The only thing constant in life, is change; wise words that all web designers should now embrace. This technological era is all about the newest and realist experience where interaction and innovation is key. This is what the conversation about software as a service is all about – the future. In This future, many have predicted that there will be little or no demand for web design and here are a few reasons why; the web design patterns have matured hence there is less room to be innovative, Social websites, automation, artificial intelligence, mobile apps are literally taking over and there are too many websites that are unnecessary and therefore obsolete.
Now where does this leave the web designers? Perhaps it’s time to start hitching to a different horse- perhaps Software as a service? The evangelists for the shift to SaaS suggest that this our future, or we die. Here are the options I believe we are left with as I do think that the demand for websites for companies and entrepreneurs may change in the upcoming years.
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1. We capitalize on the deeper functionality that custom designed and developed websites can offer that is over and above what website builders can give.
Firstly web designers need to keep in mind that along with the website be informative it needs to be interactive, dynamic and highly sophisticated in all aspects. Things that are above and beyond what website builders can offer, deeper services, developing newsletter subscription, creating differentiating features in a website like a call button based on the industry, personalization, interactive features like built in webinars or other bits that put people’s websites above and beyond what they can get elsewhere.
2. Designers as problem solvers, help strategize for a company messaging, imagery and effective placement of key elements to tell the story in a compelling way.
Storytelling is key online, and marketing minds are keen on explaining that to clients, but what does it really mean? Do we tell stories in a compelling way, to me; this means laying out and emphasizing the clear differentiating feature of clients and displaying that undeniable evidence. This is also about consulting people in the way they need to go. Do they need to have professional photographs, or video taken? If a web designer can play marketer, there is a different role at play here and that creates opportunity into the future as well, beyond an initial website build.
3. We allow the field to diminish considerably, leveraging our designerly insights into human psychology in Software as a service companies, web apps, and the maintenance and modification of bigger company websites.
There is nothing wrong with the world if web design is de-emphasized or many of our clients flock to website builders like Squarespace and Webs. We can work for bigger companies, who still need deeper functioning websites that would be almost impossible to service with a builder, no matter how sophisticated.
The software as a service market may be growing and taking the place in some cases of the web design industry, but who’s to say the psychological principles web designers have learned to cater to, won’t also be useful in this market. From my perspective, UX and UI Designers have a unique skillset and those skills are highly needed in many places. It’s the ability to stay open-minded and be learning more about sociology and psychology all the time, that will be useful no matter what happens to web design.
So the key message is hopeful. Web Designers have learned persuasion and ease-of-use principles that are useful in problem solving no matter what the context.
The confidence that you have skills that are in demand requires the understanding that you may be doing something different in 3 years, but you have be able to adapt. People make money off of one platform, and thus start getting defensive of that platform, but that is not how brilliant designers are made. If one tool or medium isn’t servicing the needs of a situation any more it has to be shed, for a better tool or medium. This is difficult sometimes, but it’s crucial.
But no, I don’t believe web design is actually going away any time soon.
But I do feel like web designers need to differentiate their process with new features and new reasons to choose them over some quick tool to create a website. What those specifically are for each web designer may fluctuate, but for me they can be anything from user testing and making changes based on those tests, A/B testing and changes based on the tests, or the ability to distill down what makes a company special from an outside perspective that exercises drilling down into differentiation all day every day.
The exercise of doing all of these things every day has developed in me a sharp intellect in this area, this is also a key to why my process of making websites is different and how I provide a unique perspective. I believe it’s important to continue doing push-ups to be a better web designer to provide that above and beyond value when creating a new website. This in toe, I believe creating websites professionally also has a bright future, and consider Software as a Service another beautiful opportunity for web designers who will be able to apply their design thinking in a new arena.