At one time or another, designers at all levels and specialties are faced with the question: should I learn to code? While there are very strong opinions about whether or not programming is a required ability for design practice, if designers decide to take on this challenge, they soon face a myriad of obstacles. Although design practitioners are beginning to understand the practical utility of writing code as a way to make design happen, the obstacles to skill building lead many to abandon the effort early on.
Barriers for entry to coding include:
If designers are able to get past these initial concerns, then the real difficulty kicks in: rethinking how to think about building products. Programmers have a different mental model for creating products and getting work done than do designers. This permeates decisions like where to start learning, how to organize a training plan and exercises, how to structure projects, how to set up your work environment, and how to participate in community learning and sharing as peers. Moreover, these differences in perspectives become conflated with one’s own identity as a designer, creating more confusion and further challenging designers trying to codify design into programs to realize their visions.
Livia Labate offers guidance on how to navigate these challenges. Designers interested in taking the leap or struggling to learn to code will feel empowered and be able to recommit to coding with a better understanding of how programmers tackle the same issues.
Livia Labate is a user experience designer and manager. She is currently a 2015 Knight-Mozilla fellow working at NPR. With over 15 years of industry experience, she has worked with large organizations such as Comcast and the BBC and heavily contributed to the development of the information architecture community of practice through the IA Institute. More recently, Livia led Marriott’s Digital Standards and Practices group, focusing on the stewardship and governance of digital experiences.
©2016, O'Reilly Media, Inc. • (800) 889-8969 or (707) 827-7019 • Monday-Friday 7:30am-5pm PT • All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on oreilly.com are the property of their respective owners. • email@example.com