Should Designers at least understand how code works

Let me share my thoughts on why it can be beneficial to at least understand how code works.

Should Designers at least understand how code works
Photo by Roman Synkevych / Unsplash

Should designers code?

This tired debate will be here till the end of time, and I’m not getting into that particular argument but instead sharing my thoughts on why it can be beneficial to at least understand how code works.

Let me explain some more...

Understanding how code works can help you build stronger relationships.

From personal experience I feel having a knowledge of code has been extremely beneficial to building great relationships with developers on a project when the time has arisen, and even for those times when I’ve been working alone.

Along the way I picked up enough coding knowledge to be dangerous, and this helped me when working solely on a project, and not having to outsource the development side of things. It would make me pause for thought, and think ‘If I go ahead and design this a certain way, is it just going to be a complete nightmare when I try to code it up?’. Dribbble anyone?

Now. I’m not saying that you need to lock yourself into a darkened room illuminated only by candle for the next 6 months and learn at least half a dozen coding languages before the door gets unlocked. No. Who’s got time for that with our busier than ever lives right?

Simply, read some great articles, fire up the Inspector in your browser of choice and take a look behind the scenes. Have a little play around on somewhere like Codeacademy, or just build a really great relationship with your developer and ask them plenty of questions before you commit to certain aesthetic choices.

If you have some knowledge of code, however limited that may be, it really does make for a much happier, and streamlined process between yourself and the developer. Much more beneficial to all parties involved, and better than just saying “I’ll design it, and they can figure out how to code up my designs. I didn’t sign up for this s**t”.

As a UI Designer, having an understanding of how code works is not always a must but it’s a darn good thing to have at your disposal, and can help you build much stronger relationships, which in turn, will help you build much stronger products… faster.

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