My problem is this, that few people mention that a UI designer should not have knowledge of JavaScript they should only know html and css. But I believe that a UI designer should also have knowledge JavaScript or jQuery. Since, he might try to create a jQuery slideshow on it owns and see how it looks and play with it. Or implement a menu in jQuery.

How can I decide if a UI designer should know Javascript or jQuery?

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    Possibly off-topic, unsure where to re-distribute to within SE so will leave to mods
    – TJH
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 7:45
  • This may interest you: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/9119/… Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 7:49
  • I think this belongs on SO or Programmers.SE. (Question is about UI designer, not UX.) Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 10:17
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    @DannyVarod I wouldn't be happy if this were posted on Programmers, and it's definitely not a question for Stack Overflow.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 13:28
  • This question is fine here - similar questions have been posted on this site before with no issues. It's a useful topic that can be answered.
    – JonW
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 13:47

8 Answers 8


If you make a distinction between a UI designer and a UI/front end developer, I would expect the latter to be competent with scripting to a decent level but the former not necessarily. If you are designing an interface that someone else will eventually implement and your JavaScript knowledge isn't brilliant, you have a responsibility to chat with a more experienced colleague to ensure that what you're proposing is practicable.

  • What we are looking forward to is someone to do UI design for website. But there has been a debate that UI designer should not know javascript. If he doesnt knows Javascript, then he cannot get a jquery slide or a plugin and modify himself. He has to find a developer and tell him how to do it. Which this results in a longer time. And doing a thing on your own would have a better result then spending time explaining to someone as what is in your mind Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 8:03
  • I'm not sure how this answers the question at all. You can have a UI designer who knows javascript and can prototype the UI elements and still have a front end developer who can implement it all for performance and maintainability. There's no implication in the question that if the UI designer knows javascript no one else is going to be coding the front end.
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 18:21
  • @meWantToLearn You say that you're looking for a UI designer, but the rest of your explanation says the opposite - you want someone to modify a jQuery slider, which is part of development. I think the root of the problem is that you don't consider the UX to be so important that it ever requires more than one person... that's not going to fly on this website :).
    – you786
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 18:21

HTML/CSS is anyway assumed by default for any UI designer, so there is no debate on the need of that.

But just having HTML/CSS skills would not really be much of an asset, considering that most web pages nowadays have a whole lot of front end scripting to do also. UI designers, would need some knowledge of JavaScript/Jquery to manipulate the DOM objects, say something like checking of multiple checkboxes, or scrolling tables. Or in the case of plugins integrating with the main page. The good ole days when UI designers just needed to know HTML/CSS is past gone, they need to be having a fairly good knowledge of scripting too.


Any one who's participating in the frontend development of a site isn't really worth much if they don't know the basic jQuery for manipulating DOM objects, using plugins and doing things like slideshows as you said. Heck a lot of designers are limited if they can't implement the slideshow they've put into a design.

HTML/CSS isn't a challenge days, they teach HTML at school so just knowing HTML/CSS really won't make you stand out. At the end of the day, it won't be bad having that extra attribute in your skillset.


Designers should understand the medium they are working in. Web designers, for example, should understand HTML, CSS and JS, and, ideally, how back end systems work.

To what extent do they need to understand all of that? Well, it depends. Primarily, it depends on the size of team they may be working on. The larger the UX team, the more dedicated and specialized roles can exist.

The smaller the team, the more those on it need to wear multiple hats.

As for debating HTML + CSS vs, HTML + CSS + JS, I see no reason to separate JS from that. It's all presentation layer code, and all works together, so a UI designer should know how all 3 work together.


I think what you are looking for is what Jared Spool calls a "super designer."


There are quite a few of these types of people out there. They have decent design chops and can code what they design (although, frequently someone else does it). This has the advantage of the designer creating designs that are actually implementable and not just pipe-dreams. Sure, I'd love to have a UI that can actually read my mind, but that can't be implemented (at least not on 99.999% of the budgets out there).

A good designer needs to know the technical capabilities of the environment, tools, developers and customer to create the best possible design within those constraints. When a designer can build everything he designs, there is some assurance, that it will actually work and reduce the designer-developer thrashing that frequently happens.

