The nervousness increases. Hardly any surfing in the widths of the net is still possible without stumbling over advertising of one of the large homepage builders. “Do it yourself” is on the rise, it seems. Do web designers die out?
At the very beginning, the answer
The question of whether the profession of web designer will die out in the foreseeable future, can be answered with a clear yes and a clear no. It’s a bit like Radio Yerevan. It depends on. It depends on how one defines the profession.
Web Design Anno Tuck
In the past, web design was a goldmine just because there was hardly anyone who did it. It was also nice that there was no apprenticeship and there, so that everyone could simply call web designer (and can). It did not take long for trained cooks, dropouts, and thirteen-year high school students to become web designers and built the first, from today’s perspective, horrible shacks of the Internet.
Over time, the graphical skillset of many, if not all, market players has been refined, and Web skills have found their way into study and training. Professionalization began.
With the start of web programming in turn began the Appisierung the network. From now on, websites no longer had to look good, they also had to be able to do all sorts of things. Content management systems, such as WordPress, began to make network content management accessible to everyone.
Surprisingly, the web design guild took the issue of CMS but rather from the aspect of the theme development on and quickly an unmanageable number of fancy and less chic coats, which the inclined customer could overturn his CMS.
Nice coats were very popular and still do today. Some may well live on being such a little tailor, the majority not.
The rise of modular systems
For those who do not want to or can not deal with the technology of a CMS, but are also not willing to hire a web designer, the industry of homepage construction kits was born. Their skills grew fast. Today, site builders come up with features that leave nothing to be desired.
The code quality has also changed from bad to bad. not with everyone, but with the leading modular systems. The code quality is even partially so good that it could no longer improve a handheld encoder. Oh my godness.
By design, as far as we understand beauty in expression, there is also nothing to complain about construction site websites. Since websites visually align themselves more and more with each other, there is hardly any representable differentiation possible over the design or the design.
This scares a good part of the guild. “If the customer could get a website as beautiful as I could build him much cheaper, why should he hire me?” That’s a legitimate question at first glance.
“Oh, there you just have to offer additional services,” some say, meaning technical hosting, the classic webmastering tradition. More and more rely on search engine optimization as an important service for every customer. Others, in turn, specialize in a programming language that allows them to read the client’s every wish in terms of programming. Less and less try to convince the customer that still a tailor-made suit is better than a suit off the shelf. And fewer and fewer customers believe that.
All these web designers have one thing in common. You see web design as a creative and technical task. Web designers who think that way will disappear from the market. Yes, they are dying.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Let me ask you a question at this point: “What do you think? Will the Maier from the post office, if I buy him the same suit as our top salesman Schmidt from sales, become as good a salesman as Schmidt? “
You may think that would be a stupid question, and you’re right. And if you recognize that, then you have also recognized where the assessment error lies in the relationship Web Designer to modular system. Do you think your client wants a nice coat for his website and some SEO tricks and reliable hosting?
Of course he wants that, but it’s not his primary goal. For most customers, the goal of the site is to sell products or services. Of course, our top seller Schmidt can not go naked to the customers. He needs a representative suit, but his skills as a salesman are and will be more important.
No homepage kit and no CMS starts at this point. They are able to provide a structure and look, but that’s it. It is you, the designer, who can bake a cake that can be made from this basic material, this dough, a product. Selling is as it is today with words and pictures.
Away from the roots
Therefore, consider your design job far more expansive. Of course you have to create a technically reliable, visually appealing basic environment. But to achieve your customers’ goals, you must first and foremost support their marketing.
It is therefore not exaggerated to say that the future of the designer is in the words. Modern websites tell stories of products and services and people who use these products and services. So, looking at the designer of the future, I would say, “Whoever writes, stays.”
Due to the trend towards uniformity of modern websites, UX design is becoming more and more important. The customer’s path through the website must be signposted and paved in the best possible way. A purchase must feel natural and be quick and smooth. Microinteractions are more important than ever. Look at different apps with the same purpose. The most popular is always the one app that does the task as pleasant and easy as possible. Also read this article.
You can personalize websites with images, illustrations, words, videos and specially designed UX features, such as the aforementioned microinteractions. Over all these aspects, you can set yourself apart from home builders, no matter how great they may be.
The framework within which you do all this is a contemporary website. No matter who provides it. If you define your job like this, you will not be among those at risk of extinction.
(This post first appeared in the spring of 2017 and has been kept up to date since. The last update was in May 2019.)