Does Your Workplace Environment Encourage Designers to Code?
It is a common thought that some things can only be learnt while doing it on the job to acquire the needed experience. There are designers who want to learn about web development and the ideal way they can learn is to practice it on the job. There are also designers who already know how to code but doesn’t get the chance to hone the skill because there’s not much support from the workplace. Coding may not be required in their jobs, but designers who have knowledge and experience in web development will tend to have a better perspective when it comes to web design. Designers who know how to code can also better communicate and collaborate with web developers, to come up with better interface and user experience.
For a more encouraging and collaborative workplace environment, here are some pointers how employers can help in empowering their in-house designers to code.
- There’s a saying how it’s “(best to) start them young” when it comes to teaching something. The same principle can be applied here. Set up a development environment from the very beginning. From the start, get your new designer employees to contribute with coding by providing them tutorials and showing them the ropes for them to understand the workflow. Give the designers a few days to go through the necessary materials needed to either learn or refresh their memories when it comes to coding.
- Get your designers to work in pairs. By doing so, it can help designers build relationships and learn more while either mimicking or shadowing a senior during the training period. This also allows for good rapport between employees.
- Be there to help and let them build their confidence by working with prototypes or through testing. New coders generally are a bit scared of breaking or messing up something on an already working page. Be sure to make it easy for your designer through services like JS Bin, CodePen, and Git, along with other “sandbox” options and let them practice and experiment with working prototypes while you/the trainer can review, and give feedback when needed.
- Let your designers work autonomously by keeping everything documented and up-to-date. Your designers might want to try and figure things out on their own. You can give them enough freedom by keeping up-to-date documentation of the projects they’re working on. Make sure that when code is updated, the accompanying documents are also updated as part of practice to reduce discrepancies in the future.
- Get into tooling that will benefit not only your developers but also the designers. As your development team works and grows they might build tools that will help them in the long run. Think about how these tools can help your designers.
- Lastly, start and make coding a part of the design “culture”. It might take time for all future designers to have the confidence or to feel empowered to code. Don’t rush; focus just enough on the small things and hopefully everything will bear fruit in the end. Some activities or events to help with building the culture can include things like: bug-killing rotation and hackathons. These can all work towards spreading the knowledge and can help everyone build a good working relationship with one another. This way, designers can familiarize themselves with the development side of work.
Here at MicroCreatives, our team includes designers who also have web development knowledge and skills; while some of us learn while on the job and through working with our web developers. We nurture an environment where communication is open and collaboration is encouraged so that each vertical (design, development, and copywriting) learn more about each other’s job and apply these acquired knowledge and skills to produce the best possible outcome.