Today, .net Magazine posted a comic about developers’ frustrations with designers’ lack of coding skills. Like most comics, it poked fun at a stereotype. And like most stereotypes, it has a basis in reality but is factually wrong.
The comic was created by a very talented designer. His company site says he’s a user experience designer. I can’t tell if he does his own code, but clearly he knows designers who don’t. It seems a shame to cater to this stereotype and throw his fellow UX designers under the proverbial bus for a laugh. But that opinion of designers does exist, so I get that it’s supposed to be funny.
There’s a big difference between graphic designers, illustrators, visual designers and user experience designers. The former three don’t necessarily need to know code. But for user experience designers, not knowing code is a huge mistake.
Code versus markup
Why I stopped “coding”
I really loved the design work and I really dreaded the code work. I took inventory of the possible paths my career could take. At the time (around 2005), I knew that coders were getting paid much better than designers. But that wasn’t really what mattered to me. What mattered was if I was happy in my work. When I realized that, I decided to back off of code and stick with design.
What can code do for you?
Support your local developer
So I could have turned this into a rant about “why can’t developers pay more attention to details”, but I didn’t. You know why? That’s my job. I’m a user experience designer and the details are my responsibility.
Do you know how I keep my front-end developers happy? I give them every hexadecimal color, every font name, style, color and size, every rounded border pixel dimension and each gradient color stop when I hand over the design to them. And you know what I do then? I ask them to tell me if they see something that doesn’t look quite right or tell me if they have an idea for altering something in the design. I don’t correct them when something is off – they come and ask me how it looks and if anything needs tweaking. We do it together. Working collaboratively beats the pants off of working in a vacuum.
Image from Quadriform