Although good designers will always be sought after in the marketplace, it’s important for those in the industry to adapt to relevant trends … particularly since the conventional mold of web design is considered by some to be going out of style.
Continuing changes in modern web design are quite evident, but it’s important to note that web design isn’t dead — it’s simply changing. As a result, web designers need to adapt to the current landscape in order to best serve customer needs.
So what virtual speedbumps will web design need to evolve past? I’m glad you asked.
Free and Cheap Templates Reign
The proliferation of websites that sell or provide templates for free has resulted in less business for many web designers, who are ignored by many users in favor of an inexpensive WordPress or Blogger framework. While not possessing the artistic uniqueness of a designer, free options look “good enough” for many people.
The sheer variety of available website templates makes it accessible for anyone. Whether they’re looking for a template for a business website or their own personal blog, prospective website owners often opt for the convenience of template websites like Themeforest, which allow visitors to sort through a plethora of theme categories.
Automated Website Content is Here
Artificial intelligence already publishes a ton of information online, even on sites like Wikipedia, so it’s probably not too surprising that services like The Grid offer website maintenance, alternating layout filters and general upkeep — all via AI. As their site states, “The Grid harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to take everything you throw at it — videos, images, text, urls and more — and automatically shape them into a custom website unique to you.”
The Grid isn’t the only service like this — other AI-driven website builders are on the rise and represent another threat for web designers, who will be priced out by machines delivering faster designs.
Facebook Makes Life Easier for Businesses
There are a significant number of businesses who use Facebook as their exclusive online presence, preferring the simplicity of one-by-one updates and social media reach to the complexities of building a website or hiring a designer.
As the number of Facebook users grow, so does the frequency of businesses engaging in this practice. It’s certainly not like the ’90s, when businesses would invest heavily in a .com and hire a webmaster full-time.
Nowadays, the allure of a free Facebook page that can connect to members that are already registered on the platform is too good to pass up for many small business owners, even if they fail to recognize that an individually crafted webpage from a quality web designer can have SEO benefits that gives the business more exposure.
Why Designers are Still Very, Very Relevant
While the points above can seem discouraging to web designers, the reality is that they will continue to be highly coveted even as the landscape continues to change. The success is still bright for web designers who adapt to recent trends, particularly in regard to the prominence of APIs, mobile apps and SEO, all of which need to be designed by a human. It’s not nearly to the point where AI can develop meaningful mobile apps or tinker with SEO — for that, humans still are the best option.
Content management and channel evaluation are key areas that web designers should hone as they prepare for the future of web design, which will no doubt feature the continuing rise of mobile apps, APIs and other digital versions that enhance the customer experience.
The pivotal role of web designers is inarguable. Those who adapt will reap the rewards.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.
I’m glad to hear designers like us are still relevant… good read.