Chris Pietschmann

husband, father, hacker, entrepreneur, futurist, innovator, autodidact


Not All Software Developers Need To Be Graphic Designers

Today, I came across a post by Vitaly Gorn titled "Is it time for software developers to master in graphic design?" And, in this article, they explain why software developers need to acquire more graphic design skills today.

What's the problem?

Most application User Interfaces aren't the most user friendly. I do agree that this is a common problem. And, there is no doubt that the one of the next steps in the evolution of the software industry is betting Graphic Design and User Interface Design.

What's the solution?

The quick and easy solution that you think of immediately is that all Software Developers need to learn some graphic design skills. After all, who creates the application? Software Developers.

Simple right? Or is it?

Are Software Developers the best ones to learn Graphic Design and UI Design?

Not always... Well, as Vitaly even states in his post, "there are people that see good design and [those] that do not see it". And, most developers don't have a nack for graphic design and UI design. The reason is that most developers aren't as creative in these areas since they don't have as much a passion for it as they do technology and code. Also, if the developer spends extra time learning graphics, then that takes away from time they could spend learning how to write better code, or use new technologies that would be beneficial to use.

Who really should learn Graphic Design and UI Design?

How about Graphic Designers and UI Design Specialists? Job role specialization has occurred in pretty much all other industries more than the software industry. The reason for this is that the software industry is still rather young and has a long way to go.

Should any Software Developer learn Graphic Design and UI Design?

Yes, and this is where they gray area comes in with this solution to the problem. Here's a couple reasons that Software Developers might want/need to learn Graphic Design and UI Design:

  • No one wants to have their hand held all the time, even developers.
  • A small shop may only have one developer and can't afford to hire a graphic designer.

How do we teach our Software Developers better Graphic Design and UI Design?

Simple, here's a list of a couple ways that I can think of:

  • Good design of often right in front of us, we just have to look for it. There are many programs with good graphic design being practiced; just look at Windows, MacOS and MS Office, just to name a few.
  • Have your programmers design the UI first in a prototype, and then have the Graphic Designer critique it and give feedback.
  • Have the Graphic Designer create design mockups before the programmer begins creating the UI so they can be used as a blueprint.

Speaking of Small Shops...

Just so you know, I'm currently the only developer at my own company, so it's very important for me to learn better Graphic Design and UI Design. So, I'm not completely disagreeing with Vitaly, I'm just pointing out there isn't really as clear an answer to the problem as we would all like.

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