Time after time I’ve heard the story about how “designers and coders don’t mix.” It’s a silly notion, as both feed off each other, it’s just that neither really understands how the other the functions.
Think of it like this: A designer gets how to make a beautiful looking car, while the coder knows how to make the wheels turn. While the design is needed so people can sit and ride in style and comfort, the development serves the function of making it a working vehicle. Both are necessary; however, it requires a special type of person to do both.
Being able to design and code is a rare breed that can take you pretty far. After all, you’re not only able to take two jobs on at once, but understand how they both synthesize to work together. And while you might be thinking it’s a tall task, it’s actually incredibly easy, and almost a necessity these days. Here’s why:
It Teaches You The Functions of a Business
By nature, designers tend to focus more on the usability or aesthetics of a website, which is only part of the picture when it comes to what a site actually does. Sure, a site has to be pleasing to look at, but also serve the function of being the brand’s focal point, as well as a primary tool used for contact, information, and possibly entertainment. It makes design tougher, but also teaches how to make a functional tool that’s easy to use and sleek.
For designers, having a knowledge of code will not only help to assess what tools are necessary but where they should fit and how they should function. Let’s say for example a designer feels like a contact page should be “hidden” or “only found if you’re really interested” because it disrupts the design flow. This would reduce credibility by 54%, as noted by KoMarketing Associates. Now, that’s not to say the designers can’t come up with a compromise that matches the design functions they’re after, but certain things are just necessary, and it’s up to the designer to make that work. And whether it be how SEO works or why social links are important, these are all changes a designer should embrace.
You Learn More About How People Are Using Your Product
Beyond just the different tools available, designers that can code also learn a tremendous amount more about UX. This partly falls into how the code will run on a page, as well as the design elements at hand. For example, according to a study by Adobe, 39% of people will leave a website if the images won’t load. Now, some folks might look at that and say “yeah, but there could be a lot of factors. A bad connection, too big of image sizes, etc.), but it’s partly a designers job to combat those problems. This involves looking at the code and deciphering how to load an image easier, as well as additional elements you can cut out/clean up that might make it the page load faster overall.
Another aspect about utilizing your coding skills is making the mobile experience much better for users. While I know it’s the talk of numerous design, coding, and marketing blogs, mobile is imperative to consider, and a lot of folks don’t always have the best acumen for how to make it functional. I should note that as mobile accounts for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online, people have grown accustomed to their expectations of how things should behave on our phones. As a designer, this is going to be a part of coding that might be unfamiliar territory, but something that will give you the biggest takeaways. Plus, knowing how to code mobile successfully will set you up for a long time.
It’ll Make You A More Valuable Designer
Designers that can do code are probably the most sought after of the bunch. The opportunities are endless, from start-ups, marketing companies, advertising firms to Fortune 100 companies and private contractors. Yes, knowing web development (as well as mobile) will help you reach a point most can’t breach: having a knowledge of how a product should look as well as how it should function. It’s not very often a talented candidate with that comes about but speaks volumes when it does.
On a final note, if it’s the fear of coding holding you back, you should extinguish that notion right now. Coding is something any creative can pick up (no, it has very little to do with math or science) and is a language that’s constantly evolving. This is in its infancy stages, so what’s stopping you from learning?