Can you be a good, sole developer if UI/UX (design) skills are terrible?

My objective is to work from home and make web apps by myself.

However, my greatest weaknesses is design of web pages. They look bleak and terrible.

Can I be a good, individual web developer if my design skills are subpar?

What are your recommendations?

Like anything, you’ll only get better with practice


If you want to be freelancer that works alone, I think it is mandatory that you develop some experience in designing the web pages as well.
Most of the times, a good looking website is what make the clients start to get interested in your services.
The same way you would be more inclined to pick up a nice looking book to evaluate it rather than one with a not very distinctive cover.

Also consider that your clients will most probably need the website to attract customers, so it’s a bit of a circle…

The solutions I see are basically 2:

  1. You don’t work alone, but instead you team up with a web designer
  2. You follow some courses on web design, at least to get the basics. I think Coursera has some nice once.
    A nice channel to check on YouTube is DesignCourse.
    I also recommend the free ebooks of UXpin.
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What about using a CSS framework like Semantic UI or something?

Use some of the advice here and make a couple/few “templates” for your clients to choose from. Not only will you have to worry less about making a custom design each and every project, but you’ll save time when working because you’ll just have to plug your clients info/data in to your pre-built templates.

Charge extra for additional components or customization.

You can also freelance as a developer and not have to design anything. When I did freelance, they gave me mockups from their own designers and I just wrote the code to build it.

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Here’s a similar thread for your consideration


The larger the company you work for, the more likely it is that you can avoid participating in design decisions.
I would argue that if you really are “terrible” at UI and UX design that you won’t have much success as a freelance web developer. That’s basically trying to make the pitch “I can make you a web application, but it may look terrible and frustrate or confuse your users”.
These design concerns are areas of study. They can be studied and learned. People seem to decide that they’re “not an artist” and therefor can’t design, which is BS. You don’t need to be a gifted artist to research which colors are hard to read, or where people expect to find things on a web page, or what the best practices are and why.

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I mean, some front end jobs expect you to at least have certain awareness of CSS and HTML in order to markup some design that somebody else (or a full team) creates for a special custom project. In the best of cases you get to use frameworks like Semantic or Bootstrap.

If you are a back end guy then you have nothing to worry about.

Hi @Hjb1694 , sorry to answer back so late.
I think that CSS frameworks are indeed good tools to help designing website. But like any other tool, you need to know how to use it to provide a good work.
Also, I read in some articles (on, if I remember correctly), that there is the tendency to become too dependant on those frameworks, instead of really evaluating if they are needed or not (sometimes a result can be achieved easily and with less struggle using something else).

I still suggest you to learn the basics of design.
I was (and actually still am) in your same situation. I don’t have an “artist spirit”, but since reading about the base concepts of design, I found myself applying them to work and I can say the results have been improving a lot over time.

I suggest you to check the free app “uxtoast” on the Play store. I found it few hours ago and I do think it’s priceless (no pun intended :laughing:). It has a section to learn UX and one to learn UI design.

Happy coding (and designing)! :wink:

Everyone seems to have their own opinion when it comes to the role of a web designer vs developer.
Being a web designer sounded ideal: You should get to create beautiful things for the internet, and use up all the creative juices on typography pairings, color schemes, and lot more. If you want to be a good UI-UX designer, you need to practice more.
You can check the latest videos and join courses that will help you to understand the niche better. You can check the blog below that might be helpful to understand UI-UX design better.

I hope this information helps you.