I think it's good to have both GUI/WYSIWYG folks and coding "geeks" on-staff, since a pretty page <> to a fully-compliant and efficient page...and vice versa. Ideally though, wouldn't an institution be looking for web design staff who are really good at both?
I am fortunate enough to have a background both in graphic design and in web development (code-geek speak, a la doing a large part of my own web development work in Notepad). I couldn't imagine only performing half of that operation, though I suppose that could just be due to the fact that I practically consider the sites that I build/maintain to be "children"...and wouldn't easily allow others to "raise my kids." :-)
Good question though. At a HUGE university, you probably need hired-guns and specialists on both sides of the fence...each doing their best to avoid stepping on the other's toes.
I agree, I think writing elegant, lean code is just as much a part of a well designed page as the visual layout. Our CMS drives me to distraction because it rips out code it doesn't like and adds junk code then it removes all the carriage returns so it looks like a big mess. I swear it was good code when I pasted it in, honest. :)
There's your $1,000,000 business concept, Daniel.....a CMS service that actually uses 100% compliant and EFFICIENT coding practices. I've never used a CMS and I personally can't STAND many of the WYSIWYG web development tools out there, because so much unnecessary junk gets added in along the way. If you could create a CMS that was lean and mean (efficient...to the point, no garbage code), you'd be on to something! :-)
When talking about Web-based WYSIWYG editors (TinyMCE, for example), much of this comes down to the way you configure the editor.
While you still can't make everything perfect, you can configure TinyMCE to be pretty darn close. It's all a matter of reading the documentation and using the right parameters when calling the init statement.
If your WYSIWYG is ripping out good code, then you need to edit your configuration to allow those elements. If it's inserting bunk code, you need to configure it to stop doing that. It's all about setting it up properly, really.
Of course, I don't know what CMS you're using, or what editor that CMS uses, but I'm fairly certain that most of them are configurable in some way (it may mean getting your hands dirty, though, and digging into the source code - provided it's not built with an interpreter like Zend).
To answer the initial question - I am the coder that gets to turn the work of my designer (who's actually my supervisor) into a Web-based reality. He makes the design treatment look good, and I slice it up the way I want and build the template or page around it.
He and I work very closely together to make sure he doesn't include any elements that won't work on the Web or are more trouble than they're worth, and to make sure I capture the spirit of his design.
On the one hand, we're fortunate that we're pretty much a two-man team in that regard. However, with the addition of a Web assistant, I have to say that I'm happy to be able to pass off some of my coding to someone else.
I personally prefer to do both. I think there is an advantage to having a through knowledge of html/css when doing the photoshop (or other graphic tool) side of the design. I try to have my portion stop there when ever possible. In ideal situations I then hand that html/css template over to the programmers for anything that goes beyond the html/css.
I am the "someone else" in the operation. The designer has a pretty photoshop template that I need to convert to html/css.
For those with separate designers/coders, here is some advice. To make it smooth... do NOT let the designer simply hand over an imageready slice-up to the programmer to work with. I have input along the way to make sure elements of the page (podcasting, menu setup, etc.) work well with our CMS, but the MOST USEFUL input I have is telling the designer exactly what I need for slices. Designers tend to think in "design element" chunks (broad generalization - don't shoot me). Coders think of those pages as glorified lego sculptures. We know which types of building pieces we need to reach the end goal. We (at least I) don't think of anchor pieces, balancing elements, focus element, etc. when I want to code a site.
Question 1: In designing basic HTML pages, no. Anyone interested in manipulating a page to meet specific design requirements, coding (or access to the page code) is a necessity. I use it all the time to design pages that have "special needs."
Question 2: I use a GUI in most cases. I know some "old school" designers who swear by coding their own pages -- and that's cool -- but it's time-consuming and tedious. I believe it's more important to know what the code does, than actually to actually hand code a page. GUI's are great time savers ...
I have to say this is an interesting question, but I also thing it highly depends on the background you come from, and the resources your employer has.
Myself, I would love to have a few other designers/coders on staff here at ACC. It would be largely beneficial to everyone if the tasks were split up. I have a good deal of design experience, but I KNOW that there are more creative designers out there, but finding someone who writes cleaner more understandable code than I do, would be hard to find.
I would have no problem turning design over to a talented designer, and focusing on coding, as long as I could have input on the design in some small way.
I think it is important to do both. I design in HTML rather than Photoshop. I think it's too easy to design something in Photoshop (or other graphic program) that doesn't translate well to W3C standards compliant code. I need to understand how the pieces will work as I go. That said I'll still sketch out a sample on paper (very rough layout) to use for measurements and such that I can refer to for my CSS.
I too do both, but then again, I'm a one (wo)man show... If I did have resources, I think it would still be important. Getting clean code is almost as important as getting great design. And making sure it degrades well can't be done without clean code.
I prefer to do both, and it's a good thing too since I'm the only web person on staff. I am responsible for the design, coding and everything else. I like to have full control over how a design translates into CSS with roll overs, etc.
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