Talk: “Should I Really Bother Learning to Code?” at Web Directions Design 2018

I spoke at Web Directions Design 2018 at the Arts Centre Pavilion in Melbourne, exploring the perennial question of whether designers should learn to code.

It was a fantastic couple of days, and an absolute pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful event. The Web Directions team know how to put on a show, covering everything from the space, food, and swag to a really inclusive and insightful event. For a taste of it, check out the #design18 hashtag and the Web Directions Twitter account.

Here are the slides from my talk:

There are heaps of resources to learn more about code in design and design for developers in these projects:

For everything else I referenced in the talk, here are the links.

Everything designers “should” do

Designers are often told about all the things they “should” do (as if design isn’t enough), so it can be hard to know where to focus your efforts and energy. Here’s a sample:

Evolving design roles

The role of the designer is constantly evolving. Some industry leaders share their views in these reports:

Designing in the Browser

To make the text on any site editable, enter document.designMode = "on" into the console of your browser’s developer tools. To design in browser, tweak text as you please and take a screenshot. You can drag that screenshot into your design tool of choice to combine it with your existing design workflow.


CodePen makes it easy to prototype standalone code prototypes that need high fidelity, such as testing smooth animation rendering.

Personal projects: the trickle list

Personal projects are an excellent place to put code to use for yourself. For example, I built a trickle list:

Where to start

To learn the basic of code for web pages, start here:

Where to go next

With a little bit of coding skill, try these:

And, of course, these projects:

If all of this interests you, I suggest subscribing to the design and development topics of the newsletter.