After reading Jeremy Girard’s article on his experience teaching website design, I reflected on my own experience. Having taught in the field since 2006, I have seen changes in the industry, experienced my own changes, and gained insight from the classroom.

I often read from students that feel they are more the coder and prefer to work in the back end. Or, they say they are more of an artist that prefers the design end of website design.  Personally, I have always been more of a creative person, and less confident about coding. But, through the years, I see how integral coding is to creativity in web design. And, the fun part about web design is that there is room for everyone- the coders and the creative thinkers. Any perceived imbalance in a perpetual power struggle between the logical, left-brained thinker and the right-brained, creative thinker can be laid to rest since web design is not a black and white industry, but a continuum where the creativity and logic interweaves and exists simultaneously.

More than ten years ago, I learned about web design by trial-and-error, using a basic website builder. Then I bought Adobe’s Macromedia in 2004. I knew nothing about coding. Layout design was achieved by creating tables, changing them to layers, moving them around to the desired position, and then converting the layers back to tables. The result was hundreds of tiny tables with the design code right within the structure code, and a long, messy page of code and a complex design that took forever to load. However, this was a move up from the plain, static pages characteristic of the very first websites.

With advancements like CSS and typographic styling, the creative people can get even more creative and, in tandem, the separation of coding from design lets the coder skillfully apply code to the structure to achieve a user-friendly, interactive and responsive website. The pendulum swings back, strengthening the creative license in the field, with developments, trends, and features like web fonts and innovative layouts. The creative person can use Content Management Systems like Word Press to build designs easily, without coding, while the coder can still go into the back end and use their skill, and work with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript to create complex features and unique interactivity. To this end, I have seen many changes and have grown to recognize the utility of coding in the creative process. The perennial struggle between the coder and designer continues as a driving force behind the field. Now, as a more seasoned designer and experienced coder, I feel challenged and excited to be part of the future of web design.