• Tyler Cecchi, over 6 years ago

    I don't buy with this notion that if you know how to write code that makes you a mediocre designer.

    Code is just a medium. How you apply it is what matters.

    You can use it to solve computer science problems, architecture problems, product problems, or design problems.

    When we talk about someone who's "good at design", what are we really talking about? Someone who can create a great visual representation of something? Or are we talking about someone who can craft a great solution based off some information?

    While there may not be a ton of people who are good at creating visuals and code, there are a ton of people who craft great product solutions and write code, which if we're talking about "design" as more than aesthetics and visuals, makes that person a great designer.

    Visuals and code could be considered two mutually exclusive disciplines. However the ability to craft strategy, understand research, create solutions to business/product/user problems, and write code are not.

    2 points
    • barry saundersbarry saunders, over 6 years ago

      The core design skills:

      Requirements gathering

      Gap analysis

      Market analysis

      User analytics


      Product strategy


      Content strategy

      Information architecture

      Understand psychology and HCI

      Apply psychology and HCI

      Keep current with academic psychology (big psychology replication crisis going on right now)

      Do user research

      User interviews

      User ethnography and contextual inquiries

      Survey design

      Create personas

      Run workshops

      Sell a solution

      Scenario planning

      Create a product vision

      Do stakeholder management

      Do accessibility testing

      Do user testing

      Do heuristic analysis

      Understand motion design

      Understand colour theory

      Understand typography



      Create comps

      Art direction


      Increasingly: service design

      Now in my career I've known a couple of extremely talented people with maybe half of these skills. The reality is there's just too much in design alone for one person to know all of it. I've met a few people who can do maybe a quarter of this plus code, but they are extremely rare.

      Is it possible for one person to know all this? Sure.

      Is it possible for one person to know all this plus code? Again, sure. Unlikely, but possible. I've never met one, but I'm not ruling it out.

      Is it reasonable to expect a designer to learn to code? Sure, if they are specifically a production focused designer and someone else in the business is doing the research and strategy. I've met a couple of people like this. Often they're frustrated cause they just get treated as another developer and don't get to do the research and strategy aspects of design.

      Is it good advice for designers to learn to code? Well, if you like production focused work, there are a lot of startups and ad agencies who'll hire you.

      2 points
      • Tyler Cecchi, over 6 years ago

        If you see writing code as simply factory-type production work, then you're just as narrow minded as the person who looks at "design" as simply aesthetics.

        Gap analysis, Market analysis, User analytics, Specification, Product strategy, Information architecture, Understand psychology and HCI, Apply psychology and HCI, Sell a solution, Scenario planning, Create a product vision, Prototype, Wireframe, service design, Create personas, Do user research, User interviews, Do stakeholder management.

        These are not designer skills. They're used in design, but not exclusive to people who:

        Create comps, Art direction, Understand motion design, Understand colour theory, Understand typography

        Many of the things you listed are shared responsibilities among product, design and tech. Building great products is a team sport after all.

        1 point
        • barry saundersbarry saunders, over 6 years ago

          I don't see code as simply factory-type production work, but I've rarely seen a business that's structured to take advantage of creative coders. Every designer / coder I've met has been frustrated by being pushed into production work.

          I agree that building great products is a team sport. Good design comes from creative tension between people with different specialisations. Which is why the constant push to learn code instead of all those other design specialisations is frustrating!

          0 points