• 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