop.

      3 points
    • Marc JenkinsonMarc Jenkinson, over 5 years ago

      Yup. Couldn't agree more.

      0 points
    • Bruce Vang, over 5 years ago

      For me, you have to spend more time with development because there's more tools to learn. Dev also moves a lot faster than the Design world.

      It took 10 years until we got a new tool like Sketch. For dev, there's a new JS tool to learn every month.

      2 points
    • Keaton PriceKeaton Price, over 5 years ago

      Agreed. And the truth is that my code isn't going to be production worthy anyways - at least compared to the devs on my team.

      I've started finding a sweet spot where my knowledge of code as a designer is more a tool of empathy than anything. Going into a project with a better understanding of how something will ultimately be implemented saves a lot of iterating later.

      0 points
  • Nicole DominguezNicole Dominguez, almost 6 years ago

    For those saying HTML/CSS is design, when does it become development? If you're working in a real production environment, and deploying to prod, is working on markup still considered design? What about Sass, is that design or development?

    1 point
    • pjotr .pjotr ., almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      "Front-end developer" as a job title is dying. 90% of the designers that I know can write production level HTML/CSS (including Sass). Front-end devs now are mostly considered "JavaScript Engineers".

      Setting expectations with designers is a huge part of this and one that took me a while to figure out.

      I had a client years ago that wanted me to create prototypes. To me that meant getting the point of the design across so that a developer could rewrite the code and integrate it into whatever framework they were using. To my surprise they were expecting my HTML/CSS/JS to be super clean and production ready (was not told this when I first started). It's not that I wasn't capable of writing production level code, rather I just didn't think about it because I was rapidly prototyping.

      Now that I'm on a product team working with other developers we split development in a fairly logical way. All of the angular code and most of HTML is written by developers. They get the basic functionality into whatever product we are working on at the time. I then go in and integrate my prototypes while writing production level Sass and making slight changes to the HTML/Angular. We then do a simple PR to merge the two together.

      0 points
      • Crampa ...Crampa ..., almost 6 years ago

        Yeah, I think the term 'front-end developer' is being cannibalized. People who just write html/css are calling themselves front-end developers.

        Front-end development is a specialization of web development (not an entry level field).

        A front-end developer should have 3-5 years experience with continuous integration, build systems, full stack, js (mvc/oop), testing, debugging, ux, security, performance... the list goes on.

        1 point
  • David KeeganDavid Keegan, over 5 years ago

    On my personal projects I probably spend a day or two designing and then several weeks coding. But there isn't a hard line because so much of the design comes to life while coding for all of the animations and screen transitions. But in general building even a simple app takes much longer to code than to design.

    At Acorns I spend 90% of my time designing because there is so much more design work needed and we have a bad ass development team that can focus on the implementation.

    0 points
  • Paul MistPaul Mist, almost 6 years ago

    I don't particularly define between the two. Each is informed by the next. I'm better at either for practicing the other.

    0 points
  • Craig FrostCraig Frost, almost 6 years ago

    As some others have said, I also design entirely in the browser, only using Sketch to create icons.

    When it comes to the web, it would appear that the browser is, increasingly, the tool for the job, especially considering the effect different browsers and resolutions can have on the overall design.

    0 points
  • Savelle McThiasSavelle McThias, almost 6 years ago

    Design is such an ambiguous word now lol.

    I honestly don't really know, in terms of percentages or guesstimates even. Just depends on the project really, but I spend the majority of my time building/developing. Design used to be, me and Photoshop for weeks. Now, I just sketch a quick wireframe on paper and jump straight into coding whatever it is. After I have the core function down, I will go back and work on visual design later in CSS. I really want to uninstall Photoshop, but I occasionally have to fire it up. It takes so much space on my tiny rMBP :(

    0 points
  • Min TranMin Tran, almost 6 years ago

    Developing is designing.

    0 points
  • Patrick SmithPatrick Smith, almost 6 years ago

    I spend more time developing than designing for my own projects, simply because it seems like there is more to flesh out.

    I iterate on both, but I find it frustrating when wanting to add a new feature and the design in production is more progressed than the original design files. So I will just take a screenshot, blank some stuff out, and put a new layout on top.

    I wish that development was faster for me. Although you can have ‘bugs’ in design with the layout or flow of something, the solution is usually to come up with a better design, which is simpler, more obvious, or more consistent. The ‘bugs’ in development are really frustrating though, as well as working out what the best architecture is going to be, and chew up a lot of time.

    Both have this sense of satisfaction when it clicks into place, but I definitely spend more time wrestling with development. I wish I could get better and faster at both.

    0 points
  • Bardan Gauchan, almost 6 years ago

    80% design, 20% development - if you consider html,css,js animations development.

    If you do consider them design, then 100% design. lol I do want to learn swift though.

