There’s a never-ending debate about whether web designers should be able to code. Web designers who can’t code their own designs still exist. When the web first took off, the designation “web designer” was limited in scope. Technological developments led to an ever-growing demand for web designers, and now the field is open to unlimited possibilities for specialization.
If you are talented with graphics yet clueless when it comes to coding and the back end, then you will most likely be the first who a firm that is tight on budget lets go. Does splitting your share with another coder make sense as a freelancer? It’s simple: the more skilled you are, the more valuable you will be.
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Detailed and very specialized projects should be referred to web developers. They will always have a role to play, but web designers need basic knowledge of coding, too. In this post, I will address why designers should learn to code themselves.
Designers may not able to clearly convey their ideas to developers because of their limitations in implementing design. As a designer, you could find yourself lost if you are unfamiliar with the technical language and lingo employed by developers.
This leads to miscommunication in planning and executing projects. How often is your final product—whether a website, software or a game—a quiet compromise between what could have been and what was created? First-hand exposure to the code used to implement a design helps to avoid confusion between designers and developers.
The design of a website is its soul, but user experience is equally important. Everyone wants a website that is easy to navigate and that can be accessed without fuss. The more of an impact your final design has on the user, the greater the chance you will find success as a designer. Being able to dig into how the coding works ensures that you are better equipped to excel. It will also enlighten you about elements that might need to be cut. Thinking out and planning a design is only half the job. Gaining knowledge of coding enables you to design a stunning product with excellent user-friendly capabilities.
Being a creative genius in design does not necessarily mean you will become a successful designer. Why is this?
A creative genius uses their imagination to create a fascinating design. However, it’s important not only to be creative but to focus on the feasibility and practical application of your design. The only way to really understand the limitations of a web layout is to be involved in it yourself.
Quality is a requisite in the web design industry. Efficiency is another. The better you are at your work, the quicker your tasks will be completed. With the designer’s active involvement in coding and implementation, the development timeframe shrinks considerably, simply because the layout process becomes much more systematic.
During my career I have come to realize that more people working on a project leads to more noise, but not necessarily more work getting done. The more people who work on a project, the more time is consumed. It takes a long time to bridge the gap between a designer’s original idea and what is feasible. This gap is usually bridged by interaction between the designer and developer. However, if the designer is a coder on the project, they are more likely to draw out the original idea keeping technical constraints in mind.
Improvements and changes can be worked out along the way by the designer, which saves time. Compare this to a process where the developer reviews the project only after the designer has finished working on it.
Increasing professional competition and financially tumultuous times have raised the expectations and demands of every corporate house on its employees and associates. Multi-tasking has become a popular method of working. Possessing one set of skills and being an expert in your field doesn’t ensure that you have an edge in today’s world. Rather, possessing skills in multiple departments not only keeps you above competition but makes you indispensable.
At some stage in your career as a designer, you may be required to play other roles, such as project manager, web developer or content writer. Graciously accepting these assignments and excelling at them will put you on a higher level. Proof of your flexibility boosts your portfolio and value as a designer.
Online marketing is at an all-time high. Websites are created as marketing channels that reach out to a global audience. The demand for SEO is growing everyday, creating a unique domain for expertise.
When designers are personally involved in coding and implementing their work, they ensure that their designs will be SEO-compliant. Code will be written with SEO in mind, keywords will be included, files will be named appropriately, and
alt text for images will be correct. In short, the website’s ranking on search engines will be kept in mind at all times.
We have already discussed the importance of a web presence to every organization. To make your presence known, your website must be accessible and compatible with various gadgets, such as PDAs and smartphones. A designer who plans the implementation of a website will be better off keeping the content simple and the code plain and consistent, to ensure that navigating the website is a pleasure.
Learning to code enables a designer to keep principles of accessibility in mind even in the initial stages of design. Collecting the necessary information in the beginning helps avoid confusion and saves time in later stages of development.
It is not uncommon to hear of disharmony between developers and designers. This often occurs when a website must be returned to a designer for reworking due to technical limitations. The only sustainable way to avoid such friction is to learn to code yourself. Ensure that your design is flexible from the start so that changes can be made without taking away from the essence of the design.
Complacency kills in any profession. One must continually adapt and remain open to learning new skills and techniques. The design and development field is extremely fast-paced, and it changes as new technology is introduced. A designer needs to be aware of the latest trends in order to effectively implement their designs without fuss.
A common assumption in the design industry is that knowledge of the back end of web development and coding is a hindrance to the creative capabilities of designers. From first-hand experience, I strongly oppose this. When I first learned coding and implementation I was of this opinion. However, with experience I realized that knowledge of HTML and CSS opened new dimensions for me to explore. Playing around with the code enables me to be creative in implementing a design.
I am in no way concluding that all coding and implementation work should be done by the designer. Developers need to do what they do best. However, a design can be taken to a new level of excellence only if the designer is aware of what the developer does. This will ensure that the product is created exactly as planned. Please spare a moment to share your thoughts on the subject.
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