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Redefining the Role of a Web Designer in Today’s Digital Landscape

Redefining the Role of a Web Designer in Today's Digital Landscape

Is web design still considered a young industry? Even if it doesn't have the longevity of established technical fields like software development or graphic design, it is no longer a young profession.

The industry has evolved, and so has the job description. Today, web designers require more skills than basic HTML and CSS knowledge. At the very least, we must master the tools that help create these languages.

But that's just the beginning. The wealth of knowledge and various technologies available to web designers is overwhelming, making it challenging for even the most dedicated designers to keep track of everything.

In the past, web designers were expected to have a basic understanding of PHP, JavaScript, MySQL, server operating systems and graphics tools, in addition to the basics. However, more than being a jack-of-all-trades is required in today's fast-paced digital landscape.

It's time to re-evaluate what it means to be a web designer.

Coding becomes an elective skill. 

Xcode Swift Ios App Development

In recent years, the landscape of web design tools has changed significantly with the advent of no-code editors. Creating websites without being an expert in backend development is now possible.

WordPress, for example, offers several no-code options, such as the Block Editor, which allows designers to create custom page layouts and add features visually, and the Site Editor, which extends block-based features to the site's theme templates. Other third-party page builders, such as Divi and Elementor, are also available.

This trend points to a broader shift in the industry where programming skills are less and less necessary.

However, programming skills are still valuable. They are still essential when creating advanced features beyond the capabilities of no-code tools, and there is still ample opportunity to generate revenue through custom solutions.

Importantly, programming skills are optional for aspiring web designers. With the advent of powerful no-code tools, it is now possible to start a career in web design without studying computer science.

Narrowing the focus areas.

The days of working with various platforms are ending as the challenge of keeping up with and maintaining knowledge of multiple content management systems (CMS) or server environments becomes overwhelming.

Each platform is unique and complex, making it difficult to move from WordPress to Drupal to Shopify without extensive knowledge of the specifics of each. Although some general concepts are transferable, the intricacies and details differ significantly. Spending the time and energy to master them all is not a feasible option.

Web designers can no longer rely on ad hoc projects with different CMSs, as this approach can eventually hinder their core business.

For this reason, specialisation is crucial. It is vital to find a platform that will help you achieve your project goals and allow you to grow. Commit to learning and evolving with the platform.

While it is okay to explore other options, choosing a focus will help you build a solid foundation for your career.

Related:  7 Tips to Establish a Better Designer-Client Relationship

Optimising Your Website Maintenance Process.

Website Maintenance Checklist

With technological progress, creating websites has become easier and faster. However, this advantage also comes with a catch. The increased pace of work can lead to increased website maintenance tasks, including bug fixes, software updates, security vulnerabilities and malware issues.

To stay ahead of the game, a well-defined workflow is essential. A streamlined process ensures that you can reliably manage your clients' websites and avoid errors or oversights that could compromise website functionality or security.

Whether an experienced professional or a novice, a systematic approach to website maintenance is as important as your technical skills. A stable workflow can help you move smoothly from one project to the next and ensure you are prepared for any issues.

Creating a website is just the beginning. Keeping it running safely and efficiently requires a whole different set of skills. As a web designer, you need to master both aspects to be successful in today's digital landscape.

The Changing Role of a Web Designer

In the early days of the internet, the role of a web designer encompassed a wide range of tasks, from navigating the code to working with different technologies. Today, the definition has become more flexible, and coding is only sometimes a requirement. The focus has shifted to specialisation rather than working with other platforms.

However, this does not mean that the field has become more accessible. The tools used in web design are more advanced and require a focused understanding of the subject matter. The processes used to manage projects and websites have also come into focus, especially for those involved in website maintenance.

In short, web design has evolved, and so have the skills required to excel in the field. Efficient workflows have become critical to managing multiple websites and ensuring their functionality and security. The field may have changed, but the need to constantly educate and grow remains just as important.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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