Future of Web Designers: Extinction or Evolution?
Oftentimes I wonder, is the future of web designers extinction or evolution?
Extinction is probably a harsh word. After all, we don't put web designers in the same boat with accident attorneys, IRS collection employees or oil and pharmaceutical executives. Evolution is really a better term for web designers, as in they'll likely need to evolve to stay afloat.
I say this because their services are similar to others that are destined to be obsolete in the near future, like video rental warehouses and brick and mortar bookstores.
You might ask, however, why is the future uncertain for web design? Well, it's because it's incredibly easy for anyone to build their own website and to do it for free.
Part of this is really my own much needed therapy; it's a rant of pent-up energy after spending several thousand dollars on four different web designers over the past few years, especially after learning, to my painful amusement, that I could have built the sites myself for free. Now that so many web and blog hosting services offer both the space at their venues and the site-building software included, absolutely anyone can make his/her own website and edit it to their hearts' content for no cost.
Don't believe me? Check out these dot coms: webs, yola, wordpress, blogger, weebly, wetpaint, webstarts, viviti, forummotion and so many others.
Most of these companies didn't exist when I first hired out for a site, and you can bet on it that many more are popping up all the time. The competition will only increase to give users more flexibility, bandwidth, applications and ease of use when it comes to making their websites. Oh, and of course it will absolutely have to be free of cost.
Yes, a pure dot com domain still costs a bit, about $10 per year, but does it really matter anymore if your domain name ends with the extra suffix as in example.webs.com? Hardly anyone manually types in a URL these days; they click on links to go everywhere. Wouldn't surprise me if you could get the pure dot com for free pretty soon. That would be a nice feature for a fledgling free web hosting company. I can see it soon: custom domain names included for free!
So what are these $120/hr web designers going to be doing in the not-so-distant future? My guess is they'll either work for the rich and lazy or specialize in increasingly complex sites. Today the average Joe has plenty of options for getting a name, business and online identity happening at absolutely no cost.