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The future of web design

where will we be in five years



1:30 am on Nov 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I turned a web design hobby into a job, and later a business. I'm in my 20's, unmarried with no kids so I do okay with what I make, but I'm wondering if this is the business for me to stay in for the next 5 years.

More people are learning web design and offering cheap sites to people; phone companies are edging in with package deals for businesses, and some companies offer prefabricated industry sites (law, medical) for a monthly fee. I cater to one particular industry that will always want custom sites, though.

Speaking as a web developer and not as a programmer (no scripting or database knowledge, I outsource that), are we going to be slowly edged out over the next few years? Do those of you here plan on still being in this business in five years, and do you think the money will still be as good?


11:39 am on Nov 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If i am still alive i will be, but like you i cater to a a very small group of users.
I've been doing it more or less since 96 but i dont depend on it for a living.
If i had to say i'd say your safe for 5 years or so but in that 5 years i would be learning other stuff about the new web...


5:27 pm on Nov 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I am now nearing 60 and I came to web development ten years ago from offline retail -- so the future direction of what I do has been very important to me. Some day I would like to retire, you know? A few years back we had this discussion: Is SEO evolving into full Project Management? [webmasterworld.com].

The topic has proven itself to be very important for my own livelihood, because I could see then (and even more clearly now) that there was a low ceiling on where I could go with pure "web design" -- but that a natural expansion into project management for the web would be something of potentially great value for organizations, and that value would have much less chance of being either automated or made into a mere commodity.

I think of the early days of the automobile. No, I'm not THAT old, but I have read about the glamor that surrounded the first auto mechanics. Today, maybe a racing car mechanic has some glamor and can command big bucks and big respect -- but being an ordinary greasemonkey is not a highly desirable career. Similarly, being a data monkey or a pixel pusher today has probably just as limited a future.

And so I've continued to push the boundaries of what I know, trying every day to move a bit beyond my comfort level. I'm always learning a bit more about programming, a bit more about marketing, a bit more about formal project management, a bit more about design and usability -- and so on. And with the added value I now can offer clients, I have no more concern about becoming marginalized.

In fact, it is now clear to me that financial success comes most often to people who can generate significant financial success for others.


11:20 pm on Nov 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i have been thinking the same as you do:) about the future.
i just have an e commerce web site and designed it with the help of others and etc.. now i am more interested and learned html,dreamweaver and so, but nowadays many can make a simple web site and there are more easy to know programs for it.If you talk about the future as a pure web site designer with no SEO and some scripting knowledge then then in my opinion yes in 5 years you could be in the endangered species list.Pure web site design is getting easier by the day, but for whatever gets old there also come new ways to the marketnow i am also getting myself into Flash,SEO and i want to learn PHP scripting because knowledge is power:) the more you know the better you will be at what you do.Example: you get a client who wants you to make them a web site with some specific features that ewquires more then basic html,like some CGI-bin and you cant do that so you will lose $$$ from a client just because your resources for the job were limited .


11:49 pm on Nov 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jdmorgan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

That's a good plan... The Web is chock-full of pretty sites that have bad navigation, marginal usability, poor calls-to-action, lack standards compliance and cross-browser support, and don't rank in search.

The one good thing about the ISPs, domain sellers, and phone companies pushing their site-in-a-box approach is that it raises small business' awareness of needing an on-line presence, and provides opportunities to those who can fix those shortcomings.



1:14 am on Nov 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I work with small, low traffic sites and am finding more and more small business, site owners, streching my abilities by asking for things I have to learn about.
I am allowed to build the site as I see fit (obviously taking into account company image, etc.) so I guess my clients are turning me into a 'small project' manager, which I, for one, am very pleased about.

I got into the SEO thing and then found this place about 2 years later. It seemed there were many others here expanding their knowledge in to other fields, some of them speaking the same language as me ;)

I do agree that a wider knowledge base is the way to go, at least for the next 5 years.....

I'm wondering about retirement too, though not for maybe 10 years, although 5 would be much better:)


3:35 am on Dec 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>"In fact, it is now clear to me that financial success comes most often to people who can generate significant financial success for others. "

Words of true business wisdom. Every other factor in web design is secondary, IMO.


3:43 am on Dec 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I see straight web design following the same path as Desk top publishing.

Remember back in the 1980's when people were buying machines and setting themselves up making posters, brochures etc for money. Now its click and type, and the general populace has increased in skills to the level where the average Joe can either do it himself or get his secretary to make it.

A good example happened today where a new bicycle shop opened, I sounded them out over a website and these guys, all bike mechanics, were making their own, and it looked pretty good too.

Its the smae with web design, Frontpage, Dreamweaver etc will take that technical knowledge out of the hands of specialists and into the more general population,

Staying ahead of the crowd involves being interested in the areas that are still esoteric, such as SEO, CSS, database programming, PHP, new technologies such as AJAX etc.

If you rest on your skills now, you will pay for it in 5 years time, if you keep stretching yourself you may stay ahead of the crowd.


3:46 am on Dec 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Oh, just another thought.

The future may not be in web DESIGN but in e-commerce.

If you made your own site selling a product or service, in 5 years you would have a good ranking and increasing customers.

use your skills to generate your own wealth.


10:42 pm on Dec 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The future of web design
where will we be in five years?

We currently run sites for some 60 clients and increasing annually and I`ll be retired in 5 years.
But not without placing the current good clients with someone I can trust to look after them


2:23 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

To understand where Web design is heading after five years I think it is important to understand where it was five years back. I guess applications and interfaces optimized for portable devices will emerge out then, site design will take only 5 minute and hopefully the content management might be in peak. Just my thought.


2:31 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Voice-command WYSIWYG (what you say is what you get).

Organic soft blue calm. Ruby on Rails backend.

The DreamweaverX / Go-Live cs4 Interpolation/Virtualisation engines crunch numbers, etc for 5 minutes and yer up-and-running with your enterprise web site

I watch too much Sci-fi.


6:41 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Has anyone mentioned audio/video multimedia?

I'm seeing more and more sites using video and audio and podcasting. As bandwidth improves, (and we all know many people REFUSE to read very much) we'll be building sites with more multimedia to hold attention and help those who'd rather hear or see than read.

I encourage anyone building sites to make sure you are a domain name/hosting reseller so you can build a residual income over time.

Also, look for specialty/niche directories and hosting.



8:02 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

----Voice-command WYSIWYG (what you say is what you get). ---

thats an awesome idea. i really like that one.


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