Every so often, I become strangely convinced that there’s no future in web design. Maybe it’s the economy, but I think it’s maybe also that web design is inherently technological. It requires that you use a computer to create it, and it requires that you use a computer to look at it.
Predictions that web design will become a dead art are commonplace these days. Every week there’s another online service that lets you make websites easily, or a piece of software that promises the same. Why, I remember when Microsoft Word first let you make web pages! (I’m pretty sure it still does.) At the time, many reasoned that this was the end of professional web design. Really? Turns out it was just like the “desktop publishing revolution” of the eighties. It resulted in many odd-looking pages with lots of “blink” tags, and then it was forgotten.
If web design was only about technology, this might be the case. It might be something companies like mine are no longer needed for. But that’s not really the case. Sure, Apple makes a piece of software called iWeb. They also make iMovie and iPhoto and Garage Band, and yet there’s still plenty of great filmmakers and photographers and musicians out there! It’s not really that different, is it?
But real web design is art. There’s no doubt about it – I wouldn’t love coming to work every day if it wasn’t. And now that it’s become a more mature art form, there are lots of people involved at every level, and that’s great. It’s not a one-size-fits-all thing like it once was, but neither are art forms. There are individuals making movies on their laptop, and there are huge Hollywood productions – just like with websites. You can drag-and-drop your way to a family video, or you can use a tool like Final Cut Pro to work with frame-by-frame precision.
So remember, if your’re a web designer, or any other creative, and you start to worry that your entire industry is vanishing: it’s not. There will always be a market out there for thoughtful, skillful, creative work. What’s inside you will always be more important than the latest technology.