Stuff designers do that make developers crazy

Myself being a hybrid of sorts, i.e. I’m a web developer / RIA developer that also happens to design, I found this posting at TechRadar to be quite amusing. Jokingly, it discusses the frustrations many web developers are confronted with when implementing web designs from non-developer oriented designers.

Knowing what it’s like to have to implement designs made by others, I wholeheartedly agree with some of the highlighted points. But while reading the list, I must admit I’m often just as guilty. I’m probably driving myself crazy by over-designing stuff like rounded corners, gradients, transparencies and break-out artwork. Then again, I drive myself crazy many a time :-P.

When designing a web site or application, it’s easy to go over-board as a designer, thinking “oh, this looks pretty”. And “wow, that’s neat”. But once you get to sit at the other end of the table – in the developer seat (like I often do) – it dawns on you that a lot of things are very difficult to accomplish in the respective language/platform (be it HTML/CSS/JS, Flash/Flex, [your favorite solution]).

Rounded corners, for instance, are still a big pain in the butt. Sure, CSS3 rounded corners are slowly catching on, but it’s not a standard yet, just like HTML5 (see previous post).

The author speaks of “needing to do things the dirty way”, and that message certainly strikes home. The obvious instances of this are things like background gradients. If one would know the lengths a developer has to go to make this work, in a clean way, one surely wouldn’t design it.. Because CSS only allows one background graphic at a time, what you’ll often need to do is nest multiple DIVs, with each a different background. Dirty indeed.

But well, if we’re honest, these aren’t real technical issues. Some things just need more tinkering than others. If the designer like to over-design, and the client likes it, perhaps throw the designer a bone and take on the challenge 🙂 (or have them implement their own design for once, that’ll teach ‘em).

As for the bad naming schemes or intricate folder structures in PSDs: yeah, I do that too ;-).


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