Web Design is Dead ! / ? -- Thoughts, Discussion

Web Design is Dead:

I came across this and felt it would be good for a dissertation or two from the Kirupa community, thoughts, rebuttals, etc. ?


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  1. All webpages have a design (a “web design” so to speak)
  2. Webpages exist
  3. Therefore, web design exists


I honestly didn’t read.

Almost every subject that’s worth some amount of notoriety has some hack brainlessly writing “[thing] is dead” just to generate buzz around said hack.


I tend to leave people speechless with my solid arguments.

Hey prg9, cool post. I can’t write a thesis right now because I’m pretty much limited to typing on my phone since I’m in the middle of a move, but I read the article last night and again just now.

At a sort of high meta-level, I think the term “designer” is pretty tricky pin down. I’ve frequently seen both designers and engineers defined broadly as people who “solve problems”, which may be true but it doesn’t lend much confidence to our naming schemes when such seemingly diverse roles self-describe as the same thing at the core.

The conclusion that UX design is the future isn’t surprising, but it’s the parent of what people were trying to accomplish with web design all along. Web experiences and mobile app experiences are ‘user’ experiences. The specific technologies aren’t super important in the brush sense, and people know this.

“The designers who want to stay in business need to be experts in managing content and value across channels.”

This part is too lingo heavy for me to take seriously. Yes, it’s possible to design content and design value… (anything can be designed) but you can be a designer unfocused on direct business goals. I don’t really believe the implication that former web designers need to diversify their skill sets to the extent that they’re involved in anything resembling SEO or other finance-focused goals.

“It’s time for us to grow up, because we have been part of the problem: we have helped to give birth to self-righteous web pages that assume they deserve to be watched and awarded just for the time we invested in crafting them.”

This section bugs me. Of course time alone isn’t often an indicator of noteworthiness, but it seems like the author is trying to single out sites with heavy flourishes like acko.net, or dunun or 2advanced. Nobody really cares how much time was spent on the Alaska Airlines site, but neither are many people looking to it for artistic inspiration. It sounds like the article would be advocating for something like “function is the new form” or a similar platitude which rhetorically muddies the purpose in distinguishing the two terms.

I see plenty of sites with good user interfaces these days, but very few if any of those would have inspired me to join a related field.

The AI portion of the article is purely speculative nonsense. If AI can replace web designers, it can replace essentially all designers, if you believe in any consistent definition of design. That section sounds like the old “Google showed that you could pick shades of blue with A/B tests so we don’t need humans anymore”-type logic.

'How often do you visit a web site from your mobile device by directly typing the address? Only when you don’t have the app, right? People don’t seem to think much in terms of web pages these days: they think of digital brands"

More shallow rhetoric. URLs are names; brands are names, and there can be intermixing like when a site trades on its domain name. People have always thought in terms of names, not brands or addresses. URLs are certainly a bit clumsy but manually typing them isn’t a core requirement of the web and it wasn’t even in the AOL keyword days.

Anyway, names are tough. That’s a pretty central concept in writing. So the title “web designer” may be going away. That’s okay and just part of done pragmatic linguistic trend. I was on a research group called the “user interface ‘design’” group, which ostensibly consisted of HCI research practitioners in computer “science” in a school of “engineering” … and we all knew we weren’t doing “UI design” as most of the world thought of it… yet that was our name.

So yeah, “web” isn’t a popular term these days, but nothing fundamental is changing. That’s my take.

There’s a slight disconnect between your second sentence and your other ~6000 sentences.

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“Web Design is dead”
Said on a website… that at some point had to be designed. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Personally, I think it is more accurate to say: “Web Design, as we know it, is dead.”
For the most part we are no longer creating websites, we are creating web applications. I know there can be a lot of confusion as to what the difference is but I define them this way:

  • Web Application: “A service accessed through a web browser that is used to complete a task or function.” Example: Google Docs - Used to create word documents
  • Website: “A service accessed through a web browser that is used to obtain or share information.” Example: Kirupa! :wink:

As far as the article is concerned I have a few points to make:

  1. A Framework is not the same thing as a template. Granted it makes design/development easier and quicker, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some work to be done.
  2. I hate templates. There is nothing more dull, than looking the same as everyone else.Big companies understand this. Which is why Bing doesn’t look the same as Google. Sometimes being the same as everyone else is a good thing and sometimes not. The easiest way to stand out from the crowd is by looking different.
  3. Any Designer that uses a template in my opinion must tell the client up front that it is a template. I don’t know how many times I have seen people shell out big bucks for a designer to take a $20 template and just fill out the content. This is not ok, and makes all designers look bad.
  4. “Trying to get creative at this point will probably be pointless or even harmful.” I disagree. Creativity is what has made the web what it is today, without risk there is no reward. I mean come on do we really need another facebook clone (looking at you Google+)
  5. Until a computer can successfully paint an image of equal value to the Mona Lisa without any human input, designers will be needed. Down with skynet design!
  6. Any business that wants to make it bigger than a mom and pop shop will need more than a facebook page. I don’t see microsoft ditching their .com
  7. Mobile has not killed the web. Period. And not every website needs a mobile app. This is a trend that will be dying off soon I think. How maintainable is a platform where you have to design and maintain 4 different products (Android, Apple, Windows, and Web) When Web already works on all the platforms? Theres an app for that is a trend that must die. I’m frustrated at “apps” when all they do is load the webpage that I see in a web browser. We have those already bookmarks.
  8. “The truth is, we need fewer web pages, not more of them. There are already too many competing for our attention and assuming selfishly that we have all the time in the world to close pop-up ads, explore navigational hierarchies, and be dazzled by transitions, intros, and effects.” This statement may be true to an extent. But I do not see companies giving up a major stream of Ad revenue (their website) anytime soon. As long as new services can compete, they will. And to say that we don’t “…have all the time in the world…” doesn’t take into account the hours people do spend on the internet. (Pinterest :eyes:)
  9. “There is nothing there for designers…” Who is supposed to design all the cool web applications that I can use from anywhere without having to download them? Where do they go… the web or an app? The Cloud is the future not a bunch of apps I have to download.
  10. Since when has UX Design not been a part of Web Design? The point of many websites it to share in our experiences which I think is much more important that simply having them.

There are my thoughts, feel free to disagree :poop:

Well crap…
Google and Facebook just invented AI that can do art…
Engadget: Facebook and Google get neural networks to create art.

1:To Commoditization by templates
2:To Web design patterns are mature
3:To Automation and artificial intelligence are already doing the job
4:To Facebook pages as the new small-business homepage
5:To Mobile is killing the web

This switch from web design to experience design is directly caused by the shift from web pages to digital products, tools, and ecosystems.

Mobile cannot replace PC, because we cannot development anything (the web, app) on mobile, so web design never dead

Web design as a means of output and information dumping I think is what this article is referring as possibly being ‘dead’.

I’m not sure how AI can empathize with the end-user, but it will be interesting to see how that evolves.

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People often say that SEO is dead and in a way it kind of is right now. And I guess the same might be with web design. But as it’s mentioned in the beginning of the article - “the end of web design as we know it”, so it’s chaning but it’s not dead :slightly_smiling: