You Don’t Need To Know Art To Be A Front-End Developer

  • Mr A
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  • Posted On March 12th 2018

Many developers I encounter often shy away from the front-end work is because they assume that you need to know art to be one. But do you?

One of the things that turn off people into Front-End web work is that the assumption of needing to know art. By art, I mean having to deal with designing the website, building the brand from the ground up; Combining colours to make a striking look at attracts customers to your brand.

You don’t need to know these things.

Well, in most cases. While not understanding the colour theory is acceptable in most cases. You should at least be able to discern the design decisions when you build the site. Is the flow of the page correct? Does that section of the page makes sense when the user does this? While you shouldn’t worry about what the site looks, you should at least see what it is intended. This part of the design is where you have to consider the user experience expressed in it.

Before I get into this in detail, I just like to lay out the typical setup in a project, or at least what I usually get myself into. In all of my dev projects in the past, there is always the web designer that is responsible for designing the website. They are the one who typically carves the brand for the product — site for that matter. Most of the time they hand you an image of what they want you to do. In some rare cases, they even give you the static HTML file with all the CSS neatly done for you. I’ve only worked with one person who does this. The the rest they mostly give you a static image or some link to a web design template site, and you work your way there.

Now that I laid it out, in a lot of ways, your task is just to do whatever is laid out for you. Convert them into HTML and attach all the bells and whistles they want to have on their product. These “bells and whistles” sometimes fall into the designer, so it is typical that you go to them for clarifications and show them what you think they meant. In some cases, designers get overly ambitious and put up a site that too complicated for its worth. Of course, that is subjective and could be the client’s wishes.  But it is your task to ground them on the reality that certain things are just not possible, or it would require resources that should’ve focused elsewhere. There shouldn’t be any problems to run down your point to the designer if you think otherwise.

At the end of the day, we all want to push a product that is stable and with little to no technical debt. If we just say yes and do it –even if it doesn’t make any sense– you’ll just run into issues that you have to patch or do some workarounds that will fix it. Eventually, you’ll end up with a code that are stacked like a house of cards.

So what is the point here? You don’t need to be afraid of being in this field of work even if you don’t have any art background. It does help, but in most cases, what you need is be able to understand what goes into the design and be able to visualise what it is for and what it is intended to do.

Think like a user. That is what my former boss tells me, and he’s much right on that.