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Developers Should Design

Published on by David A. Kennedy

Too often we hear the phrase, “Designers should write code.” True, even if it’s just basic HTML and/or CSS. But what about the flipped version of that argument? Developers should design.

True as well. Even if that means a few ugly websites, web applications or projects. Here’s why.

It pushes you outside your comfort zone. That’s obvious. Stretching your design skills when you’re use to living in a text editor also puts you on the opposite side of the equation you’re part of each day. Even if what you create isn’t pretty, you’ll develop better empathy and understanding for the designers you work with daily.

Great projects – the ones filled with lovely design, delightful user experiences and clean code – spring to life from collaboration. That doesn’t happen without knowing both sides of the equation – design and development.

I’ve recently challenged myself to design more, even though I don’t consider myself a designer. It’s frustrating sometimes. When I wrote for a living, I could feel my way through a very creative activity. Even if I didn’t know why a sentence or paragraph wasn’t right, I still knew it wasn’t right. With my own designs, I don’t always have that clarity. At times, what I want to create mocks me because it’s just out of reach. That’s where I see that collaboration coming into play. Asking a more skilled designer for feedback, no matter how scary, sets me on a more productive path faster.

I may not be a designer, but I can be one for a few days here and there, and work with my colleagues to create something amazing. After all, a lot about “being” a designer means taking feedback and iterating. Developers do that with code too.

So maybe you’re not a designer, but just iterating and becoming a better developer.

Inspired by a post from Mel Choyce.

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Tagged Web DesignWeb Development