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Why Coding is Not Web Design! Why Coding is Not Web Design!
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When people ask me how to become a web designer my first instinct is to tell them to learn HTML coding, but that is actually wrong. To become a web designer, you have to actually be a designer, other wise you are just someone who builds websites instead of “designs websites”.

Design is a bout visual problem solving, so if you don’t know typography, layout and color theory and you just do coding, you’re not really a designer at all, you haven’t designed anything.

You have to balance technical skills with visual and creative skills to be a good web designer and deliver the solutions clients need.

It doesn’t matter if you use HTML code or Adobe Muse or WordPress or Square Space to make a website, the important thing is that you are delivering a web site that the client needs and fits their audience, not your preferences.

If you understand that, then you are a real web designer and will have no problems. If its beyond you and you can only do coding or your are only a designer, its okay, partner with someone who brings the skills you don’t to the table.

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27 Responses to Why Coding is Not Web Design!

  • Why would a web developer say they’re a web designer

  • Affandi Rj says:

    Agree with this.

  • iSasFTW says:

    I'd say I'm creative and all that, but I don't have a design background or professional experience. I'm not fluent with JS, PHP and the likes, so that doesn't make me a developer. Does that make me a web designer or a front end developer?

  • fredo & kler says:

    should i stop coding? im struggling in coding..i think its better to design.

  • Kevin Duddy says:

    I'm definitely 100% a coder.  I need help when it comes to color schemes and other design concepts. This is one of the reasons why I put off updating my own portfolio website.  I would love it to look good, but it's frustrating because I lack the design skills. What is the best way to learn these things? Do you recommend any books or sites to learn these design concepts?  Thanks.

  • B R says:

    I totally agree! Web "Designer" vs Web "Developer" 

  • Tech Support says:

    I agree with this, but web design does is not the same as making a website. With it you wind up with something that looks nice, but can't do anything. For example, let's say you make a site for a store. Sure it needs to look nice, but you also need to have communication with the server, and no drag and drop tool will do that for you. So I agree that in the end both are important. 
    My opinion on those drag and drop tools are that they can be like game engines. Often a beginner will think they're real good right away and don't realize what they have is shit. They also make it harder for coders later on since they don't realize certain artistic elements (like the few you mentioned), and then the coder has to work to get things to look nice, and let's just say it's way harder to hard code things to look nice than to simply drag and drop.

  • to put it simply, if you only do design then you are more of a graphic designer, if you just do code you are a web developer, if you do both and have a mindset to work them then you are a web designer.

  • Oh man, I remember the days of using notepad to code. D: 

  • My DOB 12/1945. Factor that in. Been teaching myself "code" since 6/2011. Took me a good long while to decide which label best describes what I want to do. Finally decided I love the idea of hand-coding so that I know what's going on, but also see aesthetics as crucial. No one's going to pay for a very functional site that reminds them of Craig's List.. Great video. Will watch more.

  • Morgan More says:

    I agree 100

  • Roberto Blake you are saying that web designers focus on the layout of the website.  coders only focus on the function of the website.
    If the coder also has background in graphic design they can implement both of these skills and vice versa    +Roberto Blake 

  • beanheadshop says:

    This video is intense! You really drive home some "Good" ideology. Great food for thought thanks!

  • I did watch the video before commentating 😉 and I did enjoy it, I don't agree with a lot that you said though, but then as you said, you were asking for it. Dude a Web Designer who doesn't know at least HTML and a bit of CSS is just lazy. HTML you can pick up within weeks and CSS basics a few weeks.I'm not saying they have to know CSS3/Javascript/PHP but at least make an effort. I do think there is a difference but there should be some overlap. When you said hire an artist, do you mean a normal artist, because I used to be an artist and a coder but I couldn't design for toffee until the last few years. On the other hand I think Developer should learn a little about aesthetics, colour theory that you use in art just doesn't cut in in web design.

  • Albert Byrd says:

    I like to code, and I agree with your video. Coders need to become more design savvy. 

  • Ethan Badru says:

    Love this totally. 

  • Both programming and designing are arts. So all that mumbo jumbo about "knowing your stuff" about web design is useless. However, I'd also like to consider that all web application developers were "web designers" at one point in time, when they had to actually display the information on the page. Whether it looked horrible or premium quality, web design is knowing how to style a page, while programming is taking user input, doing something with that, and responding accordingly.

  • yes but no i know several web designers that would disagree but because i asked them the same question when it comes to wordpress and squarespace not saying that i would disagree but i'm not a web designer and when i got my webpage up and going i had people doing it by writng it instead of point and click because everything i wanted in couldn't be done by point and clicking on wordpress or squarespace

  • Thank you so much for making this. I completely agree with everything you said! Occasionally I receive a comment from someone claiming that I am not a web designer simply because I do not "hand code" my websites. I primarily use Squarespace and WordPress to build websites. As far as I can tell, the software is a set of tools. What you do with those tools is what makes you a web designer. And let's face it, not everyone is capable of building something that looks nice. It's a skill that is learned through practice and experience.

  • Why Coding is NOT the same as Web Design.
    #Design #WebDesign #HTML5  

  • Night hawk says:

    Nothing wrong with note pad… I still do use it to code… but I am a designer… lol

  • James Toikka says:

    That was an excellent explanation. I embarked on a project with my friend who is programmer. We are working on a social media site where I do front-end design and html and he does backend coding to make it functional and bring it online. Recently, I wondered what bootstrap was about, and I discovered its really a resource for coders who are not fluent designers. It gives them a neat and complete set of css rules to work with. Overall, I totally agree with Roberto! No matter what you are comfortable doing, don't be discouraged by the other side. Be objective and open-minded towards other areas because it helps you to be marketable. IE; Get a job! If only more of the students in my program would understand this.   

  • Anthony Bell says:

    Great video!!!! Just had this debate with a high school student of mine! This will definitely be shown in class!!!! Lol.

  • I still use notepad to code and I hate WYSIWYGs…one will always need to hand code to fix what WYSIWYGS can't.

  • I agree with you as a coder and aspiring designer!
    Don't you think that apps like Muse kind of drive you in a certain direction and you would be better of hand coding stuff rather then giving up the design and do what the app lets you to do?

  • Me too! I'd start with <HTML> and end with </HTML>, working straight through. I literally thought in code – and this was back in the mid to late 1990s. I was lucky because I was working as a designer specializing in games and retail packaging, so I also thought in 'art' as I coded pages. Frames were the big thing back then – second generation web design – and I visualized page design as I created the first draft. Then the fun started – creating backgrounds, floating text, gif animations, icons, and a navigation scheme – all that archaic stuff. A little editing and the page usually came together pretty quickly. I never learned to use Dreamweaver, in part because I felt more comfortable with a minimum of code and eyecandy, and a maximum of white space, elegance, and easy user interface, and in part because the simpler your code, the easier it is to troubleshoot and fix. I was a typical micromanaging, control-freak designer!  

  • Andrew4d says:

    I agree completely

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