5 comments

  • Conrad IrwinConrad Irwin, over 6 years ago

    I strongly agree — anyone who professes to be a true expert in a field should have at least some knowledge of all the fields that interact with their discipline.

    4 points
  • Jacob TaylorJacob Taylor, over 6 years ago

    This sort of thinking is just an excuse for employers to hire less people and expect more work.

    I'm a designer. It shouldn't be my job to code stuff. Yeah, I should understand how things work, but I shouldn't be expected to do work outside of my scope.

    1 point
    • Thomas MathewThomas Mathew, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

      Do you ever write copy? Do you ever do any user testing? Do you ever do icon design even if you're not the best illustrator?

      All three of those tasks could potentially benefit from specialization, but a person with the job title "designer" might be expected to do all of those things (obviously depending on the company and the particular nature of the work)... and that doesn't seem to be a bad thing. I don't think it should work everywhere in the same way, but to say "x shouldn't be my job/x is outside of my scope" is to ignore how many ways someone could do "x" or how "scope" changes pretty dramatically and quickly in this field.

      Anyway, nice article, have always found the Thoughtbot process to be really impressive. I think this Quora post is also a good post on a similar subject:

      "The central counter-argument here is that any learning comes with opportunity cost. Learning Python might very well take up time that you would otherwise use for studying, say, product management. This is true, in theory. But in practice, most designers I know, including myself prior to joining Quora, are not learning at their maximum rate."

      2 points
  • Joanne LJoanne L, over 6 years ago

    As an architectural designer by day, the comparison was quite interesting to me. We can all agree that strong knowledge of the medium can only be beneficial and will allow the designer to have better control over the details of the end product.

    Architects detail the construction of a wall, but don't build every single wall in the project. A designer should be able to specify how an element could be built but shouldn't have to be involved in coding the entire app.

    TLDR; Yes - knowledge, No - wasting time on production.

    0 points
  • Mike BulajewskiMike Bulajewski, over 6 years ago

    This article makes a big, unsupported assumption that code is the medium of design. That doesn't make sense to me. The screen, pixels, interactivity is a much more likely candidate. The medium is something that a human user interacts with. That's why the Eameses' cared about plywood. Code is analogous to the industrial, high volume machines that bend plywood and manufacture chairs at scale. Did they know a lot about those? Certainly they knew something about them, but it wasn't their focus. For screen designers, there are many "machines" that can manipulate the medium. Code is only one—there are others that are just as good, if not better.

    0 points