A programmers attempt at designing

We all know programmers are not designers, but sometimes a programmer is forced to push out a design. The fact is a web application developer often has to work closely with web designers, and their influence is bound to rub off.

You rub my back I’ll rub yours

Most programmers have friends who design, and it should be possible for designers and programmers to share their skills in an on going way so that programmers never have to think about design, in exchange they offer their programming services to designers. However in theory this simply doesn’t work out.

The fact is most designers simply do not require the full blown efforts of a developer most of the time. Most designers require some server functionality here and there, but typically this functionality can be found somewhere in an easy to implement script found using Google. Yes we’re talking about stuff like contact us forms, etc.

Another thing to consider is that most highly experienced designers are short on time. Every single designer I know, is always busy with some or other freelance project, and typically they get paid for this. Senior designers also have nothing to prove, they don’t need to beg your attentiion and so are not highly motivated unless there are some real incentives on the table. It’s a bit of a catch 22, because a less experienced designer might be willing to assist, but the end result can also end up being questionable.

Design as a framework is less reusable too, in comparison to programming. Sure some elements of the design can be reused, but designs should be distinguishable, and the web is also fashionable, what looked good last year, looks old school by today’s standards. I would say, because of this, each design is a custom piece of work, so the designer is less likely to get any inadvertent kick backs from this, than a programmer for example, writing an open source fully reusable library.

Because of these issues, I have been encouraged lately to help myself, and I decided to knock up a design for a small charting business based in Knysna, South Africa. I managed to complete this design and implementation in 5 hours, while the site is not 100% complete, it at least does give an example of what a programmer is capable of, when he/she commits to the situation at hand.

Now I was not completely in the dark, and I had input from an experienced designer, but I am proud to say most of what you see there is my work. The idea here is not to point you in the direction of a perfect design, but simply something that’s functional as some inspiration to you, if you are a programmer, before you say – I don’t design or I can’t design, have a look : http://www.jjsfishingcharters.com/default.htm

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