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UI/Graphic design should matter to developers

For the first time I'm working at a company that has a graphic-artist/web-designer. He's very good at what he does -- if you are in the position to hire such a person for your company I highly recommend that you do; it pays dividends. At a lot of companies though we developers are all they have and we need to start making an effort.

How often have you heard someone say "I'll make the form/webpage/whatever, just don't ask me to make it pretty" or something of the sort? Starting out as a developer I made similar comments myself.

Why? Because no one likes sucking at what they do and if you can blow it off like it's not something important then you don't have to feel bad when what you turn over sucks. Then, of course, there is the moral superiority of being a real coder, not like those mamby-pamby Graphics/UI guys.

Over time I had to do more and more front end work and, being the kind of guy that hates to suck at anything and loves to learn, I started to study graphic design and User Interface(UI) design. The more I learned, the more I began to understand how important it could be to the company and the more I cared about the quality of the work I was doing.

Now just to be clear I'm not saying that you have to be a graphics guru, but if you are doing any work that is visible to the customer/client then what you do affects the bottom line; it can make a good product less usable and a good company or product seem unprofessional and unpolished. A considered, consistent layout with some subtle gradients, and a few graphics will take you a long way and a bit of study and practice will set you in good stead to producing consistently visually appealing work. If you already work with a designer then you'll be better able to understand their viewpoints and have a stronger team because of it.

Continuous learning is part of our jobs, part of staying competitive in our field, and that's starting to mean more than just staying on top of the latest programming languages and methodologies. The more you can learn about UI and graphic design, the more valuable you will be.

0 - What do you think?: