Discussion on: What do developers wish designers knew?

mgrsskls profile image
Michael Großklaus

What I experience the most is that designers are not really aware of how responsive design exactly works. I don't know how to solve this and I think it's also a question of tooling, but usually the problems are the following to me:

  • Designers create layouts for (usually) two or three different viewports, but the states inbetween are ignored
  • Modules look or behave completely different on mobile compared to desktop views

Other topics are:

  • Layouts are designed with optimal data (e.g. copy always has the same length, all images are there, etc.), but edge cases are ignored
  • Lots of big images, videos, parallax effects etc. are used, hence performance will suffer
  • Native browser elements are ignored and instead custom elements are designed (like selects)

And a general thing I experience a lot is very low contrast, e.g. light grey text on a white background. It might look nice, yes, but unreadable for a lot of people.

As I already said, I don't really know how to improve this situation. I feel like that designers would have to learn a lot about web development and technologies, so they have a better understanding of what to consider.

seibmacdaniel profile image
Mac Daniel Author

I agree with the things you said. At this point, I think it's not even a debate that designers should code. They have to, or at least have a developer's mindset in designing. This will make things easier in terms of feasibility and scalability.

I work with designers who code their own designs in HTML and SCSS. The best thing about it is we're past 'just visuals' and are already thinking on the frontend side of things. We encourage the component mindset, anticipate UI states, and implement a more consistent logic on how the pieces fit.

I understand that the 'designers should code' argument is a tough pill to swallow especially for people who don't have a programming background. However, I can't emphasize how huge the impact is.

Designers who understand code don't do parallax for the sake of parallax. They know the underlying structure to design, responsive breakpoints, and browser compatibility.

In my experience though, having a developer's mindset kind of works against visual flairs (which are important in the earlier phases especially during pitches). I think designers need to tailor their creative choices around the technical aspects to achieve balance. After all, limitation is the mother of creativity.

In the end, it all comes down to believing that the best way to design something is to first understand how it's built.