Why All Ning Designers Code

You can’t have a great user experience without clean code.

…so says Andrew Mager, web ninja at Ning and all-around awesome guy.

At approximately 160 people, Ning is larger than most start-ups, but it still isn’t a Big Company. It’s never felt that way to me, even though I am embarrassingly bad at remembering names (but not as bad as one engineer who turned to me in the elevator on a random afternoon and said, “Who ARE you?”). I digress—the point, though, is that as with most start-ups, everyone wears a multitude of hats.

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Image Formats and Optimizations

Given that we’re designing an application that millions of people use, we’re constantly looking to optimize everything.

In the case of images and the design team, we try out multiple formats, we create sprites where it’s logical, we reduce the number of colors, we run it through Photoshop and Fireworks, and then after all of that, we’ll use some obscure command line tool to squeeze out the last drops. We’re always asking ourselves, “Is this worth it?” or “Is this acceptable?”

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