Coders Will Design

David Cole has a good argument for building better tools that enable designers to realize their ideas with code.

… the ability to implement your vision is the hallmark of great craftsmanship. It teaches you both the limits and the possibilities of your medium.

Design should drive development, which should in turn inform the design. The best designers I’ve worked with have all shown an interest in the technical limitations of their platforms. Even if they can’t identify bottlenecks or identify memory leaks, they’re curious about those things. They want to know what aspects of their design may have influenced those problems.

The hallmark of craftsmanship may not be the ability to implement your vision (see: architects) – I think an interest in those things goes a long way.

But what about developers? With all this focus on designers learning to code, shouldn’t developers learn to design?

I don’t like the industry-wide assumption that developers all lack basic social skills and need to be kept secluded from users. The question that David Cole asks is “how can code work in a way that empowers designers?” Well, can design tools work in a way that empowers developers?

The answer is “yes, they can.” But just like designers learning to code takes personal investment on the part of the designers, developers need to learn about the craft of design.

I think the best developers already do this in their own way. I mean, what part of architecting a scalable codebase isn’t design? It has a composition of elements and is expressed in a medium. Good developers will design.

Personally, I’m interested in taking this to the next level. I want to understand the why behind the vision I implement. That is the hallmark of great craftsmanship


Posted on January 30, 2013