Web designers arguably bear the sole responsibility of connecting small businesses and start-ups to the online world. It doesn’t matter if the owner has a sound online plan in place for his business if their site design is unappealing and takes time to load. In order to ensure that their plans will come into fruition, therefore, business owners must hire talented and skillful designers who are updated with the best design practices in order to turn their business vision to online reality.
However, creating websites nowadays has become much easier due to the intuitive drag-and-drop feature most premium website creators possess, as well as the different comprehensive guides on how to make a website available online. As a result, more diligent business owners can build a website by themselves by simply reading up on the best web design practices and selecting the platform they feel most comfortable using.
Given the strides web design and development have made throughout the years, this question begs to be asked: should I still hire a web designer for create my site?
This question become even more important for cash-strapped business owners looking to trim down the costs of building a business website. Considering that using a website builder is free as opposed to hiring a good web designer at around $5,000, things aren’t very good for designers.
As web development is slowly gravitating away from hard coding to a more simplified and user-friendly approach to building a website, it’s only a matter of time until the drag and drop technology becomes obsolete in place of something even easier and more convenient to use. Enter The Grid, a new publishing and web design platform that will officially launch in Spring of 2015. This web design platform promises to make regular drag and drop layout and template builders obsolete as it eliminates the need for using labor intensive tools and programming languages and simply takes instructions as you tell the system what you want and it plots and lays an appropriate design for you.
While the site is still in development, imagine the other technological advancements that will soon take place in the future. Where does the web designer fit into the scheme of things, then?
Can Web Designers be Truly Replaced?
There’s a market and tool for everyone, but nothing beats creating something with your own hands and expertise. While website builders are awesome and lifesavers for non-developers and pros alike, the joy of building something yourself is still worth it and there will always be need for that personal touch. The playing field is being leveled, however, as we see the introduction of easier to use frameworks and simplified programming languages like Apple’s introduction of Swift.
At the same time, designers are recommended to “diversify or die,” according to designer Jeff Croft. The challenge that designers alone were able to solve back then is the inability of web browsers to comply to web standards. Now that browsers have smartened up and are now following the best web practices – which resulted to the creation of the drag-and-drop website builders – designers need to find another problem that requires their expertise to find a solution. They can begin by learning adjacent and complementary skills such as responsive design patterns, client-side frameworks (backbonejs or knockoutjs), e-commerce platforms and more!
Whereas the task of building a website has been made accessible even those without any design experience, the rich environment of web development, and the need for the creation of customized web design, still provides designers a platform in the online world to work their magic.
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