Real web designers code and they always have

That tweet was uttered by Jeffrey Zeldman, pretty well-known web designer and blogger. This generated a lot of discussion among the online design community. In this session it begged the question, ‘what defines a real web designer’.

  • One perspective: hire the one who can write (not necessarily code, but someone who can write a clear, organized, cohesive scope)
  • Another perspective: hire the one who can write code (but not necessarily to write THE code, but someone who knows some type of code). This demonstrates that they can think systematically.
  • And yet another: the real web designer comes out when you start thinking about pattern recognition, organizing, optimization — when you are constantly practicing and improving your skills.
  • Finally: a real web designer can solve visual problems and articulate how those solutions might be implemented in code.

Development has one basic tool of the trade, code, which comes in many different languages. As yet, there is nothing else that has come along that can keep up with the web, or replace smart people who can write good code. I’m pretty sure that means there’s no EASY button. In the end, there seem to be collective agreement that designers who have some foundation in code approach the design process differently and are more comfortable in their role.

For me I like to think this is about connecting people. The pure designer certainly can’t do it all, and neither can the pure developer. A person with both skill sets will do pretty well, but the designer/developer team might be the new model we strive for.

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