Is Web Design Dying?
Web Design is Dying!
This may sound like an outlandish, “sky is falling” type of statement, fabricated to grab headlines, but it’s also a web design valid debate within the design community. With billions of websites on the Internet as of 2014, it sounds quite farfetched to claim that web design is anything but alive and well.
Part of the debate, and the debate on the future of the profession, is how we think about web design. The need for professional designers is still considerable, but rather, the type, skill set, and skill level of the designer is evolving quickly. You may have heard some designers even say that web design will be dead as a doornail in a handful of years. That’s not quite true. While the way we think about web design will be different, the developers who stay committed to the new, multi-modal, think-outside-the-box approach will continue to be essential to businesses and brands in the online space.
Let’s take a look at why web design as we know it is beginning to fade away, and what is now taking precedence (and defining the future) in the design world:
The Case for Web Design’s Demise
Most content today is run by an overarching framework or service, whether it is WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, even Tumblr or Squarespace. Frameworks provide our always-online society with the ability to create a foundation and shortcuts in minimal time so even novice users can begin to create content faster. It’s now fairly easy to create a basic website, so some smaller businesses and brands argue that instead of hiring a web designer, who may just pick out a template anyway, they can do it themselves. This can kill some of the simpler projects for modern web designers.
- Social Media Pages
Social media pages on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are now becoming hubs for small businesses on a budget. In fact, they’re free, sans advertising or paying to boost posts, and they provide viral potential almost immediately.
Many mobile users are foregoing sophisticated, higher-end responsive websites for apps, and allow their users to access all information needed to interact with that brand, even engagement in shopping and ecommerce, through their app itself. Today, typing in a URL is almost one step too many. Mobile web is a bit cumbersome, with all the tab switching and potential for slow loads, so many brands have foregone a complicated website for a mobile app.
Why Design Is Still Alive and Well – It’s Just a Little Different
- The UX / User Experience Model
Don’t panic! Designers are far from obsolete. Actually, the demand for UX, or User Experience, focused designers is on the rise. In fact, strategy has now shifted from web design, per se, to experience design, due to societal shift to digital tools and ecosystems. Web design and web pages are now a portion of something bigger: APIs, mobile apps, social media presence, SEO, and customer service channels, to name a few.
User experience will continue to become more and more important as a website alone is not enough these days – and making these all work together seamlessly is most certainly the job of an industry professional. The key is to think present and future – and to carve out the proficiencies that are needed to provide a 360-degree experience for your clients.
- A Fresh Perspective
The truth is, web design isn’t dead; it’s the old way of thinking about web design that’s dead – and the adoption of a fresh perspective that’s essential to continuing successfully within the profession. Focusing on the various modalities that make up a business’s virtual ecosystem these days is almost as complicated as operating a business brick and mortar. Reach out to your fellow development community and your clients to find out what your marketplace needs and how you can help it achieve its goals.
Instead of living in fear of a changing profession, we need to embrace it, because our clients will have to do so as well, and they need a partner to achieve their goals. Clients are always going to want customization and flexibility, and handcrafted websites designed by a professional often have an impact that can’t be replicated by someone who doesn’t know design so intimately. In addition to creating beautiful, custom websites, there are plenty of opportunities out there now and in the future to create pieces of a company’s ecosystem that are essential to today’s business, including mobile app design, 3D design and modeling, rendering, animation, wireframes, storyboards—the list goes on. The truth is, web design isn’t dying, and it isn’t dead—the idea of web design is the piece that’s evolving and changing. We should too.
In today’s digital world, businesses are always on – and competition is high. It’s important, then, that your company increases engagement on your website, by providing your target audience with the right messaging and visuals to convert clients, including fresh content, and a fluid, clean, responsive website.
The testing phase of the mobile app design process is one of the most crucial parts of an app developer’s work – for both short term and long term success in the profession. In fact, the testing phase is as vital as the development and design of the application itself. If you rush through the testing phase and launch an app before its ready, it may become a failure that your client – and your reputation – don’t recover from.
There’s no debating that the design profession continues to ebb, flow, and change rapidly. The modern designer’s clients (and their clients) have become accustomed to, and fully expect, a rich, high-end, user-friendly experience across all platforms. As a designer in a competitive, noisy industry, failure to deliver on that essential expectation of the best in user experience can quickly leave you without customers. Which UI/UX design tools should you use with your clients, then, to ensure you produce a first-rate experience, every time?