Designers Should Never Code
Andu Potorac
66523

Thank you for this. I’m a designer (now UX, formerly graphic and web). For a long time, during the 2000s, I designed, wrote css and html, did light php (Wordpress). But now, the thought that I should try to write code for a web app built using Angular and python, using various pre-processors, JSON, and calls to databases is laughable.

The time the small team of developers at the start-up I work at would spend setting up a static version of the app connected to all the stylesheets and scripts, so I could write code for some views, would be time they don’t have to spare, and it still wouldn’t be production code. The CTO, understandably, isn’t going to give me the keys to github and let me near code, for godsake.

Now, can I help by researching code solutions for a particular interaction pattern or UI component? Sure, I do and I look for things using the Bootstrap library that we use.

But the developers have their way of building css files, their way of building html templates, and what business value would there be for me to try to code while also keeping up on all the facets of user experience design and deliverables, plus visual interface design? None. The company would be paying for a mediocre coder instead of a good designer.

Just turn the coin over: Would we be expecting developers to also design? To know the principles of typography, information hierarchy, use of color, basic design building blocks like contrast, symmetry, etc? To learn Gestalt principles, conduct user research? I think not.

Are there some TINY subset of folks who can be outstanding designers and excellent coders? Sure. Can they be excellent at both those skill sets AND for a large enterprise app? Very doubtful.

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