Should designers code?

soengleCommunity member
Autoplay OFF  •  2 years ago

Should designers code?

The (new) age old question.

Why people say yes:

If you are a designer who codes, you are a unicorn. You can do anything short of magic because you can own every aspect of your product and process.

Why others say no:

Many believe coding won't be a super power anymore because it's getting easier and more democratized. Designers should focus on being good designers.

My take?

Designers should understand code because it is a crucial tool. However, a designer should never be beholden to tools because they change too often.

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2 years agoReply
I am a unicorn flying to the pie in the sky with an empathetic heart. I tried to specialize, but I get too excited trying new things. I just can't stop thinking that point of anything is to help others and that's what great design and great code can both do. UX Design however seems to have the approach right, to focus on people.. and make money at the same time. I think we need UX people who know how to code and those who don't. Why? Well.. we don't want people's understanding of code to LIMIT how they approach a design. We don't want to stop pushing the developers to innovate. Ideally, both teams need to inspire each other.

chromiumSilver CommaI like to think I'm amazing
2 years agoReply
@soengle Along similar lines, it seems like the people who do specialize on their own end up performing really well. Programmers who started at 12 tend to be pretty darn good at 20. The intrinsic motivation I imagine has something to do with it too. Not just the system itself

2 years agoReply
@Chromium - Good point. It's why I'm a little dubious of the one size fits all American education approach. The danger of specialization is you might be too young to thoughtfully invest your time & miss out on what you haven't tried. The converse is that you might be miserable and or losing out on years practicing what you love. The "breadth" prescribed might not be the right breadth, either - I would have killed for my schools to have more education in Design, CS, etc.

chromiumSilver CommaI like to think I'm amazing
2 years agoReply
Great post. This point actually touches on an even wider debate within education: Should people focus on enhancing weaknesses or focus on becoming the best at something. If somebody is really good at math in elementary school, should they just start focusing most of their attention on math so that they can be the best in the world at it? Or should they focus on what they're weak in? Most agree that general education is good up to a point, and then specialized is necessary.

2 years agoReply
Sydney - A definite yes. This is one reason why I prefer thinking of Engineers as systems experts vs. beholden to any one language. Design is just another systems problem. Lalgsw - Just get your feet wet in code. Take a Codecademy course on HTML (the backbone of the web), CSS (the style), or Javascript (the interactions). When I say understand code, I just mean you should understand how developers are approaching the elements you want together so that you can optimize/empathize with their experience.

2 years agoReply
I"m not quite a designer, but want to be in the future. How should one go about "understanding" code?

sydneyVerifiedco-creator of Commaful
2 years agoReply
Fantastic post! The flip question is also interesting. Should developers learn design? Probably an easier yes than "Should designers code"