It’s 2014. Web Design Isn’t Dead

  • Words: Andy Clarke
  • Tagged with: design

Zeldman in fine form:

Never fear, web design generalists: many companies and organizations require your services and always will — from universities still seeking webmasters, to startups seeking seasoned folks with multiple areas of understanding to direct and coordinate the activities of younger specialists. But if jack-of-all web work is feeling stale, now may be the time to up your game as a graphic designer, or experience designer, or front end developer. “Diversify or die” is overstating things when the world needs generalists, too. But “follow the path you love” will always be good advice.

What I know and don’t know and what I should and shouldn’t learn has been on my mind recently too. Only this week on Unfinished Business, Dan and I talked about how difficult it is to keep pace with changing technologies and the tools that go with them.

As Dan moves from front-end and starts a new role in UX, I mentioned how not all of us who know HTML and CSS — and know it well — are the kind of people who are technically minded enough to understand Git or Grunt or Node. From my perspective there are people who come to an “understanding of HTML and CSS plus a little JavaScript” from a technical background and others, myself included, who have come to them from design. Alongside knowledge of the aspects of code that help me do my job, I have knowledge of aspects of design that came with me to the web. So I may not know Backbone, but I’m a devil with a Bezier Curve.

I knew for a long time ago that I haven’t a mind for development and so I never felt any pressure to keep up with its tools and technologies. Designers might feel a similar pressure to learn about content strategy (and for mobile) or research though.

It’s easy to feel disheartened when it’s hinted that without knowing these, and other aspects of experience design, that simply ‘designing’ isn’t enough, or that designing something to be beautiful is somehow superficial.

If you feel disheartened, I’m with you, but remember, making something that’s beautiful takes a great deal of knowledge and experience. Understanding proportions and ratios for layout, knowing colour principles and ‘seeing’ typography, really seeing it, are not things that can be learned overnight.

“Making it pretty” is a skill we can be proud of and one that’s going to be in demand long after the latest fashionable framework is forgotten.

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