Should Designers at least understand how code works?

Categories Design, Development

Should designers code? Oh this debate will be here till the end of time, and I’m not getting into that particular argument, but instead sharing my thoughts on why it can be beneficial to at least understand how code works.

From personal experience I feel having a knowledge of code has been extremely beneficial to building great relationships with engineers on a project when the time has arisen, and even for those times when I’ve been working alone.

Along the way I picked up enough coding knowledge to be dangerous, and this helped me when working solely on a project, and not farming out the development. It would make me pause for thought, and think along the lines of ‘If I go ahead and design this a certain way, is it just going to be a complete head f**k when I try to code it up?’.

I think if you go back a few years in the long history of the Web (a whiff of sarcasm there, yes), and the roles we played back then, if you freelanced for a time you would be more inclined to have popped a coding feather into your cap. If all you’d ever known was working in-house, then you would have probably stuck with the defined role that you were hired for.

Touching on my main point. I’m not saying that you need to lock yourself into a darkened room illuminated only by candle for the next 6 months and learn at least half a dozen coding languages before the door gets unlocked, but I feel it pays to just have some semblance of knowledge of the coding aspect when working on a project, and working with engineers. Be that from reading a couple of articles, checking out documentation, having a little tinker on Codeacademy, or just building a really great relationship with your engineer right from the start, and asking plenty of questions before you commit to certain aesthetic choices. Oh and ask even more questions, just for good measure.

If you have some knowledge of code, however limited that may be, it really does make for a much happier, and streamlined process between yourself and the developer/engineer. Much more beneficial to all parties involved, and better than just saying “I’ll design it, and they can figure out how to make it work. I didn’t sign up for this s**t”.

As a UI Designer working in a team, or not, having an understanding of how code works is not a must but it’s a damn good thing to have at your disposal.

No matter how we put this, even if you have some basic knowledge that would help you work better and communicate with fellow developers, then I consider this being useful as you’re not working in a vacuum.

Read the original article here.