What should a good designer/developer know?

CW knowledgeWeb Designers should know how to convert their design into HTML and CSS.

A good Web Developer understands what makes a design good.

A hotly debated topic can be found on many blogs and forums between designers and developers and how much each should understand about the other goes on so long that the comments where eventually closed.  This is not a new debate and one that every designer and developer has heard before.

I call myself a designer and developer because I can do and am good at both, but I definitely enjoy the design side more.  Some argue that Web designers should do their own HTML/CSS because they cannot produce good designs if they don’t understand their material.  Others argue that better work is produced if the designers and developers are able to focus on what they are good at and work together to push the boundries of what can be done.  There is merit to both of the points. 


In the end I do believe you will make a better product if the designer CAN code his/her own work. Even if you are a designer passing the design to someone else to be coded, it is so beneficial to understand the process and how it’s done. 

I’m a designer who does my own code (or perhaps a coder who does my own design) and it definitely makes me a more flexible, marketable, and cost-effective worker. My clients and employers are getting some pretty darn good websites at a pretty reasonable price. And personally, I enjoy being able to exercise both sides of my brain!

I think to carry the title Web Designer you should at least have skills in coding html/css

A designer needs to have a fundamental knowledge of the medium for which they are designing. Using a WYSIWYG authoring tool is not necessarily a bad thing, certainly a time-saver, as long as you understand (a) what you’ve produced and (b) how to tweak or fix it.

Any designer who is good at what they do, understands the web medium and can work with the development team to produce good, semantic code will not go without a job.

Web pages aren’t posters - they’re documents that should be structured meaningfully.

the Web is not the same kind of medium as other mediums like print. It is a fundamentally different kind of canvas than most web designers are used to using. As a result, if you as a web designer are not intimately familiar with it, you’re not going to do great work.

to do great web design you have to design in the Web, not in some other medium for the Web

How can a designer design a website with no experience in HTML/CSS? They have to understand the constraints of designing for the web otherwise they will make it very difficult for the coder. the more knowledge a designer has about what is and isn’t possible with HTML/CSS the better.

I consider myself to be of the very rare and small group of people that processes both a creative mind that excels at design as well as a logical mind that can handle the mechanics and technicalities.  Not only can I code with HTML and CSS but I am also pretty good with PHP and MySQL.  I love that feeling I get when I finally get something to “work” that hasn’t been done.  Even so I still have a very strong preference for the design side.  I always used to say “if I could just get paid to draw all day”  well designing is pretty close to that wish, especially if I am working in Illustrator.  I love designing.

So the cornerstone is the developer, not the designer. If you have a good developer who understands what makes a design good, understands user interaction, and has a sense of aesthetics, you’re going to get a good product. Yes, it’s important for your designer to have an understanding of how to build a website. But it is equally important to have a developer who understands what makes good design. you have to have a designer who understands the context of the web.

When your designer knows CSS intimately, the design will play to CSS’ strengths and work around its weaknesses from the beginning. A developer putting a design to a web page has layout constraints that a painter does not have. Again, unless the design becomes a collaborative effort, which is not always practical or possible, it becomes the designers responsibility to understand these things.

Good design comes from understanding the problems, and the medium with which you’re working. Implementation proficiencies are a whole different skill-set.

this is a design for the web, not print. Developers can do amazing stuff on the web these days, but there’s still limitations to what can be done

The finger-pointing that goes on between “HTML Monkeys” and designers is really a shame. The bottom line is that knowledge is the answer. We all need to forget about our left-brain/right-brain presuppositions and gain some crossover knowledge.

Tags: website design, website development, HTML, CSS