There is a heated debate going on about whether or not web designers need to know how to code. As often the case with the Internet, things have gotten personal. And my natural tendency is to avoid it all. Except this subject is very close to me.
I’ve been describing myself as a designer/coder for years. Having studied both design and computer science, and working in both capacities for a while now. I definitely have an opinion on the matter, but first here are some of the arguments making the rounds:
There are many more blog posts on the topic, and even more opinions. But lets just say I agree with some, and strongly disagree with others.
What I’m here to talk about is my own experience as a designer/hacker.
Designing tickles my imagination. It is a playground of colors and shapes that I can arrange into anything that I want. Coding makes me feel manly. It’s a strange thing to say, but coding fulfills an urge that I have to make things, to build.
And what I find is that my design and my code benefited from each other. For instance, learning and working with a new JS framework can inspire new innovative designs. And when I’m designing, my knowledge of code makes me extremely efficient. I know how things can be constructed, and what design elements are problematic to build; I understand the limitations as well as the possibilities. So I’m not designing in a void.
If I really think about it, web design is the surface where users interact with the technology below, and that code and design are fundamentally intertwined. Then as a web designer are you not responsible for understanding the technology you are designing for? And the best way to understand it, is to work with it. In whatever limited capacity that you can.