Should designers know how to code? It seems lately I can’t get away from this question. I’ve read countless blog posts and online discussions answering the question in varying levels of detail and with differing opinions. Though not a reliable sampling, anecdotally I’ve noticed that job descriptions for User Experience or Visual Designers lately have almost always included the ability to create presentation-layer code as a requirement or a nice-to-have. A colleague recently shared a recruiter’s description of a job’s requirements: “Mix between development and design; wants someone who is more technical with an artistic sense that can create a cool UI.”
Here are a couple of other snippets from job descriptions:
- …Also uses JSPs. Hooks up business logic using JSP (exposure to J2EE environments would be a plus, but they will not be asked to code in J2EE)”
- “I’m looking for a designer with experience with HTML, visual design and retail/html email experience.”
Good UX Means Good Business
In a world where technology is rapidly advancing and user expectations are rising, it’s no longer enough to have an average user experience; to delight your users and surpass your competition you must strive for the exceptional.
I’m not going to add my 2 cents on the topic because I feel many of the industry’s top names have expressed their reasoning quite thoroughly. If I had to vote I’d go for the old standby: “it depends”–on where you work or want to work, what your definition of “code” is, how much free time you have to commit, your future career goals, etc. Rather, I wanted to provide links to some of the posts and discussions as a roundup of recent opinions. Enjoy!
- 3 Reasons Why Learning To Code Makes You A Better Designer by Jared Spool
- Designers That Code: A Response to Jared Spool by Jennifer Tidwell
- Why the Valley Wants Designers That Can Code by Jared Spool
- Coding for Designers by Matt Nish-Lapidus
- Should User Experience Designers Know Design or Programming? by Patrick Neeman
- 5 Good Reasons Why Designers Should Code by Mike Kus
- Do Designers Need to Know How To Code? by Perficient’s own Brad Nunnally