Published on December 2, 2014
A quick note:
When I first began writing this post, I expected it to be about why I secretly hope PSD to Code dies. But as I wrote, a deeper, stronger realization came over me. That’s what this post is about.
This post was inspired by thoughts that came up in me after reading “PSD to HTML is Dead” on Treehouse.
It was late at night, and I’d just finished designing a home page. The images were just right. The text. The colors. I’d nailed it. It was a work of art.
But there was a problem.
I couldn’t interact with it. I couldn’t see the nav text fade to blue as my mouse hovered. I couldn’t play the video. I couldn’t open it on my tablet and phone and desktop and compare the experiences and adjust where necessary.
And I needed that. There were parts of the design that depended on the browser size, there were scripts that wanted to run but couldn’t.
I felt held back.
In an ideal world this would all happen in a single software. You’d design as freely and with as much flow as you do in Photoshop, and gorgeous, perfect code would turn all that you do into functionality. The designer and the developer would be one.
Web design & development then would be a pure form emanating solely from the artist. The architect would draw up a blueprint and a house would form instantly before his eyes, that he could walk through and scan for imperfections and make sure it was perfect.
It would be like sculpting, where form and function happen simultaneously.
In this sense, I wish something would come along that would end the designer to developer workflow. (I know there are things that try – but I just don’t feel they’re there yet.
But as soon as this wish comes to mind, another thought suddenly replaces it…
I think of my partner, Louisa, who is as “right-brained” as they come. She’s a designer and artist through and through. She doesn’t care for code or structure. She simply wants to create.
And then my other partner, Victor, comes to mind. He’s a developer through and through. He’s impatient with designers. He doesn’t understand why they’re so impractical. To him the world is binary. Code speaks to him the way colors speak to her.
And me? I’m in the middle.
My art is words. But when it comes to design and development, I have a foot in both worlds. I’m good at both, but when I see Victor code, I realize I’ll never reach his expertise, and when I see Louisa design, I realize she’s simply on an entirely different level than I’ll ever reach.
And I realize that some day something will come along that works for those like me who fall in the middle. Something will let me design and code simultaneously and with little effort.
But the true designers who are walking, breathing beings of color and shape will never have the patience for it. They simply want to create. They only want the palette and the canvas and the brush.
And the true developers, who see entire worlds inside of code, will never care for the design. They only want the code on the screen. They make magic from letters and punctuation. To them, the indentations in the code and forming simple solutions to complex problems are art. Not colors or shapes. How the thing is built matters more than what it actually is.
Some day something will come along that works for most. But I believe there will always be a place for the extremists who simply aren’t born to be any other way.
And for them, the developers will always need a designer, and the designers, a developer.
These are the people who push the web to new boundaries. By not thinking of the limitations of code, these designers force their developers to innovate. And by setting boundaries on designers for things that are simply impossible, these developers force resourcefulness and innovation from their designers.
We all benefit from their struggle.
So for the web’s sake, I hope their relationship never dies.
This post was last updated on December 1, 2017