Tuesday UX Trainer: Should UX designers learn how to code?

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You reading an issue of Tuesday UX Trainer, a series that teaches you something new about UX design every week.

This week’s issue is all about the “should designers code” debate…

The question “should designers code?” is such a long-running debate in the design community that it’s now a meme about whether designers should do everything. Check out this Twitter account @DesignersShould that asks questions about whether designers should learn about bricks, or whether we should do magic.

Jokes aside, I wrote an article that attempts to settle the should UX designers code debate once and for all. My recommendation strikes somewhere in the middle of the road: if the cognitive cost of wondering whether you should code is high enough (e.g. you’re constantly worrying about it), you should at least dip your feet into it. The basics of HTML+CSS can be covered in an hour, and you can get a solid grounding in 1 weekend. Then you can decide if coding is right for you.

If you decide that you hate coding, check out Made Without Code – it features projects like Taxie and lists the tools (e.g. this was made with Cardd + Typeform + Zapier) used in creation.

Realized that coding is pretty fun? Guide to Front-End Web Development and Designis the most thorough course I’ve seen that teaches you how to make websites from scratch.

Important distinction – this course focuses on front end development, which is the most relevant type of programming to UX designers. Even the most unicorn job titles typically don’t ask for backend skills like PHP or Python. Just as an example, many backend programmers I know aren’t great at CSS, nor do they need to be.

If you’re more of the book learnin’ type, Smarter Way to Learn HTML & CSS by Mark Myers is the absolute best book I’ve read on this topic. Why? Because the book is built on the idea of habit and retention – each lesson is super short & concise, and comes with an interactive exercise that commits your new coding knowledge into memory. It’s also the only book I’ve ever seen with 300+ perfect 5 star reviews.

For those who’ve been experiencing this internal “should I code?” debate – does this training point you in the right direction? Let me know.

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Should designers learn everything?

Oz, UX coach @ UXBeginner.com

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