When I first started "designing" Websites back in 1994 no one could have convinced me that the future of the Web would look like it does today. We went from a gray background with black text on it to awful backgrounds, to frames, to gif animations (the whack the mole banners come to mind), to Flash animated sites that were beautiful to look at but hard to navigate, to the awful portals (who the heck thought of that as being a good ides?), to dynamic sites, to Content Management Systems, and now, the era of Google. I am calling it that because all the processes that I went through and all the coding I learned in the last 22 years was obsolete last year. Everything changed in a matter of months. With Google announcing that they would penalize sites that were not Mobile friendly, everyone worldwide had to comply. And comply we did.
Around April of 2015 I started learning everything about HTML5. Bootstrap, Joomla 3, templating with Joomla 3 and finally PHP basics. This was what I needed to learn in order to comply with the Google Gods. Now, I have been doing this long enough now that I have taken change head on and learned everything I needed to learn to make it to the next level of the game. But, the game has gotten much harder now. I am trying to design good, clean, custom sites for my clients. And every day that passes it gets harder to achieve this. And like any industry, it gets more and more complex, adn as it does this, it is also becoming homogenized: everything looks the same. And it has to. There are just so many templates out there. Most of the people creating sites are buying commercial or free templates. They don't change any of the design and just add content. The result: boring. And then there are mobile phones. What do you do with something that small except make sure that everything wraps?
I don't mind learning all these things but all I wanted to do was to design nice sites that worked for my clients. I have been able to do this now for many years, but, I wonder how much longer I will be able to play the game. It is looking like the most successful design sites are made up of very savvy young programmers, Web marketing and designers that are on the ball with all the changes. These are people that live and breathe what they do. Most likely live in tiny apartments and have no kids. And I love to see what they do and just wish I even knew one of them to help me in those moments of desperation at 3 a.m. when I am stuck and have nowhere to go. They have friends that are in the business, they have resources that I don't have. I have forums. I don't know what I would do without them.
So, at the end of the day, the Web is going the way of vinyl records. The cover was as important as the music inside. We would even hang them as art on our walls. Then 8tracks came out, then cassettes, then CDs, then iTunes and finally Pandora and Spotify. You have absolutely no idea what the cover looks like or care either. It is loaded with your song only if you choose to see it. All that art just gone by the wayside.
I am curious where Web design is heading. I can't imaging going back to good design though. What people are considering good design is just not what it was even 5 years ago. It is just a site that is complying with the Web's nazis.