We had a great time chatting with all the hackers, engineers and designers who attended our Design That Drives Action talk last night at HackerDojo. Out of the many questions people asked us, one really stood out: Do your designers do any coding?
It's a question we're asked often. The short answer we tend to give people is, "yes, all of our designers also code." The common follow up question is, "why?". Instead of giving a long explanation, here's a quick example from Alan Taylor, the designer, engineer and writer of Boston Globe's The Big Picture Blog. Alan was interviewed on Waxy.org a while back, and talked about how designers who develop understand the craft better and get things done faster:
I have an advantage in that my main role is as a developer here, so I could build all my own templates, format my own style, and so on. I sort of bullldozed some things through though, like extra width, few ads, and I made it simple internally by doing it mostly on my own, no requests for development time, marketing or promotion. After the legal questions were settled, I was free to try it out. It took off fast.
This is a great example of how designers who are able to code up their own work can accomplish things faster without waiting on other people to help out. Think of how many people Alan would have to wait on to launch The Big Picture at Boston Globe.