In the current construct of ad tech, the lines are continually blurring from creative to tech. Designers are becoming more tech savvy and doing things that creatives never considered touching 10 years ago, especially at Flite.
In “Designers Who Code” we will speak with designers to hear their thoughts on current trends, what they’re working on, and random things that interest them. Our first installment is with our very own Mekuria Getinet.
Jennings: Hey Mekuria, first tell us what you do here at Flite?
Mekuria: I am the lead UX Designer around our Design Studio and work with our team on developing ad products.
J: Our designers own control of the designs that go into Flite’s suite of products. Will you tell us a little bit about how this works?
M: Yes— our system is on around JSP (Java Server Page) pages for layouts using Sass and we leverage that to make our stylesheets resilient. This enables them to work on as many browsers and platforms as our customers need them to. It's a more efficient way of coding, taking the burden off our front-end developers and leaving all the design things to us.
J: What is the biggest pro of designing in more of a developer environment?
M: As a designer, you tend to see one view, page, or layout at a time. Being on the developer side helps you have a more holistic view of the various relationships and interactions. So saying something is one thing, but actually interacting with what you are creating is a completely different experience. It's easier to communicate your ideas if you're developing because you can show exactly how you intend for people to use something.
You can test it in specific environments and have a better understanding of the user landscape. It validates and makes ideas better because you tend to see more of the connections that you can't see in a flat, 2D world.
J: What would you recommend for a designer who isn't coding now? Are there a couple of things they could get started with to start building a tool set of their own?
M: I think if you are completely fresh to coding and don't feel comfortable, then the org or team is not going to feel comfortable. You have to prove yourself in this world. So there's some homework that you'll need to do.
Know the basics and admit when you don't
Learn to ask questions
Know how to talk the talk.
Cleanliness is godliness when it comes to code
J: And being really messy coders?
M: It's fine but you are accruing debt! And later on, you'll have to pay. So clean up as you go—and break things often.
J: Like take breaks?
M: No, like break things— If you are not screwing up, you're not learning. Ha ha.
J: Great insight! Last question: Tell us about a humorous or interesting experience you've had coding as a designer?
M: Humorous? As a designer? Hmm...
Well, I really wish standards were standards. And for me not being bendable to non-standard stuff it's painful to deal with. Is that funny?
J: Yeah in a 😒 way. Maybe we can talk about that next time.
Boy, there is a lot for the modern-day designer to know. And the leaders in the industry are skilled in both the design and tech side. Until next time when we chat it up with another designer that codes.