Front end + design = prototype magic. Advantages of blurring responsibilities

Front end + design = prototype magic. Advantages of blurring responsibilities

The topic of whether designers should or should not learn to code isn’t actually anything new. The pursuit of creating the web of tomorrow has led to the blurring of lines between front-end and back-end development where the front-end developer has started to become too general.

The topic of whether designers should or should not learn to code isn’t actually anything new. The pursuit of creating the web of tomorrow has led to the blurring of lines between front-end and back-end development where the front-end developer has started to become too general. Ever since the popularisation of the AngularJS framework, JavaScript’s browser-side responsibility has grown furiously. Right now we have so many different and powerful frameworks that it’s hard to pick which one to learn next; we have React, Blaze (for Meteor), Ember.js, Aurelia, and Angular 2.0 waiting just around the corner, just to name a few. And don't forget Vue.js, which is actually my personal pick of the year.

So why should we learn to design if the JavaScript world has so much to offer?

To answer this question, we need to dive into the world of UI/UX design. Often mistaken as only creative work, designing is not just creating a fancy-pants-user-interface, but rather involves a deep understanding of the client’s and end user’s real needs, and thus the application’s true flow. Creating the UI requires knowledge of how the user will interact with the interface that we provide them. Right now, as more and more JavaScript gets into the browser, the UI has become much more interactive. This gives the designer so much more creative space it’s crazy!

There remains one drawback, however — these solutions are still prone to bad user experience. Problems that often lie in the smallest details, micro-interactions, are very hard to solve using classic designing tools like Sketch or Photoshop. Even with popular online prototyping tools like UXPin or Atomic (which are great design tools altogether), it is hard or almost impossible to actually test-drive more sophisticated ideas. Usually, they only provide us with limited and simple animated mockups with little to no logic; the interactions are often limited to basics like clicks, touch events or swipes.

Additionally, the time and energy needed to create more complicated flows and interactions grows exponentially. If one wants to be very precise over all the possible cases, this gets even worse, up to the point I consider to be counterproductive.

product design development javascript angular ember.js react

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