    0 points
  • Mal SMal S, almost 6 years ago

    I work in a team of 5 devs, a designer (me), product person. We are blessed to be able to work in one environment, Xcode. When you design in Storyboard it is used in production. It remind me of the 3D world, where everyone share a single file format for anything from texturing, modeling, animating, logic and we lost that with web or never had it in the first place. Being contain inside of Xcode allow us to have that single file format, I think.

    0 points
  • Dean HaydenDean Hayden, almost 6 years ago

    Will always hold my hands up and say anything developed is about design rather than production. So break down of my time on a project would be 50% getting the look and feel and tone right in Photoshop / illustrator, 50% getting into finer details of layout and interaction in HTML / CSS / Javascript.

    Often code isn't pretty but gets point across and is infinitely more useful that just flat visuals.

    0 points
  • Mike BusbyMike Busby, almost 6 years ago

    I'm 50/50, always has been

    0 points
  • Phil RauPhil Rau, almost 6 years ago

    80% design, 20% of the time I'll be creating something in code to supplement or aid in design presentation.

    We have a large army of developers over here, around 300.

    0 points
  • Iheanyi Ekechukwu, almost 6 years ago

    Mostly 50-50 to be honest. Sometimes developing takes more time than the designing, depending on the project.

    0 points
  • Brandon Hunter, almost 6 years ago

    I find myself spending about 10% of my time in Photoshop. It has turned into my sketching phase, where I combine different elements to convey emotion & voice. Then I take it to the browser and it evolves from there.

    0 points
  • Bruce Vang, almost 6 years ago

    70% Dev and 30% Design. I'm innately a designer so I spend less time learning it. Dev has so many languages and tools that I feel that in order to keep up with interactive sites like Rally/Codrops, designers need to know some dev.

    0 points
  • Sarah RobinSarah Robin, almost 6 years ago

    Depends on the project, but generally I try and not differentiate between the two. Good design applies to engineering, both mechanical and software. Obviously, you can't make everything perfect, but I try and consider code as if it were a mechanical component and design things that are beautiful inside and out. Keeps my design holistic and my code focused on solving user problems.

    0 points
  • pjotr .pjotr ., over 5 years ago

    Depends on the type of coding and scope of the project. If it's a simple static site, I might be 50/50 (design/dev). If it's using a front-end framework that someone else integrates with a backend it might be 30/70. If it's full application development it's probably closer to 5/95. So yeah...really depends.

    0 points
  • Joe AlfonsoJoe Alfonso, over 5 years ago

    For me it depends on the project and at what point in the project we are in and i don't think you can separate design and development in some cases. When i develop, i'm really designing. When I code the purpose isn't necessarily to provide productions level code, but to provide an almost wireframe type of code to assist developers and to communicate more effectively.

    After the first few revisions and once you have an idea for the style of the final design, I find that updating comps can become very tedious. You need to update the comp then the code. Once we get passed the initial decision making stages i usually cut a branch on our GIT and start coding instead.

    I keep in mind that I am not a developer so i have limitations. When i can't do something in a timely manner be it, an animation, motion or interaction, i will go back to comps or motion prototyping in software.

    I think the big thing is staying flexible and communicating with the team on expectations. You want to INTEGRATE into a workflow and provide value, not force yourself or a workflow in and have others do all of the adjusting. Certain project might be 100% Photoshop comps, and another no so much. I work at Discovery Education so we're always on multiple projects of varying degrees of involvement and magnitudes. A smaller firm might have a more concrete workflow.

    0 points
  • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, almost 6 years ago

    There are 2 ways to understand this question:

    1. How much time do I spend at my job doing one or the other?
    2. How much relative time does it take to build a design I make to completion?

    Which do you mean?

    0 points
  • Chantal JandardChantal Jandard, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Hard to say. After I do the initial design, I often end up doing some designing in the browser; it's a bit of a Venn diagram.

    Why do you ask? What are you trying to find out?

    0 points
  • Adam T.Adam T., almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

    Way more time coding than designing these days, and when I do design it's in-browser. Luckily I find time to do icon sets and some mobile designs to keep me sane. Long for the days when I had to code a bit less, but it's good to know and makes you feel like you're contributing more.

    0 points
  • Matt Smadner, almost 6 years ago

    Oh god, it seems like its 10% design and 90% code now. I wish it was switched. But its a crazy time in my work life at the moment. :<

    0 points
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, almost 6 years ago

    I would say 50/50 like a lot of other people here. I usually get "hired" (freelance) for my design skills and then up sale the dev work if required. I'm more comfortable with design but developing is becoming second nature as well. In terms of development I'm talking mostly front-end. Do any designers here do backend dev stuff on top of front-end? Simply curious.

    0 points
  • Dan GDan G, almost 6 years ago

    Depends on the project.

    The last two big projects, one was 50/50 code and design and the other was 80% UX 20% visual and no code.

    0 points
  • Ivo MynttinenIvo Mynttinen, almost 6 years ago

    Can code, can design, love and need both.

    Nowadays it's about 70% code, 30% design.

    0 points