Yes, Designers Need to Know How to Code Websites

Yes, Designers Need to Know How to Code Websites

May 15, 2011

Like most designers, I did not get any training in how to code websites. I am actually glad this was the case as I had to teach myself this skill, so I did what most people would do. I looked on Amazon for a book that would get the job done. I caught wind that CSS was the way to go so I searched for that. What I found seems ancient now and the tutorials were to put it lightly, not intended for designers, but I purchased a copy of Eric Meyer on CSS. It did not take me long to ditch that and find a great resource called Transcending CSS. This is where I learned the base of CSS and website design/coding that I use today.Fast forward 5+ years and I have kept up with this ever evolving field of interactive design. What I have realized is that while designers do not need to know how to code the next Facebook, they should at least have the working knowledge of how it functions. A solid background in the elements and principles of design will guild you in your everyday work, but when it comes to working with a programmer, you will be happy that you know what you are talking about. Some key things to look up if you do not already know about are:

  1. jQuery (better than Flash because it can be seen on most mobile devices)
  2. CMS (open source is all the craze)
  3. API (integrate with Google, Facebook, MailChimp, etc)

What it boils down to is the more you go the more indispensable you will become to your place of employment or the community you work in. The more you know, the more decisions you will be called upon to make. This cannot be a bad thing. The trouble now becomes how much time you can devote to both design and new web innovations.

Some more great reading on the same subject:

Amber Weinberg on Echo Enduring Blog

As she puts it “You should at least know the basics, especially about usability. You should know why there shouldn’t be 50 different link colors, why the nav shouldn’t be at the bottom and why the logo is always to the left. These sort of things will make your websites perform better and will save the sanity of your poor developer. Without this knowledge you’re not a web designer, you’re just a pixel pusher.


Follow Nick Maschinski on

Comments (0)