On the Future of Web Development: Are Designers at the Helm? [Op-Ed]

For years, web developers have enjoyed a very comfortable position in the website design hierarchy. A visual designer could create the look and feel of a website, but to turn that design into a working website, they needed the help of a developer.

Writing basic HTML pages for a simple, informational website is frankly a waste of a developer’s time, taking them away from more important and challenging work where their knowledge and skills would be better applied.

Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post by Nir Barlev, the product manager at Webydo, a cloud-based platform that allows designers to create professional websites.

Empowering Designers

Designers and developers have long had a challenging relationship, in part because they are often forced to work together on projects where one side should have more control than they do.

The Web is not the new kid on the block anymore. Years of experience working on the Web have allowed people to find better, more efficient ways of doing their work. These efficiencies include significant improvements in the way that we develop websites today.

Reduced cost – an added timeline means added cost, so when the time needed to code a site is reduced, the cost of that site is also often reduced.

Rethinking the Website Creation Process

In the past, developers hand-coded web pages, a process that was often time-consuming and expensive and put designers on the outside of a web design project for much of that process. However, new solutions, like the cloud based web design platform from Webydo, are changing this story (Disclaimer: I am a product manager with Webydo).

For designers, this increased control is obviously a welcome change. It keeps more of a project in their hands, which also keeps more of the project budget in their pockets!

Developers have enjoyed a "powerful" position for quite some time, but things are changing in the web design industry as designers begin to regain some of that power and control for themselves.

At first glance, the loss of control for developers may seem like a bad thing for them, but it is not. Basic websites with straightforward needs should not require the intervention of a developer in order to create.

There are a number of advantages to this change in responsibilities, both for the designer and for the client:

This allows designers to easily publish a fully functional website from the design that they have just created.

For web design clients, the advantages of this new website creation process include those we have already mentioned (reduced timeline and cost, improved communications) as well as an overall, easier process. The creation of a new website can be a challenging and stressful time, so changes that streamline that process and make it easier will reduce that stress for everyone involved.

By empowering designers to take more control over the web design process, the future is changing for both designers and developers.

Webydo is a platform that was created "for designers, by designers." It allows those designers to work with a visual tool to create the visual appearance of a website.

Are Developers Unnecessary Now?

Even the most basic websites require someone with an understanding in HTML and CSS to be involved in the project to build the web pages. If the site required more advanced functionality like e-Commerce capabilities, then the reliance on a web developer is even more critical to the successful completion of a website project.

Improved communication – many clients begin a project by speaking with a designer, but once the site is ready for development, that designer’s role is minimized, which means the client needs to begin communicating with a whole new person as a web developer takes over. When the designer takes more control of a project, this allow the client to have improved communication because they have a consistent source to connect with.

More Designer Control is a Good Thing For Everyone

By rethinking this process, and allowing each side to do what they do best, we can create a better, more productive environment for all web professionals. After all, we are all in this together, so anything that allows us to do our best work is something we should all enthusiastically embrace!

By empowering designers to handle the creation of some websites on their own, this frees up developers to do work that is more in-line with their capabilities instead of needing to complete the basic, routine process of writing simple HTML.

As powerful as a solution like Webydo is, there will always be certain websites with needs that are so complex and unique that the functionality must be custom coded for that project. These are the types of projects that will still need developers, and this is actually a good thing for both designers and developers!

Reduced timeline – a hand coded website is a time-consuming process. By turning to software that can write clean, standards-based code, this timeframe can be significantly reduced to create sites faster and more efficiently.

This rethinking of the website creation process keeps the project, and the control, in the hands of the designer, and it effectively eliminates the need to involve a developer in the process.

We Are All In This Together

This is a perfect fit for basic, informational websites, even though sites with more complex needs can also be handled with this process. Webydo’s web design platform includes a number of advanced features, including a pixel-perfect responsive editor, parallax scrolling animator, and even e-Commerce functionality, which can all be added by a designer without the help of a developer.

However, unlike other visual design programs (e.g. Photoshop, InDesign) that simply allow the designer to create a picture of a website which will later need to be coded by a developer, Webydo handles all the code-creating needs of that project.

So an obvious question to ponder is that if designers can now turn to a software solution that allows them to both design and develop a website, are actual developers unnecessary now? The answer is a resounding NO – developers still have a role to play in the web design industry, it is just a different role than they have had in the past.


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