Building your own tools with existing software

I’m sure you’re sick to death to hear whether designers should learn to code or not.

To me, coding skills have let me create my own designer toolkit by reusing and extending current software tools. Have you ever imagine how cool would be to become your own user while developing a solution?

At the moment there are thousands of open-source apps available for anyone to improve them. Some of them do just basic things like To-Do lists apps and others are a bit more sophisticated like Chats.

I’m not even talking about libraries and that crazy need of knowing the whole universe of packages and extensions of a programming framework. I’m talking about already built-in solutions with a purpose, with an API, and with an easy-to-consume documentation.

This is an experiment that I love to make from time to time: just pick an existing tool, see the code, imagine a different purpose with the current interaction model, a different way of using the visual grammar and customise it to see how the UI paradigm will work for a different goal.

If you include yourself as the target user, as a designer no one better than you what you want and need so, you can go ahead and create something fantastic to make your life easier, funnier or more productive.

Designer, you have the power of imagination, the good habits of a well-stablished UX process, and a strong creativity and ability to conceptualise things that most people can hardly envision, you just need to know the keys to play with the code and cross the red line.

It is to me the funniest way to learn.

Soon I’ll share my latest experiment: buidling my own UX testing framework 😉

By Carmel Hassan Montero

Product Designer and Computer Engineering graduated from the University of Granada. I'm based in Málaga (Spain), working remotely designing at Honest. I'm also a proud founder of Yes We Tech, and support tech events that care about promoting diversity and equality among its members.