For the most part of 2015, a lot of online publications wrote about web design being dead. I clicked on the article from UX Magazine called, "Why Web Design is Dead" It provides symptoms of why web design is dead and lists reasons. As an owner of a Web Development Company, I am inclined to agree that web design is dead but only because of terminologies used in this article. For the longest time web design and web development were inter-changeable but Easywebsites has always been a web development company more than a design company. Now the difference is prominent. Design is more creative and development is more programming. The difference is left brain vs. right brain. I’m tending to agree that web design is dead or rather dying whereas web development has now differentiated itself.
Here are clearer examples of why Web design is dead or dying:
1) Template Designs are easily available and cheap. You can find a design template online, my favorite is www.templatemonster.com and then you can ask a developer to customize it. i.e.. change logos, color themes, add plugins and components, etc. You have almost zero cost for design and only have to pay for web development and graphics. It substantially reduces the cost of your professional website.
Easywebsites has never been a design company. We have always been a Web Development Company because we build websites for Search Engines. So our designs have always been outsourced to other designers and companies who do graphic design. We advise our clients obviously that we outsource our designs. Because of the readily available templates online, this drastically reduces the upfront costs of websites. A fully integratable CMS design from Template Monster only costs $100 and we use to charge $3,000 for design only. We charge separately for website development depending on the amount of systems, plugins and how search engine friend you want your site to be. The design costs are reduced by 99%! How fantastic is that for small business owners?
So for no. 1, yes, web design is dead but not web development. You still need a developer to code the website for you in whatever programming language you choose. Unless you want to do it yourself and this is where no. 2 comes in.
2) The proliferation of do-it-yourself websites. These DIY websites are from companies such as the following:
Even Google has gotten into the DIY websites: www.google.com/business
So obviously all these sites are going to look pretty when you look at the template designs but its going to take a lot of your time. If you have nothing but time, I suggest trying them out. The DIY websites can be customized without having to hire a website developer that programs in that specific language but for the newbies who don’t have the money to build professional business websites, its a start. Lower your expectations: don’t expect that your website will bring you 1) Traffic from Search Engines 2) Income, unless you are willing to do the offline work associated with your business, the online part won’t be as visible.
I love that technology has enabled folks from every walk of life to try making websites but because you have never built a website in your life, you might want to consult with a web professional. In that way you are not wasting time. If you have never built navigation, if you don’t understand your online marketplace or competition, hiring a consultant makes a lot of sense. So has the proliferation of DIY web design tools killed web design? Yes but this is a good thing. Its killed a lot of web designers who charge $200 per website. Its killed web designers who prey on unsuspecting victims and for that, I am happy.
Has it killed the high-level web development professionals? No. For the most part I think it has made our work more valued. So, thank you!
3) Facebook pages made small business websites unnecessary. I think FB pages are great! I love how clients / customers can interact with business owners on the same platform but has it killed web design? I don’t believe it has. FB has provided a platform but it hasn’t diminished the need of companies to have websites as a professional contact point between customer and product. For small business who start off as a community then the natural progression would be to get a website at a later date but not necessarily rule it out. Its very difficult to monetize a community so a website can provide that alternative platform for revenue generation.
So is Web Design dead? I think the old definition of "web design" needs a do-over. The online experience is shifting into User-centric platforms and Engaged Communities. No longer is your website an online brochure, it has evolved to become an integrated part of the sales process and if your company hasn’t figure this out yet, well, then your website is probably dead.