web design

The tools we use

Khoi Vinh has a nice rundown of what software designers use today. In every class I teach, I get questions about what software should be used to design websites. The students just want an answer ("go use Photoshop") but, as Khoi has points out, it's much more complicated than that. My own research in this area has very similar findings. Although, I would say that Sketch has taken more of a foothold on the West Coast than he insinuates especially in small shops.

An especially nice quote from the article:

Overall, the visits confirmed to me that the landscape is significantly changing for how we designers do our work and what tools we use, but it seems clear that there’s room for a lot more innovation going forward.

Involving developers in the design process

From Paul Boag's article Why You Should Include Your Developer In The Design Process

“Should designers be able to code? This topic never seems to die, with its endless blog posts, Twitter discussions and conference talks. But the developer’s involvement in the design process seems to be addressed very little. This is a shame, because developers have a huge amount to add to discussions about design.

The unfortunate truth is that many designers have a somewhat elitist attitude towards design. They believe that only they can come up with good design ideas. That is simply not true.”

Boag's article is spot-on. Devs know the medium of code much better than anybody and often have better ideas because of it. Designers—even those working in digital media—still hang on to a legacy understanding of the relationship between design and production. Good digital design comes from well-rounded teams, not individuals. The article is underselling the finer skills that either side provides that the other can't (from design: typography, balance, rhythm, etc) but on a whole, he is right in saying that we need to get away from the elitist "designer knows best" attitude.