It occurred to me the other day that as a developer who is entering the realms of more and more front end work, you have to become a little more – Designer. Then on the other hand more and more designers are learning how to code, as their role shifts more from the realms of Photoshop to frameworks like Bootstrap and Material Design. This got me thinking whether this is a good thing or a bad thing? I guess it depends on which side of the fence you sit.
Some people would shoot me down in flames for even entertaining the fact that everyone can now just design using Bootstrap! I can only imagine the discomfort this causes for the pure creative, the person who conceives ideas from the depths of their own imagination. Indeed there is no substitute for creative genius. We would be nowhere if it weren’t for those talented individuals.
(I mustn’t offend any of them! They matter to me as a developer when it comes to clients who want something “designed”).
I think that all of this grid stuff has stemmed from one place and it isn’t the Web. The place I am looking towards is the mobile world and the need for UI, interface design that follows a prescribed, uniform format. This has become more pronounced as the two worlds converge. Responsive websites have a lot to answer for this, they must kind of look the same-ish, otherwise the “end-user” will become lost and confused. Though of course that last statement isn’t entirely true, you can splash your own dash of veneer on top to make it look unique and that is great of course.
So returning to my question of “Good or Bad” – I am undecided. On the one hand I like it, because it means that I can pretend to be a designer (which I am not by trade, studied Software Engineering not Graphic Design) and build UIs for the web that look good. It is more like using Lego to build your house, you have a set of red bricks, some blue and one really odd green one (huh?). You chuck it together and shift things around until you go, “ah ha!”. The end client is pleased with their Lego house and it took just one day to build it. This is all nonsense of course, as James May proved on “Toy Stories” that it doesn’t really work.
I think time and budget are the thing here. That is why the answer to that question is a tentative “Yes”. It works for us and will the detractors have to get on with it and learn to love it? Who knows? The business is changing and there has never been a more exciting time, we have a great opportunity here to build wonders…