Even website owners should care about code

Paul Boag

Most of the time when a web designer talks to a client about code, the clients eyes glaze over.

This is understandable. Code can be pretty intimidating. In fact many web designers legitimately argue that clients don’t need to understand the code on their site.

Although there is no good reason why a client needs to know anything more than some basic HTML (if you don’t then its time to learn) they should still discuss code with their web designer.

The reason it is important to have this discussion is because how a site is coded has business repercussions.

Take for example a recent conversation I had with @sheerman. He tends to focus on coding extremely lean, clean code. This is ideal if a site has to download like lightening. However, it also makes changes to the site slightly more cumbersome.

If you want to constantly update your website, including moving elements around or making design changes, then you maybe better taking the approach favoured by @emerritt, another designer at Headscape. His approach is much more flexible but does result in slightly more code that could slow down a site.

Web designers argue endlessly about which approach is best. In reality the answer depends on the clients needs. That is why sooner or later web designer and client needs to discuss code. They don’t need to get into specifics, but they do need to discuss issues such as whether flexibility or speed is more important.

Of course that is just my opinion. What do you do? Do you discuss coding with your clients? If you are a client does discussing code terrify you? Let me know in the comments.