Yes, you read that right ...
A product designer that codes ... A rare breed indeed ...
Of course, there's plenty of debate in the design community on whether designers should code but, for me, ever since discovering the web and learning how to manipulate it's presentation way back in the late 90s, I've designed in code.
Back then, there weren't the myriad of design tools that exist today and I've long felt that despite this sprawl, tools just don't come close enough to providing the value that quickly firing up a text-editor does.
Code on the other hand is faithful, direct, semantic and structured all out-of-the-box.
In my opinion, it's often the quickest route from paper to production, it's a great way to communicate designs to anyone/everyone and it's really not that difficult to grasp.
Of course, when working as part of a design team sharing ideas, it's necessary to work with tools everyone's conversant in, and I'm very happy with this approach too. Yet, in the last 10 years working in digital design, I've yet to discover a more impactful way of showing, iterating and handing-off designs than good ol' HTML/CSS.
In fact, I've used these skills to great effect, designing dynamic league tables and programmable splashes for the long-gone News Of The World website, a responsive design system supporting 180 news sites for Johnston Press, an award-winning news site for inews.co.uk and a refined, modular UI for Mendeley research products.
In this time, with pretty much every project I've covered, I've created HTML prototypes using BEM to keep IA at the forefront of the solution and SASS to structure and maintain succinct presentational logic, keeping styles encapsulated, efficient and reusable.
In my last project, I conceived and prototyped a product and brand agnostic UI Framework that, taking advantage of CSS variables and CSS Grid, enables designers to begin using the browser as a design tool.
Prototyping in the target medium greatly improves the chances of a success. Whether you're an artist, sculptor a chef or UI designer, this approach is a sure-fire way to deliver well-crafted products ...