I recently had a conversation on Twitter about developers and designers that started with:
Mark DalgleishI don't understand developers who say they don't care about design and just want designers to hand them a spec.
Bad design leads to bad code.00:46 AM - 25 Feb 2019
I strongly agree with this as I have personally had situations where design affects the usability of the system as much as it does affect the code. Developers need to care about the design and be vocal about how certain aspects would work. Having strong silos of "developer" and "designer" where they don't talk besides passing a "design" across is counter productive to the end goal of building the best system you can given the constraints (eg. time, money).
James Turner@mrturnerj@markdalgleish I'm not a designer in the sense I don't think I could reasonably design something new from scratch but I very much appreciate good design and have learnt what elements are important etc. When dealing with designers, I do try and be vocal of what is more difficult to build.01:19 AM - 25 Feb 2019
James Turner@mrturnerj@markdalgleish I have definitely had cases where a subtle change to design makes the build dramatically easier - it is things like this where it is great to have a developer work closely with a designer (or in some cases, actually be a developer with a design background).01:20 AM - 25 Feb 2019
I've worked as a website developer professionally for 7 years, working alongside multiple designers across a wide range of problems. Over these years, I have picked up a lot of skills of things that work well and things that don't. Where I believe I am not a designer really comes down to raw creativity, I don't believe from scratch I could make a design but given a design, I could say what would work and what wouldn't.
To me this was the line in the sand between me and being a designer. I might know what components work well with each other but I am methodical, everything would follow the same rigid structure for everything I build - I lack the creativity.
A nice fellow on Twitter named Andy Ingram responded:
This has challenged my core opinion on this and helped me reframe it differently in my head. I know design as what elements work well combined with how they influence development. Others might be more creative but also know what elements work well combined.
It might sound like I am just repeating my previous opinion but in short, I saw design as a black-and-white criteria where really there is many shades of grey. I can take blocks of my knowledge of what works well and still arrange them into something new - that is design. Someone else can create a whole new type of layout - that is design.
Design as a more abstract concept never actually says anything about creativity, it is about working out something that is best for your specific needs.
What are your thoughts on design and being a designer? Are you a designer? Are you a developer who is interested in design? Where do you fall on this spectrum of design?