Posted 31.10.2017 @ 2.12PM
Nice article Alice! It's made me think a little about how I've adopt coding as a User Experience designer. I'm often coding, building small proptypes or rough version of full scale apps.
In my experience, designers get exposed to code too late, once their work has been implemented in the development process. Tweaking some padding or font sizes once the code is in production can be a lot of fun and very valuable – but to deeply learn the associated skills does take a lot of time and perhaps an engineering approach (as you identified). The whole point of a design process is that you don’t have to be able to build it yourself, so I can relate your decision to pull away.
The nuance I appreciate is that you can write code that is focused on design outcomes. In this sense, I believe that designers should lead with the code. Rapidly building the first iterations with feedback from real users, that then become references for engineers to scale. Too many projects fail because designers get feedback too late!
It may sound a lot like you’re just learning production skills, as opposed to design skills – but I think there’s some key differences:
When I'm coding I'm building systems to test out the team's ideas and deliver them to real users for feedback.
When I'm coding I'm not committed to solving engineering problems around areas like performance, security and maintainability. These are problems best understood and solved by our engineering team mates.
When I'm coding, I'm mindful that I'm not an experienced engineer. I treat all my production facing code with a risk management approach, often only running it in closed betas with trusted users.
When I'm coding, I can build designs that can be quantitatively evaluated by many users .
When I'm coding, I can start testing my designs for accessibility issues.
When I'm coding, I'm very often using other people's code, that I didn't write and don't need to fully understand to use. This is made possible by using Open Source code.
I think designers only need to learn a subset of web development skills to start doing these things. I also don't think all designers need to learn this – but I think having someone on your design team with this approach creates a great dynamic. It could certainly be you, if you like!
Posted 18.08.2011 @ 11.42PM
Adobe are developing a new product called Muse, for graphic designers who want to easily create unique and professional HTML websites without writing code. What do you think about it?
I'm apprehensive about Muse. I think graphic designers should learn and master basic front end web design (HTML, CSS and a bit of Java) and Muse holds you back from that/
I've had a small muck around with the program that's a free download under beta release. I can see it's attraction, it makes the process of designing a website very visual and accessible to graphic designers. But I've got a few concerns, so if you can excuse my postulating, here some points are:
1. I think Design is all about detail. It's only once you get into the very raw core details of what your doing that you can master something and shape it to your will. It's why we kern, it's why one A4 sheet is thinner than another, it's why we have Pantone Colours. Because we acknowledge that there's subtlety in the detail that we need to understand to design.
The same is true of web design. The detail is in the code. And Muse obviously hides the code.
2. Adobe are producing a program that has a scope, it's versatility hopefully will be impressive, but it will be limited and so will you. If a client wants this and Muse can't do that- what do you do? Web designers hit the books, they learn how to do it, they figure it out and build on a base of knowledge- because they are continually working at mastering the detail/code.
What does a Muse user do- wait for an update from Adobe?
3. A lot of clients need websites that run on a content management system, so they can edit content on their website and keep it up to date themselves. With Muse (it seems) you are locked into using a CMS called Adobe Business Catalyst, a product with ongoing fees for your clients and upfront costs.
I haven't used Adobe Business Catalyst, but I have used a lot of different CMS and I'd say having the flexibility to choose the right CMS for the client is key to making a good website. With Muse, you don't have that option.
I look forward to playing around more with Muse, I'm sure it will do somethings well, and it might even make my own workflow faster and fun. But for the industry, for the web and for designers- is it the best thing? Are we selling ourselves short by using such tools- should graphic designers master front end web design? Or leave it to front end developers?
Posted 03.08.2011 @ 10.56PM
Thanks for the replies.
::Design is a bit of a luxury that not everyone can afford and it can be quite difficult to assess its actual value to a small business.
Totally agree and I guess that's the crux of what I'd like to get at. Is it a luxury and how do you assess its actual value to a small business?
Take IKEA, good design done cheaply. Basically making a interior design approach affordable for low income earns such as students and young families. Could the same be done for Graphic Design? Could our hypothetical fish and chip shop be a model for a high turn over design studio, that can handle small budgets quickly and retain a reasonable profit margin?
Anyway- pointless speculation from a naive design graduate whose only days away from starting his first real design job. But I guess I feel like there could be some interesting ways to cater to small business with small budgets. And I guess I feel like there's a big discussion behind how valuable small budget business is to the design industry.