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Are You designer or coder?
Are 99% of people here coders, not designers?

 12:10 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Am I right in thinking that 99% of people who participate in the forums here at Webmasterworld are coders (hand-coders at that), and are not designers?
The reason I ask is because I recently participated in a thread about Pixelsurgeon.com, and literally everyone in there was slagging off their design - yet they are one of the biggest success stories of the web-design portal world. Every other site Board I have seen on the 'net that has spoken about Pixelsurgeon has almost always had mostly positive things to say about Pixelsurgeon, so I was just wondering why Webmasterworld is so different. Admittedly, as I am a designer and not a coder, I do tend to visit the design-boards, and not the coder-boards.



 12:17 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm a designer myself... (and one of the only folks who didn't have a problem reading pixelsurgeon, strangely) but I do get the impression - having been here a while - that this is a very code-oriented board.

That said, it's a great place to get a web-savvy non-designer's perspective on design ideas. Since most folks aren't designers, it's a valuable point of view when you're designing a commercial/mass-appeal site...

But the folks here can still speak web-ese fluently while they slam on your aesthetic standards. ;) Nothing I hate more than trying to squeeze useful information out of a critique when the critic refers to 404 links as "fatal errors." (Gawd, that just struck terror into my heart when I heard those words...)


 12:19 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm...both. I get a design in my head, but when I go to code it by hand, it doesn't ever look too good. :(

brotherhood of LAN

 12:23 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I, personally, like minimalism on a site, and I've not learned flash, I've tried to get validating HTML and dynamic stuff a priority.

I see there are great uses for flash, but I see there are issues with SE spiders being unable to read flash material effectively.

I'm sure there is a balance and no doubt FlashLady your opinion on the board will get us closer to that balance no doubt ;)

I've yet to learn flash but I will eventually....and to answer the thread question I do everything (to try it once at least, but I like trying to write better code as opposed to a nice eye catching site).


 12:25 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Welcome to wmw kujanomiko! :)
Have you tried using Dreamweaver or GoLive, so you can lay out the design first, and then fine-tune the code by hand afterward? I'd go mad trying to hand-code the "rough sketch" of a site...

...this whole "coder" vs. "designer" thing is a bit strange, really. I once decided not to take a job in a web shop, primarily because the "designers" were all in one room with photoshop, and the "coders" were all up on the second floor with hotdog (was it hotdog? hotmetal? hot-something, anyhow...). I couldn't imagine cutting the site design process in two parts like that. I couldn't stand turning a design over to someone else to code, and I couldn't stand coding a design I didn't have the creative freedom to "tweak".


 12:34 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm with you Mivox - I've always been fortunate enough to work in small agencies where I had complete control over both the design and "coding" (in a WYSIWYG editor - but that's a whole other discussion :) ) of the sites I worked on. On various occasions when I've done freelance work outside of normal hours, I've had to hand over designs of mine to other people to code and they always seem to get it looking terrible somehow - no matter how explicit the instructions I give them. I even give them specific code to use, because I've picked up the basics from doing WYSIWYG sites, but to no avail.
When it comes to coding other peoples designs, I am usually lucky enough to be able to tweak the design because I manage to persuade them that it's for the best :)


 12:36 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd say the interaction between design, code, and content is where the action - and the success - lies. As such I keep my hand in each area, and I require the teams I manage to cross-pollinate.

For a designer -
If they were painting with oils, they would learn all they could about the medium. Same thing with web design - the medium creates limitations AND possibilities. I know that I often compromise my aesthetic wishes to the functional requirements of the web.

For a coder -
When a design has a really strong impact, they should let themselves be challenged to deliver it as effectively as they can. Because I stay involved in both worlds, I love the challenge my creative, visual side can give my left-brain, coding mind.

For a content creator -
Knowing the medium is essential for really effective content. For instance, it's a lot better to create your own short paragraphs and headers than to surrender that control to an editor.


 12:48 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I come from a design background (degree, etc) and happen to think their proposed new font size (11px) is too small, much less the current (9px).

A lot of the "it's hip to use itsy-bitsy type" also infects the Flash crowd, and neither is good design, as it ignores a constraint of the medium for the sake of a particular look. This is fine in school, or hobby stuff, but unless you know your entire audience is viewing on very low resolution monitors, it is striving for effect facilitated by ignoring basic criteria. (I have used flash quite a bit, not knocking the program)

This is a good place for designers to learn their "materials", sort of like an an architect getting out of the studio and framing a house.

And perhaps for coders to learn something about design, which is a large and subtle field of knowledge not easily grasped by a bit of "on the job" training.


 1:09 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm a Coder, and I have looked at the PixelSurgeon pages and they have some flaws.

Small font is fine and dandy if you allow it to be changed, I have my monitor at 1600x1200 and I can't read a damn thing without squinting since they have the size locked.

