Do Designers Need to Learn Coding?

January 17th 2019
Do Designers Need to Learn Coding blog image

Should designers know how to code? This question has left many puzzled over the years and is the source behind much debate. In this ever-changing aggressive industry environment, where our technology is rapidly becoming better, faster, and more prevalent, designers feel compelled to be familiar with coding practices and have hands-on expertise in widely used languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc. As the industry expands and diversifies, the variety of talents within multiply and companies expect as much productive output and “value for money” from their designers as possible, and these demands place pressure on them.

Work Enhancement:

Fundamentally, enriching your design practice with a variety of skills can only enhance your work and output. Whether this be coding or something else, it’s vitally important to stay abreast with recent developments in a field as rapidly changing and dynamic as design. You don't need to learn all the aspects of web development but since you will be required to develop web or mobile interfaces, you should try and understand the process of front end development and its various conventions. Understanding the holistic process provides an unseen perspective and expands your creative thinking for finding new ways to deal with old issues, developing a better approach towards work, and creating a more feasible, robust output.

Seamless Collaboration:

Design is a collaborative process – multiple, varied skill sets come together and contribute to efficient, effective, well-rounded designs. However, more often than not, there is a disparity between the needs of the designers and deliverances of the back-end developers, especially because designers are hesitant to explore the world of code and speak the language of developers. To truly create a smooth collaboration, where everyone on the team is working harmonically and are on the same page, designers must understand at least front-end coding to comprehend the limits and possibilities and scalability of their design to eventually make well-judged, informed design decisions. Kristina Olivia, UI designer and creator of the Designer Does Code blog, described how she uses her knowledge of coding for more holistic design: “To me, the code is just really another tool for designing things. I use it to improve my work in order to understand what I’m doing. It helps me with design…because I know that I can code this up and this would work, or this wouldn’t work, this would be a really bad UX so I’m not going to design it in that way…”

Upgrading Skill Set:

“As the distinction between engineering, writing, and design becomes blurrier, design’s role in technology only stands to become more ingrained in the product development process.” Says Elizabeth Stinson from Now more than ever, designers should aim to integrate themselves in the development process. Seen primarily in the UI and UX space, development, improvement, and design are inherently intertwined – and having the skills to master the entire process will empower you to take cater to this market demand. Multi-talented creators emerge as front-runners who can adapt, cooperate, and are valuable assets to their team – this is the sort of mastery that numerous businesses are searching for. Think about it as learning another language – it only adds another dimension to your design practice and makes you more independent as a creator!

Improved Problem-Solving Abilities:

UX, in a general sense, deals with problems and their solutions. Say for example, if there are issues affecting the client’s experience with connecting to a framework - how might you approach this problem? If you were only aware of the front-end design, the question might confuse you even though it is integral to the functioning of your design. However, with the ability to code comes the advantage of critical thinking, enhanced reasoning, and basically knowing exactly what gears make your design run. As a creator this is not only helpful, but also vital!