Sorry this is late today, I had a crisis with a client which upped the adrenaline levels and then the migraine that resulted made it hard to see the screen for a while. 🙂 But everything is good now.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about learning design. When I first started out as a web developer I didn’t have any formal design knowledge. I hadn’t taken any design classes. I focused primarily on building websites and applications that helped solve a problem. I was much more worried that the things I built worked, than whether they looked pretty. As I worked I realized that sometimes the look of the page or application was affecting whether it worked. For example, sometimes the position of a button would affect whether the customers would see it and click on it. I also noticed that colors impacted the usage of applications. I think I fell completely into the design rabbit hole when I started playing with typography and discovered that even the choice of font and how tight or loose the text was affected site usability. And that whole process I did without taking a single design class.
Imagine my dismay when I walked into a design class and learned that everything I’d painstakingly figured out over years of development work was already well known by designers.
Design Classes are Useful
They can teach you things much more quickly than most of us can learn through trial and error. Plus you get the benefit of your instructor’s knowledge and the enthusiasm and assistance of your classmates. It’s easy to think that you don’t need a design class because you already know what you like to look at on web pages. But by learning formal design rules you’ll know when your design is breaking them and why. And you’ll be able to make a case for breaking those rules. But the real reason it’s useful to take a design class is because you’ll probably learn something that will improve your designs today, without any split tests or customer complaints.
Have You Taken any Design Classes?
If you have, did you find them of value? why or why not? If you haven’t, are you considering taking a design class? What kinds of classes appeal most to you? Do you like formal, in-person classes or informal, online courses you do at your own pace?