There are too many graphics, it is slow loading even on cable. Graphics are fine, but that site has too many images doing nothing useful other than over the top asthetics.


 1:12 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

a WYSIWYG editor - but that's a whole other discussion

LOL... You're not going to start a Mac vs. Windows thread next, are you? ;)


 1:16 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

You're not going to start a Mac vs. Windows thread next, are you?

No. But I will just say that, according to my reckoning, most Mac-designers test their sites to make sure thay work on PCs, but I hardly ever see a PC-coder / designer testing their site on a Mac.

*sigh* - Bring on the burning responses to that one ;)


 1:30 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I believe there is no logic behing tagging people as "coders" vs "designers". Producing sucessfull web sites is a team effort from people willing to listen to each other and compromise to achieve a common goal.

I usually get people with entrenched minds replaced.


 1:31 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

>but I hardly ever see a PC-coder / designer testing their site on a Mac.

Mac US market share is, what, 8% on a good day? Unless your site targets the art/design/advertising market, it's a better allocation of my coding time to worry about N4 or the percentage with js off.


 1:52 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am both a coder and designer.

I compose on Windows, but I test on Mac and PC, Netscape and IE and Opera.

My market is about 35% Mac, 40% Netscape, but every summer that number goes down as more schools switch to IE and PC.


 1:57 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am a designer. I do all of the UI, usability, and markup. I couldn't call my self a coder. My programmers would make me write components and java!


 2:17 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm a decoder ;)


 2:19 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you ask around here, then everyone will gladly tell you that I'm a hardcore coder. At the same time, I'm one of those people on this board with an formal design education (not graphics design, though).

I don't think that "everyone" was slagging off pixelsurgeons design, let alone from a graphical point of view. They simply pointed out its functional problems. It's obvious that the aesthetics of the site perfectly match its target audience, but the impact will still be improved by placing a bit more weight on the ergonomic aspects. The two sides don't have to exclude each other, and their new demo page shows that they understand the issues at hand.

Personally, I'd never design a site, or anything, for that matter, in such a baroque style. But this mainly shows where my educational and professional influences come from. The design philosophy I have grown up with is that the best design is invisible. I have found this to be a very valid approach both in my original field of work and in the side branch of typography that is called web design.


 4:26 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

the side branch of typography that is called web design

Ooohh! Them's fightin' words! ;)

Really though, I consider web design more of a typographers' nightmare than a branch of typography. Until computers came along, there really was no field of design that so intimately integrated aesthetics and interactivity... it's a new and fairly unique animal.


 4:46 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

>I consider web design more of a typographers' nightmare than a branch of typography.<

From what I have read from typographers, is that their attitude is mostly a frustration with the limitations of the web.

As far as coder verses designer, I am neither. I piddle around with both in order to try and deliver my content in an as accessable a way as possible. And while my content is of paramount importance to me and my site, I admit that this coding and designing stuff has allot of appeal. And of course, WW adds to that appeal, providing a great resourse for neophites like me.


 11:55 am on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

my background is marketing

I tend to do mark up for myself simply because I have found so few people who can do better at an affordable price, and I tend to buy in programmers and designers because I'm merely adequate at both

what I actually get paid for is the overall control of a project


 2:33 pm on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm an idiot, but it don't stop me from wanting to code.

I would class myself as code-centric, though i think a site should have a visual coherency, with sharp graphics, to me the content is the core of the page rather than the design, unless one is trying to sell design. Part-time, i deal with companies that want SERP results, and a resonable looking site. So though i am not trained in either, i do both, on small scale sites.


 3:44 pm on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am a coder which is why I love to work with desiogners. The things you guys can do blows my mind. I have mostly worked with designers that don't code and it is always a very interesting experience.

It is a feat to get a designer's vision into something that works on the web without losing the heart of it. A little tweak here or there to get things so you can cut them without having 500x500 jpg's that are so heavy you can only see them on a really fat pipe.

I appreciate the fact that this thread differentiates between the two because I think they are each a unique skill. The designers I've known would not call themselves coders even though they have made some sites. I would never call myself a designer even though I have done the design for a bunch of sites.

I always appreciate a well designed yet functional site, makes me think a good team put it together.

<rant>I always look at the ads for jobs and the criteria are always "we need someone who's formally educated in graphic design and php". Always makes me shake my head and wonder if they even have a clue that those are two different people.</rant>


 4:13 pm on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

You go jatar (he's the programmer that helps me). I do design and marketing.
Everyone have a good weekend, enjoy the sun.


 5:16 pm on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

From what I have read from typographers, is that their attitude is mostly a frustration with the limitations of the web.