These kinds of "super designers" will actually reduce cost and reduce time-to-market with their skill and ability.


As per my knowledge UI designer is a person who will only create the design using an image editor or similar method. They do not need to have any technical knowledge.

And the web developers (UI related parts will be implemented by front end developers) will do the coding to provide real web pages according to designer's sketch.

In this case a UI designer should be very creative and should have good background knowledge about aesthetics and how to use colors to illuminate different scenarios. (E.g. : when we use some colors together they tempt to give a 3D look)

However most of the smaller software companies would depend on front end developers UI designing capabilities and allow them to do the designer's job too.

Anyway I have experienced both of these methods and usage of separate UI designers have almost always out performed front end developers doing UI job.


This isn't a situation where you can say "yes, all UI designers should/shoudln't know javascript/jQuery/coding/whatever". And I can't disagree enough with people who insist it can actually be harmful for your designers to know how to do things!

Instead of asking "should they know it" you really need to look at your team's needs. Do you need high fidelity prototypes? Do you need rapid iteration for user testing that's slowed down if a front end developer has to make the interface each and every time for the UI designer? Is your site largely based on dynamic javascript content?

The more of those questions you can answer yes to, the more apparent it is that javascript/jQuery/etc is an important skill. If you're designing highly dynamic pages it can be extremely important that your UI designer understand how that all goes together and what's possible. If you prototype for testing/demonstration it can be extremely helpful if your UI designer can do that themselves.

I take exception to Matt Obee's answer; yes, it is true that front end developers should have much stronger scripting skills and should be responsible for building out your final released project (building for performance and maintainability), but that doesn't preclude the potential importance of your UI designer knowing some javascript as well.

Just because your designer knows Javascript doesn't mean they have to build the final codebase themselves! If it's a very small shop maybe you do need your UI designer to build a large amount of the final code, but if that's the case you should know the requirements of the role already.

You have to evaluate how much a UI designer with javascript knowledge would benefit your situation. There is no cut and dried yes or no answer. There's a lot of dogma out there on both sides of this argument, definitely make sure you don't get caught up in it. There are plenty of reasons to leave javascript as a requirement in the job description for a web UI designer, and plenty of reasons to make it a "plus" instead or even not focus on it, depending on how relevant javascript is to your project and how detached the designer will be from the final code.


In my experience, if someone is truly only the UI designer, it helps if the he/she doesn't let the design be influenced by his/her knowledge too much. This way, the design won't be limited by what the designer thinks is possible, but merely by how the designer thinks it is most useful/pretty. After that, it is up to the (more skilled) UI developer to implement the design. The front-end developer might be capable of implementing features the designer deemed impossible.


Fair comments. 'At all' is maybe a bit strong. I've slightly altered my wording.

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    I disagree. A designer should understand the technology they are working with like an architect understands building materials. In my experience having an understanding of what's possible leads to better design, not the other way around. I have developed sites a designer has created with no HTML/CSS/JS or CMS knowledge and it wasn't nice as you had to provide workarounds and compromises for the design. The designs weren't that good anyway! I am a UI designer with a solid understanding of what is possible and its of benefit and not holding back the design.
    – Wander
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 13:12
  • I think there is a place for this sort of free-thinking design without technical constraints, particularly when capturing ideas from non-technical clients and users, but it's always very important to have technical input before you go too far down the wrong road.
    – Matt Obee
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 13:19
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    @MattObee fair point, perhaps at some design agency where they have odd shaped chairs and quirky dress sense.
    – Wander
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 14:16
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    And beanbags? But seriously, I wouldn't want to stop a non-technical team member (be they designer or not) from proposing a solution to a design problem just because they didn't know how to build it or even if it's possible. Put all the ideas on the table and then evaluate the sanity.
    – Matt Obee
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 14:26
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    "it helps if the he/she doesn't let the design be influenced by his/her knowledge too much" this has been a debate forever but typically comes from visual designers who are too stubborn to learn the medium they are working in. ;)
    – DA01
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 16:37

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