Designers are Developers.
/diˈveləp/ – verb (used with object)
To bring out the capabilities or possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state. Grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate.
Illustrated by Petar Bikic
As the web production and development industry grew over the last years no longer could a single person handle the complex task of building even a medium sized web site, let alone a complex one. The old king of Internet, the Webmaster, had to split into many different people spawning a whole bunch of positions in this divide.
During this split, an unjust perception was created which divided those positions into righteous code-warriors; Developers, and those quirky artists; Designers.
This split happened due to completely wrong perception about [web] designers and the work they do.
- Designers create their product on the first go, creating whatever comes up in their minds.
The design that users see, as well as the design that was presented to a client is a result of many iterations from the starting point. As programmers write and then debug & improve code, designers too create and then debug & improve their designs. It happens as well that from the starting design the end result does not even resemble the starting one. This same occurrence happens in any coding part of web development when for some reason complete chunks have to be rewritten due to some reason (change of certain libraries used in the project, change of third party API, new PHP versions, …)
- Design once done and approved is final.
Even when a certain design starts living online it is continually being monitored through various metrics - Google Analytics, heat map software such as CrazyEgg and others - and improved upon. Those changes could be minute, almost invisible, but they could mean a lot in the final important statistics - sales, users registered, data gathered, etc. Much like any code, designs are tweaked to work better. They are developed.
- Designers are artists.
Artists as a rule create objects which primarily please them, artists. All great works of art were done as a creative outbursts of artists, and were called finished only when the artist said so. Even when art piece is commissioned the artist has the last say, not the "user". Art pleases the artist first and public then might like or dislike that piece.
Designers, on the other hand, create products which primarily have to please others. This means that designers have to, from project to project, change their perspective and put themselves in the position of a user that will use their product.
Art is subject to interpretation. Any observer can interpret given piece according to him. Design must not be interpreted differently from user to user. It needs to be uniformly understood and comprehended.
Designers do not "go and play with it", they purposefully and advisedly create, modify and develop their piece. The process is scientific, not artistic.
Entire design process from the first sketch to the live product is development. Should we strip down designer's work to bare bone, and look at just the underlying skeleton - it would be identical to any coder's and programmer's work. Just because end result appears in shiny pixels instead of lines of text it does not mean that the process is different.