It drastically reduces the time between thinking it and using it and that changes everything. It changes the way you think, you seamlessly switch between being a designer and being a user. When you code your idea instead of creating static mocks you are able to quickly identify what is working and what is not. You can show it to 10 people and ask them to use it.
Of course coding or programming is a skill that takes years to develop. Thats the only argument I hear against the idea of designers coding. Why spend all that time and energy learning to code when you can collaborate with someone much better than you will ever be. This argument sounds logical but there are some problems with it, something I realized only when I started to code:
- You don’t have be a professional programmer to code. Your code will never see the light of the day and that is fine. You just have to code enough to make it work the way you want so that you can experience it yourself and test it with users and devices. Thats it.
- There is a difference between when a programmer codes and when a designer codes. When a designer codes his mind his still working as a designer. He is still looking at the way the experience he had designed is shaping up. This gives him the capability to make changes in real time. It is something we have known for years. We call this WYSIWYG and all our design softwares are built on this principle. The only difference is WYSIWYG does not happen in photoshop or sketch when it comes to interactive products. It happens in the browser or on you mobile screen.
I read an interview of Pinterest founder Evan Sharp. He was talking about how the idea of Pinterest has changed for him as the company has grown. He said this in reply:
You build something and it’s like, what can I build on top of that and what can I build on top of that and what can I build on top of that.
This kind of summarizes the feeling when you code your design. Your vision become clearer and clearer as your idea becomes a reality.