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Learn How to Design — Designer vs. Developer #10

How did you manage to break through? So it’s not stopping you, but maybe enhancing the stuff that you actually do. I think one of the things that I always struggled with is that, from the visual standpoint like I’m, not a super talented visual designer I’ve seen some amazing visual designers that I’m just like. Oh, my goodness like that is really really slick, and I love that and that’s not like my strengths, and so I was a lot came back more from like the coding or a perspective being able to actually implement some stuff in code which they couldn’t.

But you know there was this kind of this deciding factor realizing. Am I more of a designer or more of a developer like you know, I’m not necessarily that great at graphics, but there’s still so many other ways of design that can kind of spread in so really like doing some research and finding about more about UX design And realizing that is really kind of wondered what I wanted to focus on, it’s kind of what led me to that.

So it’s definitely was this kind of process of navigating through it’s like. Where do I fit in my designer and my developer, were you know from the first projects that I started doing you know a lot of time? I did a lot of websites and when people come to you, they go hey. We need a website built, they don’t necessarily say hey. We need some front-end developer to come and come do this, especially if you’re working with smaller businesses and clients.

So you do take on the designer and developer hat to kind of make that happen. A lot of developers are very afraid to learn about design. It’s like, as I get question question like if I was to write an article, the perfect article for the developers would be how to how to learn to design or how do you, then, which makes no sense to me, because learning to design doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just like what part of design you know what discipline of design but there’s still that question of okay.

What is the first step? That’s someone who wants to really as someone who’s gone through this process yourself. What was your first step to say? Okay, that’s it! I’m becoming a designer right, I think you know following a lot of design patterns at that time. I didn’t really understand that they were called design patterns right. You kind of you implement them in the site’s doing a lot of web work.

You kind of take on okay, the navigation menu. Where does that live and you’re following a lot of the patterns that have already been created, and so you kind of learn to explore through that, and then you know, testing out the site and realizing. Oh, this doesn’t feel right like something’s off, let’s, let’s work on how to make this better, but I think one of the the great things that can really help designer or developers wanting to go into design is looking a lot of like the material spec guidelines.

They’re. Actually really really helpful, because not only does it actually tell you hey here’s some guidelines of what to follow, but it actually doesn’t really got a good job of explaining. Why you’re doing that yeah exactly so. That actually is really helpful because then you’re able to understand. Why was this created like what was the thought process behind, adding potentially a bottom navigation, or why would you have a side side nav? You know it’s it’s really getting to kind of explaining that so you’re able to learn from learn from actually interacting with something and seeing how they’re doing it, but also getting finding out why they decided to do that, because I think well so much of design is Some it’s problem solving right, so so many people forget that when I think of design they think of the finished product, but there’s so many different stages of how you got to that finished product.

And so a lot of it being able to understand how someone was thinking through that really really helps you from a development perspective get into that design field of understanding. Okay, how do I get from thinking of? How do I develop this versus? How do I even arrive to the solution? I think that’s the that’s kind of the big difference there as developers. You know you have something. That’s already designed for you.

For the most part, I mean some people get handed things. Some people get handed an ios mock and said: hey make this and make this into android. So then, at that time you kind of become an Android design. In that aspect, what you think is like the biggest thing that stops developers really understanding design. One of the things that we do at Google is we do design sprints, so the design Sprint’s are really great because it brings people from all the different disciplines and such leads together to work into solving a challenge that we have.

You know. So you have product managers, engineers, designers, researchers, everyone in the room together and kind of thinking and working through a problem which is really fantastic because you get all these different ideas and one of the things that I really notice is where, as we’re bringing in designers, You know and engineers, and all these people together is when we’re walking through the challenge.

The engineers are already thinking of the solution, yeah and already thinking about how to implement it. They go straight to that which makes sense that that is their role right as engineers. Usually, you are given something and you have to go. Oh, how do i, how do I make this happen? How do like thinking through problem solving how to actually get to that solution where, as designers, we don’t know what the solution necessarily is? So I think a lot of the blockers is automatically wanting to know the answer yeah, instead of being more aware and being okay with saying you know, I don’t know the answer to that, but let’s let’s explore it together, yeah, so I think that’s the biggest hindrance That can really stop developers and to getting into design.

It is wanting to have all the answers. It’s it’s okay, not to have them I mean, and what do you think developers can actually do to get past? That I mean because I find like for me. It’s way sketching and just experimenting, and so I suppose, is how does the developer maintain that kind of playful space where they’re, not thinking right, here’s the library we’re going to use to do like or whatever widget or fab or whatever? But what can they actually do that allows them to to not thinking about like the end result or breaking from that cycle? Yeah, you actually bring up a great point with sketching.

That’s probably one of my favorite exercises when I’m working with different people to get them thinking of solutions. So if you’re developing an app or so is hey, let’s get some sketches out there get a sharpie and just start sketching out through some ideas, because that really that doesn’t you can really get some ideas on paper and not be merry to them. You know and not feel like really connected, because you spent all this time developing the solution and realizing.

Oh, it doesn’t really work, and so, if you start really low fidelity with some sketches that can really open up your mind in terms of thinking about different solutions. Because as you’re sketching through it you’re realizing, oh like maybe I want to use this fab button or something everyone loves fab right, so you want to incorporate it somewhere and then you realize hmm, maybe that’s not the right thing to do and I haven’t spent all This energy developing or even designing this, so then I can kind of toss that and move on and create a different solution.

So sketching, I think, is a great resource. Instead of people go straight, a lot of people like to prototype in the code, but I usually like to challenge people and go hey start, sketching some ideas and then once you’ve landed on something that you think you want to explore. Some more then dive into code or dive into sketch or whatever your you’re using. So I suppose for the engineer to really understand design.

It’s almost like okay, just start sketching first and start thinking about the thing you’re going to build and the possibilities, rather then straight to the in solution. One of the things I really noticed there was the way really good designers responded to constraints. You know you think about: I don’t like black and white photography or jewtown prints, whatever their responses to restrictions on the medium


 

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