UX Designers don’t need to be experts at coding. But one should learn enough to develop an understanding of coding. Basically, you need to know whether what you have conceptualized or designed can be brought to life through coding, and what are the roadblocks or carriers one might face. ‘Writing code’ isn’t a core skill for a UX Designer, but learning the basics is a huge advantage to a designer.
When you have a background or understanding of the technology you’ll be using to bring your product vision to life, you’ll be able to:
- Develop a greater rapport and understanding with your development team. It’ll help you communicate your ideas better, and reduce misinterpretation of ideas between development team and the designer.
- You’ll have a better understanding and realistic expectations about what can and cannot be achieved in development.
- It’ll also help you create high fidelity prototypes.
Learning at least the basics of front-end coding languages such as HTML and CSS will help you leverage your UX skills better. An understanding of Frameworks and libraries such as jQuery will help you communicate exactly what you envision with your development team, and helps you guide them in the right direction.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you dive deep into development work and do the intense coding work. For front-end animations to be used in prototypes, there are very useful tools such as Axure, Invision, Balsamic, etc. that give you a myriad of effects, transitions, and interactions to choose from and implement in your work.
Back-end or server-side programming is an entirely different skill-set altogether. Even though learning it out of curiosity or as a new feather on your cap of skills isn’t a waste, the benefits of knowing it are not as obvious as knowledge about Front-end languages. For this, I suggest relying on your back-end development team and work very closely with them.
Steps that you could follow to bridge the gap between your design ideas and execution by back-end developers are as follows:
- Be very clear and crisp in your communication and work very closely with the team
- Give and take constructive feedback constantly to leverage their strengths better
- A UX designer often has to work on being a bridge between Front-end and back-end teams, so that everyone works in a synchronized manner.
- Communicate and understand exactly what they need from you as a designer. For example – nomenclature and dimensions of assets.
A basic understanding and appreciation of the technology bringing your vision to life will be a great asset to your skill-set as a UX Designer and will help bridge gaps that often crop-up in Product Design projects. A little reading and understanding about new technology and skills that are not always associated with one’s profession will never do any harm. On the contrary, it might become an asset and help differentiate or set you apart from the ocean of designers in the market.