Web designers writing their own code


When you’re a big celebrity in your field, your choice of breakfast cereal can sometimes “wow” the sheep. That kind of minutia has never moved me to change my thinking, but when Elliot Jay Stocks tweeted the words “Honestly, I‚Äôm shocked that in 2010 I‚Äôm still coming across ‚Äòweb designers‚Äô who can‚Äôt code their own designs. No excuse.”, I began pondering.

His specific choice of the word “can’t” intrigued me most. There aren’t that many examples that readily come to my mind of web designers who can’t code their own designs. For me, writing the code to help display my design is a no-brainer. As a freelancing one-man-show, not only do I code my own designs, but I wear an increasingly dizzying number of hats. Of all the things that I do though, I have a hard time imagining not being at the very least involved in coding my own designs. I can, however, imagine circumstances under which a web designer won’t, isn’t allowed to, or just plain shouldn’t code their own artistic vision.

1. “won’t”

I’m an artist, not a nerd!

Some web designers don’t see themselves as having anything to do with the technology behind a website. Their focus is to engineer a website’s visual communication beautifully. A less cluttered and wordy website can be achieved when the design itself instructs, identifies, or even persuades a site visitor to interact with the design itself rather than with specific words on the page.

2. “isn’t allowed to”

A specialist for every discipline

For a large firm that has people devoted to specific tasks, it’s not uncommon for the web designer and web developer to be two separate people. Going from design to functional website might involve a number of people actually, but the web designer is not likely to write a single snippet of code that contributes to the website’s structure.

3. “shouldn’t”

Dude! My website’s broken!

A talented designer is a treasure. Their works can present, teach, and inspire. Unfortunately, a designer who refuses to recognize their short-comings as a web developer can be just as big a liability to their client as they are an asset. Their beautiful graphic design can be wasted if not structured properly with solid code. What’s worse, is that some will resort to using automated software that is supposed to help turn their designs into properly structured websites.

As the web moves forward, the code behind the web page is becoming increasingly important to help us enjoy the internet using a myriad of devices.

Regardless of the fact that some designers will never code their own work, I do believe they should all at least have some fundamental idea of what’s involved, just as developers should endeavour to gain an appreciation for the design process.

How important do you think it is for web designers and web developers to understand the work the each other does?

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