As a designer, when starting a project I create the Photoshop mockup first. From that point, I will build the HTML layout, test it and then convert it to a theme for whatever platform I might be using. From a developer’s perspective, that is pure insanity. I spent more time retooling my design so it can work with the function. At some point the function broke my beautiful layout. That’s the price of working with a CMS (content management system) and not being able to build your own. In doing so, you usually end up like a dog chasing your tail. However, that is a different set of issues that will be covered at another time. Functionality out weighs presentation on any given day. This is something I completely missed, when I first entered this business.
FUNCTION DOES NOT FOLLOW FORM (well). I am not completely convinced, but I am smart enough to realize when I am figuratively “banging my head against the wall” in certain situations. In the past, I always blamed the CMS. Even when I am blatantly wrong, I would. The truth is much simpler; most designers (especially me) would love to build our own CMS. I don’t know any backend devs, so I can’t elaborate on what gets them going. At some point I would like to think that some of them are experiencing a similar issue. The ones that are challenged artistically anyway.
The truth of matter usually boils down to how strong your front-end development skills are at the end of the day. And, how much are you willing to dig in the functionality of a CMS. Some of these systems tend to leave me puzzled at times. I prefer to stick with the usual suspects: Drupal and WordPress. Both of these open source communities provide a plethora of information that can get you through most problems. I cannot say the same for some of the other content management systems. What I can tell you is that it pays to be a “Jack of All Trades” in this business.