The Livetyping Blog

  • Which designers should do what?

    I really like this post from Louise Downe at the UK's Government Digital Service. It lays out very concisely the different type of designers they have, what each one does, and, most importantly, why they think that's the best way of doing things. Obviously, this is what works for them—YMMV…

    This is the sort of thing that makes me proud to be British.

  • Start learning to code... and why maybe you shouldn't

    I've been known to go on about how designers should learn to code. As if it's a universal good. Always true for everyone.

    But maybe that's not the case. Maybe it's more nuanced than that... Peter Merholz thinks so. And he's a pretty smart guy. Lots of experience in the field. In a recent blog post, he says that the whole "Should designers code?" argument "fetishizes tech over other crucial design skills."

    His point being that we've been putting too much emphasis on designers being able to code, at the expense of other, no less important skills. IA. User research. Writing, IxD. Etc.

    And he's right.

    Being able to code and being kind of flaky in these other, core UX design skills doesn't make you a good designer. Maybe it doesn't make you a designer at all. But if you have basic competency in these core areas, then you can choose to focus on an area that interests you, and make that your thing. (After all, UX is such a broad field that no-one can be an expert at everything.)

    Maybe that will be interaction design. Maybe it will be content strategy. Maybe IA. Maybe user research.

    Or maybe coding.

    Being able to code lets you create prototypes that work and feel like the real thing. And maybe they will become the real thing, which means you'll be able to see the design through to delivery, and make sure that what was designed is what actually gets built.

    And if it is coding, then you could do worse than take a look at my Livetyping course.

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