More debate on designers writing HTML and CSS

The debate of whether web designers should know how to write HTML/CSS has started up again, sparked by Elliot Jay Stocks’ tweet: “Honestly, I’m shocked that in 2010 I’m still coming across ‘web designers’ who can’t code their own designs. No excuse.”

Of course, 140 characters couldn’t capture his whole opinion on the subject, so he wrote a blog post followup. I strongly recommend reading it. I really agree with it.

Also, he later tweeted: “My new opinion, based on insight from commenters: You DON’T need to know how to write HTML/CSS. But in many scenarios it can be useful.”

I agree with this too, for the reasons explained well by Mark Boulton. A web designer doesn’t necessarily need to know how to write actual HTML and CSS. But she does need to know about the limitations imposed by browsers, the strengths and weaknesses of the medium. Writing HTML/CSS can make understanding and designing around these limitations a lot easier. But you can come to this understanding without learning HTML/CSS first.

Basically, my opinion is still the same as it was when I wrote Should web designers build their own pages? back in June 2008. Check that article out for my full opinion—including my very own architect analogy! (Seemingly a must whenever debating this topic.)