To code or not to code? If you’re working in web design or if you’re trying to hire someone to design a website for you, this is a question you’ve most likely encountered. It’s time to look at how much coding knowledge is really useful for a web designer, or if they need any understanding of coding at all.
How Websites Are Designed
In 2017, it’s hard to find anyone who will build a website from the ground up with their own coding. At this point, many excellent programs and tools exist to help create websites without having to re-invent the wheel each time. We’ve progressed a long way in how we actually complete the web design process.
But, there’s still an age-old debate about how much knowledge of coding a web designer should have. Is there any need for coding at all? Is it an integral part of the job? Coding is no longer a necessity for building a website, leading one side of the table to say it’s not necessary for the job at all anymore.
The plethora of themes, applications, and other tools in a web designer’s arsenal make most coding largely unnecessary for the daily job. Designers can create fantastic websites with web builders, use drag-and-drop software to get the functions the client wants and can fill in a lot of holes with themes and other little additions. However, there is still a strong argument in favor of coding.
Creating Realistic Designs
Web designers are not the same thing as web developers. The developers are the ones who should understand a variety of coding languages and should be able to write their own long codes the build websites. Even though you don’t need to be able to code the entire website into being, it’s important to understand how some basic languages will work when you’re designing
It’s easy to be out of touch with how your site can or should work if you’re not familiar with what’s possible through coding. A simple understanding of how syntax languages like HTML or CSS work can transform how you design your websites. It helps you to understand what little bits of code are for and how to talk with a developer to get the results you want in your design.
Without knowing what’s possible with coding, how can you expect to create a design that can be fully integrated without complications? Some knowledge of the limits and capabilities of different coding languages will benefit you when you’re trying to create a smooth and pleasant user experience.
Themes Versus Custom
One common argument against the need for coding is the use and availability of themes to solve most problems. When using a website platform like WordPress, it’s easy to find themes to build your site. They don’t require coding knowledge and can be installed and used quickly.
But, even themes are not a perfect solution. For small websites, themes are a good alternative to complex solutions. However, you are purchasing or using themes from developers that may have built slow themes and theme cannot be easily changed.
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Why Does Coding Matter for Web Design?
Themes, drag-and-drop, and other convenient design tools can help you to get what you need on your website. They are walk-around tools that are simpler and far more efficient than trying to write your own code for everything you need. But, it can be difficult to work with a variety of these tools at once, and understanding basic coding languages can help you produce an overall better website.
Here’s why simple coding does actually matter for web designers:
Websites will work more smoothly
Quick loading times and seamless user interactions are important. Some understanding of coding lets you make sure all the individual pieces of a website you’re designing fit well together without errors or problems for the user experience.
More customization is possible
Themes are great, but they’re one size fits all and may not have the exact options that you or your clients are looking for. If you have a basic knowledge of how some coding languages work, you may be able to tweak things a little on your own to make a better fit. You can even cut and paste other code shortcuts that other people provide, but you will need to understand how to make it work and what to do with it first. Without that knowledge, you have to accept the basics given to you.
Troubleshooting and removing bugs
Every programmer can make a simple mistake. Sometimes mistakes can be tiny, but they will impede the function of a whole section of the website. Knowing something about coding helps designers to troubleshoot the problems and fix them on their own.
If you want your website to work well together, it’s good to have an understanding of how it all works. You don’t have to be an excellent back-end developer, but some level of understanding will help you to polish up the websites you design and make them more efficient.
This is especially true for responsive websites that work on multiple devices. Having a responsive website is necessary today, but it’s difficult to make it work well without a little understanding of what needs to be done and how it’s done.
Ideas can be replicated more easily
If you go to a website that someone else designed and see something that either you or your client really likes, you may be able to replicate it or make something similar. This is much easier to do if you can look through the code and see how the specific piece was made.
If you’re a web designer, you don’t have to start classes to learn complex programming languages. You can mostly leave PHP, JQuery, SQL, and other complex programming languages to the web developers and the programmers themselves. But, understanding basic HTML and CSS can make you a better web designer and help you get the best results for all your clients.