I hope this is the place of my question, if not, please just point the best place for it. I'd like to know if a programmer can be a designer or kinda styler that takes care about CSS styling. Or stacking with CSS attributes and positions is kinda waste of time and effort for a developer that should be oriented more to build new functionalities?
The thing made me want to know your opinion about this issue is that I'm a PHP programmer but like to style a lot, and I can't work when my board is messy. However that takes me sometime too much time while a whole work is waiting to be done? Any experience over this?

closed as not constructive by Vitaly Mijiritsky, Rahul Aug 4 '12 at 15:20

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  • Frontend development contains both, move away from backend. Site builders are also kind of frontend developers, and they're especially focusing on design. There are also "integrated" web development / web design ppl. Most freelancing projects are for such people. However,UX is neither development nor visual (CSS) design, it's about how to create user interfaces which are "usable", that is, they're understandable, fast enough, etc. – Aadaam Aug 4 '12 at 0:56
  • "UX is neither development nor visual (CSS) design" though some of the best UX designers I've worked with are one or both of those things as well. – DA01 Aug 4 '12 at 2:55
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    Hi Charmop, this isn't really a good fit for our site. We expect objective, answerable Q&A, not discussions around opinions. – Rahul Aug 4 '12 at 15:20
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    @DA01 - I agree with that statement completely, but since this is a UX Q&A site, not a developer or designer forum, this still doesn't belong here. – Charles Boyung Aug 4 '12 at 17:53

Developer can be a dentist, a designer, a loving mother or a father, even a cosmonaut. Why he or she cannot be a designer? Of course developer can be a designer.

  • Haha. Good point Vlad Lazarenko. – Charmop Aug 4 '12 at 9:28

As both a designer and developer

Two years ago, I was both a designer and developer at my company. Since I was developing what I was designing, I always designed something easy to develop. I didn't push myself artistically because I didn't want to wear myself down technically. This sped up product releases. We were releasing new features left and right, but we didn't necessarily produce the optimal designs.

Transitioning to developing only

Recently our company hired a designer. The designer now focuses purely on design, and doesn't care too much for how it is technically implemented. This generally produces designs that are closer to what users really want. On the other hand, the optimal design is sometimes prohibitively hard to develop - putting in tons of time for little return. The designer has no clue how long each element takes to code.

Lessons learned

To answer your question, I think you can be both a designer and developer in a small company. When the company is starting out, you want to develop a well functioning product without too much time tweaking the design. For a hybrid designer/developer, this is easy to do because there's no communication overhead for creating the minimal design and immediately developing the feature.

As the company grows and becomes more stable, you will want to move on to either pure development or pure designing. This generally produces a better end user experience because the designer is not held back by the developer's uncomfortableness with new and creative designs. But at this stage, it's also nice to have a developer who had previous experience designing, so this developer can tell the designer that so-and-so feature will be prohibitively hard to code. But don't make this guy turn down every difficult feature - just turn down the ones that he/she deems would take much more time to code than is worth the return.

  • I enjoyed reading your experience. It helps me. Thanks JoJo. – Charmop Aug 4 '12 at 9:49

Sure they can. My formal training was a double degree in Creative Arts (Graphic Design) and Computer Science.

UX design is, to me, an even more appropriate field for a technically-minded/analytical person, since so much of it is based on research, math and testing.


A developer is a designer. You're designing solutions in code. That doesn't preclude you from being another type of designer. A graphic designer designs with type and graphics.

The web is a huge medium. The more parts of it you touch, the more knowledge you gain and the more it adds to your understanding of the other parts.

But do note that design is more than 'styling '.

  • I know, what I'm asking about is more 'styling': playing with CSS attributes. – Charmop Aug 4 '12 at 9:28

There might be exceptions but my learning over a period of time is that developers approach thing differently compared to User Experience designers. Its in the way you solve problems. One can wear two hats but have to specialize in one else you end up designing the car exterior like the interior. The entire need for designers rose from this problem. Developers would make great systems that were too difficult to use.

Developers and designers can learn from each other and make their code and designers better consumable by technology and by the users.

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