Is Web Design Disappearing?

by Donna de Leo – ETMG Designer and Art Director

There’s been a debate in the creative world recently over the future of web design. Is it a creative discipline on the verge of extinction? I think not, although we are in the midst of an online revolution.

Less than five years ago, roles for web designers led creative job sites. These days it’s job postings for User Experience Designers that dominate.

Envison’s site design is based off a responsive web template.

Envison’s site design is based off a responsive web template.

Why this massive shift in desired knowledge base and what does it convey about the future of web design?

For starters, it’s not just about your website site anymore. Instead marketers have to consider the entire online experience or put another way, their “digital brand”. With the explosion of devices, and ways we can connect to the Web, your digital content needs to be served up in countless ways. Websites that are responsive—such as Envision’s—and adjust to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation were the first step in this connected revolution affecting web design.

Moreover with the deluge of inexpensive (or free) templates and frameworks available for site design, there has been a streamlining of creative web pages. “This maturity (in web design) is good for users: they will find consistency in their daily use of the web. Checkout forms, shopping carts, and login pages should all behave in a similar way.”[1] At this point, trying to get more creative with some of these tasks may prove futile or even detract from the user experience.

What really matters nowadays is the content that is served up for a specific user’s needs.

Have you noticed that when you’re shoe shopping online, the next day your browser is filled with shoe ads? Oftentimes, we even forego visiting a company website—particularly when using our mobile devices—as our browsers will push forward a business’ phone number and address. We’re moving to a push based paradigm on the Web where the material finds you based on your activity and context.

Above is an example of a local business search on a mobile device. Without even visiting the website, relevant information is gained.

Above is an example of a local business search on a mobile device. Without even visiting the website, relevant information is gained.

“Web pages are just part of something much bigger. Mobile applications, API’s, social media presence, search engine optimization…. all inform the experience a user has with a brand, product, or service.”[2]

As our grasp on web technologies has grown and the barriers have started to fade into the background, users are flooded with information on a daily basis.

The relevant web designer is the one who can guide us gracefully through all the noise. “The web designer has given way to an online product designer. The online product designer is the User Experience Designer.”[3]

We may not see web design vanish tomorrow or even a year from now. But today’s web designer needs to adapt to his or her new surroundings or avoid being put on the endangered species list.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Why Web Design is Dead UX Magazine, July 2015

[2]Why Web Design is Dead UX Magazine, July 2015

[3] The Death of Web Design Usabilla.com, January 2015

 

Resources:

Web Design Is Dead, No It Isn’t Smashing Magazine, July 7, 2015

 

Further Reading:

Color Theory for Marketers—How to Create a Winning Palette for Your Next Project

Color Theory for Marketers Part 2—Do You Speak the Language of Color?

5 Things You Must Do With Visual Content

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