Is Design Dead? No. Here’s Why.

Is Design Dead?

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about web designers. The talk isn’t related to our black turtlenecks, our impressive Movember facial hair display in May or our black rimmed glasses.

“Web design is dead!” proclaimed Mashable back in July. The wave of articles that followed was with filled with both agreement and objection. Like most topics, the discussion isn’t as black and white as it’s made out to be. The traditional definition that says web designers focus solely the appearance of a website is out of date. “Web designer” barely scratches the surface of what the designers at Noble handle on a day-to-day basis. And contrary to the trend, not all of us can sport a classy Balbo.

 

The Evolution of a Web Designer

The tasks I handle during a project at Noble Studios have changed notably over the past few years. If I go back further and compare my duties to my start in the industry in 2006, I am amazed by the difference I see.

Web design is not dead, but it has certainly evolved into a new, complicated and constantly expanding creature. We aren’t simply creating a website. We are sitting down with our clients, learning about their business and, more importantly, their customers.

Some questions we ask before even sketching out a wireframe:

  • Who are the customers?
  • Where do they hang out on the Internet and what are their behaviors? How are they accessing the Internet?
  • Do they discover content through Google, or are they more likely to discover your client through curated content?

 

Enphase

 

Enphase is an example of a project that spanned Noble Studios’ Think, Make Measure approach. Stakeholder interviews and competitor analysis were executed at the beginning of the project, which in turn provided guidance through sketches, wireframes, and final design/development.

This constant evolution is a major factor in why Noble adopted a Think, Make, Measure approach. Strategy and planning help us to form a road map not only for a project, but also for the lifespan of a relationship with a client. Clicks and a pretty website aren’t enough … we need to do more to engage with potential customers, nurture brand loyalty and test whether a particular method is working.

Small things to keep in mind include:

  • Continually challenge your process… don’t believe there is a best practice just because you’ve always done things a certain way
  • Take advantage of mobile capabilities/interfaces to engage with customers
  • Design an online experience
    • Remember a customer’s preferences and behaviors during the interaction
    • Realize a brand may need to hang out on their customer’s turf in order to generate awareness

 

Never Stop Learning

The nature of the industry is that nothing will stay the same. What users want is constantly changing, and the technology they use is ever evolving. Any career related to the web is not a career where you can learn a set of skills and settle in for the ride. The manner in which I approach a project is very different than the approach I took two years ago. I don’t expect the rate that my career changes to slow down any time soon.

The definition of a web designer is not fixed in time, and when we sit down with a client we are not simply thinking of how your website will look. A good web designer will know your audience, how they use the Internet and what their goals are when they interact with your brand. They will understand their expectations and strive to create an experience that goes beyond a pretty face and connects all facets of a company’s online presence. This philosophy is at the core of the Noble Studios approach to creating relevant and beautiful sites for our clients.

See more of our work here.

 


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