Well, if the heart and soul of your design disclipline is type... fonts, sizes, positioning, color, etc., of the words on a page, having your palette suddenly restricted to the three-to-five most common computer fonts, the infuriating limitations of text sizing across platforms & in different browsers, the web-safe color palette, and the fact that nothing will look the same on someone else's computer...

It would be like telling a performance car designer to find a way of winning the Indy 500 with a lawnmower engine and a go-cart frame. I bet he'd get an attitude too. ;)


 7:07 pm on Jun 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

In my experience, real graphic designers usually don't spend as much time on aesthetics as they do on defining the visual communication of a project. They tend to talk more like architects than artists.

Even so, Web site design is different from graphic design, it has to consider problems such as 'where am I?' more than a newspaper, magazine or poster designer normally does.

If a high proportion of people here find themselves "slagging off" arty Web sites, it may in part be because a lot of us are independent webmasters, or are responsible for the marketing success of Web projects.

When you count your success in traffic, conversion rates, gross sales or net profit, you tend to care much more about how well the thing works (can people find us and spend with us) than how pretty it is, or even whether it has the 'wow' factor.


 3:24 am on Jun 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I design with code. I'm not elegant enough to be allowed to work with other mediums but I do enjoy - in fact strive for - perfect code: the symbiotic melding of <form> and function() into one interdependent yet uniquely individual design.

I appreciate those who work with more traditional art forms but my passion is code.


 3:55 am on Jun 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

> Are You designer or coder?

False premise. There is no such difference. Design is coding is design is production is maintenance is a website -- they are hardwired together.

You know how you know? Look at the disproportion number of graphics sites that are filling the .com morgue.

Design poster child sites like the famous EyeCandy - dead and buried or resold into commercial slavedom along with thousands of others. No other sector of the internet has seen so many failings as the graphics sector. I just link checked a long bookmark list of graphic design sites I've not updated in 3 years. 131 out of 187 commercial .coms are gone. Quite a few of the domain names appear to be available for registration.

Why? No one wants to use eye candy sites. They want to use sites that are - well - usable. Graphically designed sites have good wow factor when launched. Wait six months and see how many regulars the design site has before declaring it a success or a failure. If it is a success, I'll guarantee you it is not because of the design, but because of the content. AvanteGaurd design doesn't build a following, content does.

One look at pixel surgeon, and its - never again. 150k home page (or was it more?). With 75-80% of the web at 50k or less - whew, who would ever come back to that?

Google has proved - gratuitous graphics are out. Low key, fast loading, obvious sites are in and what work long term.

> and literally everyone in there was slagging off their design -
> yet they are one of the biggest success stories of the
> web-design portal world.

Because most of the folks here work from the start phase to the checkout phase of site production and know inherently what is and isn't going to work. Pixelsurgeon has some good content - but why would anyone set through it to see unreadable micro fonts on a fuzzy background. But hey - cudo's for the design - it looks great! ;)


 3:59 am on Jun 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

hmm, neither. I mess with data. I code so that others can see the data. I design to try to make it easy to find the data they seek.


 4:11 am on Jun 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

ciml stated it well i think.

Most of us here are responsible for the commercial success or survival or bottom line of a site. In my case, Im designer, hack coder, graphics maker, copywriter, an author, editor, researcher, editor, promoter, SEO, marketer, strategic planner, accountant, but hey NONE of those matters compared to my major role "profit center manager". Ie; If we dont make profit, none of the rest matters!

Pixel surgeon looks fantastic. On a dial up for Thailand however i had to get a cup of coffee before it laoded. No problem, I doubt Pixelsurgeon was designed for me. If Ps' target market are all on high end machines with fast connections and buy from sponors or pay a membership or something, and are used to small text then its great from a survival view as well.

Which is why Flashlady, that you love it so much. Love is irrational - it blanks out rationality.. and thats not being rude.. but you are looking at PSurgeon from the perspective of a designer, and maybe a graphic designer at that. For that it probbaly scores 10/10.

But rather than WMW people mainly being coders, I think we are more of less all rounders, as brett says - false premise - and as tedster says - the team part is important. Many of us try to view sites holistically. And as all-rounders im sure most here would say that the site is aesthetically pleasing, but we would panic if ever asked to make it pay or otherwise lose our job.. which is the reality of many around here!


 4:38 am on Jun 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

This is just a simple analysis ... mean no harm to anyone out there.

As for myself, until such time that the internet is almost like TV, I would be a full-pledge web designer. Slave to the camera/tool.

Until such time, (I should be dead by then ... maybe)I prefer to be a half coder and half designer. With the web standards needs full implementation and most WYSIWYG don't, i would rather still view the code from time to time and tweak and do some parts if needed.

If you're a web designer that is a slave to your WYSIWYG tool, I feel sorry for you.

I cannot accept that a web designer be only as good as the WYSIWYG tool that he/she uses. What a shame.

Be the master of your tool.


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