The evolution of the web designer status: from writer to programmer

The evolution of the web designer status: from writer to programmer
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Did you expect the new iPhone or were you interested in the latest rumors about Samsung S4? Are you very interested in how the new iOS7 will look? Well, you are not a freak or the ideal geek, you are almost normal (I am afraid to decide if something or someone is totally normal). It seems that the entire humankind desperately needs new and newer pieces of technology; everything is pushed to the maximum just to keep people satisfied. The Internet reflects this situation perfectly. If you aren’t convinced about them, this website would certainly make you approve my statement. It’s enough to check how the websites looked a few years ago and re-check them now…well, is there any modification? All of them have suffered major transformations and the rate of change is growing exponentially.   

                You may accuse me of subjectivity as long as I am just a humble amateur web designer, but web designers play an important role in this evolution. I don’t see any job that has evolved so much in just two decades; much more, the future offers a single certitude: the role of a web designer will merely change to satisfy the user requirements.

The evolution of the web designer status: from writer to programmer(Image source – Lick&Click! by Mike | Creative Mints)

                To fully understand my point of view, I have divided the evolution of the web designer status in four main phases. Obviously, this is only my own perspective but it may help you in comprehending the big picture.

1. The writer- the early times

At the beginning, the term “design” did not exist, no one was interested in the aesthetics of a website. The Internet was just a new discovery that simplified the information exchange. In this context, it’s clear that the web designer was nothing more than a writer, a special writer that was able to “write online” the information. Due to the small number of people accessing the Internet, the role of the designer in the society was negligible.

2. The drawer-…the dawn of a new era

Websites couldn’t remain just some inert documents. Step by step, but firmly, the modality of creating websites evolved and in just few years the online presences improved dramatically. The status of the web designer evolved and now he is a drawer, an artist that constantly combines the information with the aesthetics to make the navigational process more enjoyable. Definitely, the beauty of good design impressed the Internet users and in just few years, their tastes have become more and more selective.

                In this context, creating a website doesn’t mean only to add text, but there also is a language that helps in this process (HTML) and some basic rules of design to follow. The majority of the designers weren’t content with the tools and techniques available, sharpened their skills, and pushed forward the craft. The result was fabulous: the dawn of web 2.0 is here. The era of shiny buttons and colorful backgrounds began.

                On the other hand, the interesting design of the layout can’t be effective without some lines of codes. Yep, coding evolved at the same time with the design, it wasn’t noticed just because it stays behind a website and the user doesn’t pay attention to it. Fortunately, the designers have become aware that there is a fine but clear shift, from content producer, to drawer/illustrator and finally to a decent coder.    

3.  The “official” web designer

Until two-three years ago, a web designer was ticked off by the cross-browser compatibility, but he was free to use his imagination to create the most amazing websites. Things were pretty clear- HTML and CSS were the best tools and the big picture looked fine. The websites are looking good, the creators are paying attention to all the details and the social networks gave a real boost to the interaction between creator and user. The old days, when the user was a simple reader are gone; now the user is part of a community and the designer asks for his feedback. Well, everything is changing, isn’t it? This situation couldn’t remain for a long time. The web has evolved, from static, to dynamic, then social and finally we have mobile web.

4.  The responsive web designer

Gone are days when some simple (or complicated!!!) snippets resolved all the issues of a web designer. The new context, where the user is able to access a website from a multitude of gadgets with different screen size is a real hell for every web designer. The interesting aspect is that responsive design doesn’t seem to be just another phase in the long evolution of web design… it looks more as a new era. It’s too early to firmly state this idea, but who knows…

                The unbelievable evolution of smartphones and gadgets entrained the birth of mobile applications that attracted many users. As a result, the web designers moved towards this field and created complex websites, similar to the apps, but at the same time, these are perfectly rendered no matter the device used. It’s obvious, we have the new website creator, he is called responsive web designer!

                I hope that this enhancement will convince you that a web designer should never be satisfied with his theoretical background & practical skills. The new web designer should take into consideration the new Internet accessing devices and he must be informed about the current state of mobile apps. What do you think, am I wrong? Are you considering another scenario for the near future? Please let me know your opinion by using the comment form, the more ideas, the better became the post!

About the author

Christopher Jackson is a freelance writer at DesignCrowd in Singapore, where he writes about web and graphic design trends

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