Web designers are lucky to live in an age that provides access to some incredible tools. They make it easier to create user interfaces, edit images, and even write code. New technology is involved in almost every part of our work.
And now the buzz surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) has a heightened level of expectation. Not only should AI make processes easier, but it should make them simple for us.
After all, why bother writing a WordPress plugin from scratch when there’s a bot that can build one with just a few commands?
On the surface, it seems like a huge change is taking place. Web design (or selected parts of it) is becoming increasingly automated. That is a positive thing in that it will take a little weight off our shoulders.
But tools alone can only do so much. Building a great website requires a lot more than a slick UI or an advanced algorithm. Here’s why that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
Websites require thought and planning
Have you ever heard the story about the person who bought a ready-made website and immediately became successful? There were only a few tweaks to the layout and the addition of a logo. Within a few weeks, they were millionaires!
As far as we know, that didn’t actually happen. The point is that success is rarely something you come into. It requires careful thought and planning. This applies to websites just as it does in other areas of life.
A great tool can help us execute a plan. But ultimately it is up to the person to prove the right plan. One that provides a vision of what the website should be.
Consider the ingredients of a great website:
- looks attractive;
- Ease of use and accessibility;
- Offers relevant and compelling content;
- Optimized for performance and search engines;
- It works across all devices;
None of the above can appear out of thin air. And even the most advanced technology cannot implement these items independently.
Rather, project stakeholders have to work together to achieve defined goals. From there, tools can be used to help achieve these goals.
Technical Knowledge is still a requirement
An app that does the hard work for us is great – until there’s a problem. For example, consider a page builder tool that produces a faulty mobile layout. Or a buggy code generator that outputs a PHP syntax error.
These issues can and do happen. So where does that leave us? Technical knowledge is critical to effective troubleshooting. Without it, we’re left scratching our heads and hoping that a support ticket will provide a solution.
Knowing how a website works on the front end and the back end is very powerful. And it goes way beyond squash bugs.
Firstly, it helps us identify the tools to use. We can look at the needs of a website project and determine the best way forward. This helps ensure that a website will work as intended and better adapt to future needs.
And speaking of the future – the web changes quickly. Technologies evolve and age. It is vital that you are able to stay on top of these changes.
In addition, we need to understand the process and the potential risks involved in making changes. So, at the very least, a basic understanding of these subjects is essential to your short-term and long-term success.
There is no Magical Solution to Building a great Website
It seems that advanced development and design tools are being released daily. Just when we have someone at ease, something else comes to steal the spotlight.
Technologies like AI-powered art generation and conversation are becoming mainstream. As we test them, it is only natural to predict what they will be capable of. For some of us, this can lead to feelings of fear. Others may see it as a productivity aid.
Either way, it’s worth keeping things in perspective. These advances do not mean that we will be able to sit back and put the entire web design process on autopilot. There is still a lot of work to be done.
And there are plenty of learning opportunities too. We can experiment with these tools and see how they might fit into our workflow. Some of them may benefit us in ways we cannot yet imagine.
But for now, there is no change in the ingredients of the great website. Therefore, the expertise of a web designer is as valuable as ever.