Web design has changed tremendously in the last few years and it’s still changing. More than changing, web design is evolving and evolution is bounded with complexity. Although the industry is not in danger some web designers are. Sounds contradictory right? Not really. The truth is that the web design industry is healthy and growing, new jobs are being added, more clients are emerging and consequently more agencies and companies related to the business.
According to salary.com, the median annual salary of a web designer in United States is $62,687 and studies predict a 15% business growth before 2020.
So why do web designers need to worry? As I said above, the industry is evolving and with evolution comes complexity. The more complex the industry is, the more difficult it is to keep pace and stay current and up to date. New technologies are appearing, new gadgets are coming to the market and you now use your iPad to read the newspaper. Simply put, if you don’t read, learn, and try things you will lose your pace and the complexity of the industry will smash your will to keep going.
Where are we heading?
Definitely the new boom on the web. Starting a big fight with Flash and causing damage to Adobe’s reputation, HTML5 is one of the most recent and important change of this time. It will bring many new and awaited features like audio and video tags, canvas element, Geo location API, Drag and Drop functionality, etc.
In a 2010 post, Chitika Insights website came to the conclusion that 46% of web users are now using HTML5 compatible browsers.
CSS has been essential regarding websites layout and presentation, however, its limitations have been a hot topic for many years. Now the new CSS3 brings solutions and great power to this style sheet language. Features like transitions, animations, shadows, box transformations are some of the long awaited properties that will be gradually included.
End of Flash ?
Rean John Uehara wrote an article about this subject called What is the Future of Adobe Flash? which I recommend reading. Personally I really don’t believe in the certain death of Flash and I actually believe that Flash will be there in the future, just with a different usage. HTML5 is capable of great things, WebGL might be there as well to put the Flash platform in danger but Adobe is working to solve some of it’s issues and we will be waiting for it.
Complexity is good, after all
We now have tablets to read the news, smart refrigerators that can pull recipes from the internet based on the ingredients you have, your desk has 30 books inside a Kindle and I can check Facebook from my TV. Society depends more than ever on technology and with such dependence the market will require more and more good designers, giving you the opportunity to prove yourself and win a spot in the industry.
Personal point of view
Complexity has a good and a bad side. As seen above, the bad side is that complexity requires a more demanding effort from designers and developers to stay up to date. The good side is that with new technologies emerging we will have a bigger market, more business and consequently more clients. But not just that, in the future we’ll see less and less bad design, bad code and bad projects. The business will suffer a re-professionalization and we will be taken more seriously. The “You are a webdesigner? Even my 4-year old daughter can make a website” typical mentality will gradually vanish and clients (most of them) will start listening and paying more respect to our work.
What to do about it
Thinking about investing your time working on the web? Then go for it! This is exactly the right time to start and if you have already started, this is the time to improve, to get better and to learn. I’ve written an article giving you some general and efficient resolutions on how to get better and improve your daily work called 9 Tips on How To Improve Yourself as a Web Designer, but besides that I’ve made a quick but important list below with resources about the new trends/technologies/creativity which I think you should pay attention too.
http://learningwebgl.com/blog/ – Great blog covering everything about WebGL. It also has lessons, FAQ’s and the WebGL Cookbook link.
ROME “3 Dreams of Black” – You will be stunned with such beauty. “3 Dreams of Black” is an interactive filme by Chris Milk and Google.
http://html5tutorial.net/ – Great blog with plenty of tutorials to learn from.
http://www.html5rocks.com/en/tutorials/ – Great site with plenty of resources to learn from.
http://tableless.com.br/html5/ (pt-br) – Great HTML5 reference guide (in Portuguese).
http://www.css3.com/ – Great question-answer type site. Take a look!
http://www.css3.info/category/tutorials/ – Everything you need to know about css3… that’s actually true.
http://dribbble.com/ – Need creativity? The most crazy but awsome web design details are here.
http://designerscouch.org/ – I really like this website. Great work in there.
http://www.behance.net/ – No need for introductions.
Note: Check an article from each one of this sites in a daily basis. Try to learn something everyday. Prepare your future.
Guys like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Wozniak will still appear from time to time and the internet will keep changing. But as a web designer, UI designer or any other kind of designer your future is secure if you are willing to make efforts to get better, improve your skills and keep pace with this constantly shifting industry.
My advice to you is to keep fighting for what you believe and what you love, because no matter how good or bad the future is, you will have a spot in it.