Don't Listen to the Hecklers

This is my response to James Bennett's post on the Designer vs Developer debate but I thought it worth sharing my view point here.

So it’s high time we all got over our little internecine feuds and started acting like the professionals we claim to be. That means learning to work with with our colleagues, no matter where they fall on the spectrum of specialized industry knowledge.

Honestly, it's much ado about nothing. You've managed to find some quotes from people who may or may not have any relation to the web design industry and certainly have no impact on what you do and how you do it and who you do it with.

I've spent 10 years in the web design industry with teems of teams of designers and developers working together on projects and rarely have I heard this kind of harassment.

You can try and play referee but the hecklers in the stands aren't the ones you should be trying to settle. The players in the game aren't complaining.

So, rah rah, "can't we all get along", "let's buy the world a coke" and move on...

Published June 26, 2008
Categorized as Opinion
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Joel said on June 26, 2008

Agree completely with you here.

The more people realise that it's just complimentary skillsets and that working together is a far more efficient way of getting things done.

What I would say is that those skillsets need to be respected and when outside of your own particular skillset it's a good opportunity to learn from others. This of course requires an open mind, something that is missing in many areas of society these days...

Mathew Patterson said on June 26, 2008

I have certainly never experienced the problem he describes in actual workplace practice - it does seem one of those arguments that lives only online between people who have never met or worked together.

Jeff Croft said on June 26, 2008

I, too, have rarely if ever dealt with this kind of animosity in the workplace, but I've certainly seen plenty of forum and mailing lists posts that indicate that developers don't always respect what designers do, and I've also seen a lot of blog posts from designers who think because they've learned jQuery, they're now a programmer.

I think it's not so much that people are intentionally disrespecting what the other side does, but the general attitudes of, "I don't need a programmer, I've got EE and jQuery" and "Who needs designers? It's all just aesthetic fluff, anyway," do show up often in online discussion about the industry. It's really more about a need for each side to understand the value of the other side.

Jonathan Snook said on June 26, 2008

Jeff: And there's plenty of Digg and Slashdot comments, too, but I have no desire to try and convince them to be nice. I think the community is better served by demonstrating knowledge of what we do and describing the benefits of doing what we do.

Joel said on June 26, 2008

@jeff: I know what you mean mate, but I also would say that I think it extends beyond pettiness. The lack of professional standards, and even more of a problem the lack of an informed consumer base (be it personal or business), has made it easy for the mediocre to succeed to some degree where in any other industry they'd be caught floundering. To the consumer of web services, be that aesthetic, ui, programmatic, db design etc, there is a chasm in differences of knowledge about what they want, how they get it and more importantly what they should be looking for in a service provider. That inherently allows the "crap"/"poo slinging" that we have seen to flourish along with the mediocre.

Nathan Smith said on June 26, 2008

I think we see it online, but not in person, because anonymity brings out the worst in people. That being said, I could take both Jonathan Snook and Jeff Croft in a fight, easy. :)

Jeff Croft said on June 26, 2008

@Jonathan: No argument, there. :)

KevBurnsJr said on June 26, 2008

To complete the sentence ...

That means learning to work with with our colleagues, no matter where they fall on the spectrum of specialized industry knowledge.

... or having the brass to respectfully resign if you judge your situation to be unworkable.

Chris said on June 26, 2008

I agree, I don't see it at work. Our design/marketing team, and our programmers get along fine, except at the Foosball table.

Steve Oliveira said on June 27, 2008

Damn, is the world of web labourers becoming do dull that drama needs to be created to spice up our work life? I completely agree with your comments Snook. There are much more important issues in life to get worked up about.

Feike said on June 30, 2008

I am in the German IT industry for 14 years now. Since like 5 years I am "in webdesign". It's the most unprofessional sector I've met - but only in terms of project management.
Imho the point is, that webprojects unlike "real IT projects like a new HR system" allude a lot more company depts.
IT is not used to work with marketing, CI, the board, sales, HR...
Programmers - although I am one - must learn that they are just building a vehicle to reach the goal. Software is not the business objective.

Matthias Willerich said on July 09, 2008

@Feike: I agree that, as a fairly young business sector, it can be unprofessional. But in my opinion project management is as variably good or bad as all other parties in a web project, or we could just move the discussion from designer<-->developer to production<-->management. Or clients in general, aren't they the worst :-)
A lot has to do with what is perceived as "easy" to the other party. The web in general suffers from that. And every time both parties muster up a little interest and understanding, respect is reinstated and the conflict resolves itself.

Robert Evans said on July 11, 2008

Some people do see it at work, perhaps, and just because your experience says otherwise does not invalidate another's experience. The quotes were most likely used to support what the person has experienced to show that it does exist.

Your post comes off as dismissing him and his experiences because your experiences say otherwise. But, that is just my opinion.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.