UX experts do not need to code

UX experts do not need to code

One of several never-ending debates in UX circles is, "Do UX experts need to learn how to code?"

My interest in computers started in programming, in part because one had to program in order to use a computer in the 80s. But it moved away from code to a point where I now usually just do CSS tweaks on a Squarespace site. I'm comfortable with this.

This doesn't preclude me from conducting research on and designing for the web. But if I didn't have that background, could I still do my job?

I say yes, but I'll add a caveat: for any given project I have to know the domains of the client and what they're trying to do. If I'm working on a web project, I need to know the conventions, standards, and expectations of web users. But if I'm creating the interface for an object that isn't on the web - as I had the opportunity to do earlier this year - those conventions are useless.

Truly, my experience from art school has been more valuable to my career in many ways than programming: my understanding of typography, the visual arts, photography, and writing has been instrumental in shaping the way I communicate - that is, the way I design.

So, I say that UX experts only need to code if their job demands it (that is, they're really doing UI + other coding). It's foolish to say everyone in UX needs to code. But it's fair to say that everyone in UX needs to communicate well.