Will web designers and developers become an extinct species?

Web design and development has come a long long way in the past 10 years. What about 10 years from now as a look into the future, or even just 5 years from now. Do you guys think that web developers and designers will be made obsolete by do-it-yourself websites such as freewebs, synthasite, weebly and the like?

And if so, how many more years do you think it will take?

I don’t think so, as there will always be a market for lazier people to pay others to do the work for them.

Also, imagine if it were the case that it was so easy that people could do it without designers or developers. Given that, there will always be some people who want to do more than the status quo, and so reach out to professionals who can do better than average.

Did the emergence of Microsoft Publisher templates spell the end for print designers? No, far from it.

Remember that the web is growing all the time. The sort of people and companies who are now using these DIY website services (that have been around for years, just think back to Geocities and the like) are not going to be the people who would ever have paid for a website. Companies and organisations that would have paid professional web designers 5 or 10 years ago will do the same today, and will do the same in 5 or 10 years time. Free templates will never be able to replace a bespoke design.

Do-it-yourself website tools have existed for over a decade. Has anything changed? No. Why should it? The audiences that are in need of custom-made solutions will in future need custom-made solutions. No tool can replace the human mind.

I agree. What I offer my clients isn’t a level of technology that they couldn’t get themselves, they could, I offer them an expertise in interpreting their needs and providing a solution. That takes skills that take years to acquire.

I think YES, web developers will go extinct.
I think NO, web designers will not go extinct.

Do it yourself website systems won’t make developers extinct, but the entire platform of ‘browser/server’ could be obsolete in 15 years as the entire medium changes. We are seeing tablets, appliances, new input systems replacing the mouse/keyboard, etc. It seems logical that HTML/css/etc., which is rather a tricky, hard to work with system, would be ultimately replaced by something more sensible.

Just like videocassettes, pagers, and floppy disk drives. As technology made those systems obsolete, the people who were experts in their use went with them.

Design is a different story. The idea that technology would replace designers seems much less likely, and maybe not possible.

Not exactly - they’ll just move on to programming whatever area next has a demand for their skills. Programmers will always be in demand since computers can’t program themselves and there are always lots of things they could do if someone wrote the right program.

Web developer as a title may disappear but the sorts of people currently doing that job were programming other things before the web came along and will still be programming long after the web ceases to need programmers.

i doubt it, people are still lazy and will continue to be. most just wont want to put the time in creating their own website. however, i’m more concerned about people who think they are web designers who take the clients. when they do sites for $150, then they are making the industry weak.


Fair enough. I think that’s sort of what I meant. There will be plenty of people in ‘software’ in the future, but there may be no such thing as the ‘web’.

To me, however, a web developer is different from a programmer. Having worked in both fields for a long time, I have seen many people go from writing html, to scripting, to writing full-blown software. But I’ve seen more people get into web development and then wind up in marketing, design, etc. Programmers are a special breed, indeed.

I guess since I was a programmer long before the web came along I tend to overlook those people who have moved into web development from the other side (as you mention). I agree with you regarding those without a proper understanding of programming beyond what they need for their web development.

There are always fields where there are big shortages of properly skilled people where people with a little understanding of the job can get work while there is that shortage (as there has been for a while now with web development) but where they’ll have to move on to something completely different once that shortage disappears.

Another issue that programmers face has to do with the fact that many of their jobs are being sent overseas, even if doing so means poor quality now, companies know the quality of these jobs will get better.

I think the need of web developers/designers will remain for a long time.
It is true that the tools are evolving, but customers will always need people to use these tools for them. I am used to the freelance marketplace out there and I am seeing some new skills in demand, like “design my website with freewebs”.

I don’t think the current standards are non-sensible - I don’t see them being replaced any time soon. Maybe you’re just not doing it right :wink:

As long as there’s a web and websites there’ll be a need for web designers and web developers.

Design won’t die. It’s an art.

Simple site development is already dead.

Custom site development is forever. I had a client who needed conference registration, workshop registration, LinkedIn API integration, etc. etc. Before my company they used Joomla with dozens of extensions/addons/plugins/modules/whatever-they-are-called.

They had no problem hiring a developer because daisy-chaining “easy solutions” together can only go so far.

I come from a development background (software) so I can understand the perspective Sagewing however the fact remains that WYSIWYG editors will not replace the need for web developers (as in those accustomed to the “languages of the web”). While an editor or generation software product may be able to churn out code, the quality of that code is nearly always substandard and in a world where accessibility and usability are of an ever increasing importance, the need for compliant code, semantically accurate code which marks up content appropriately and clean code which doesn’t have un-needed junk all helps to achieve the two vital goals of any designer. Clean, minimal, well written code reduces redundancy, excess bytes (faster loads, less bandwidth) and improves the potential usefulness of the content (in respects to search engines looking at how your content is outlined). I agree entirely that no computer can take the place of a designer (which is how I class myself) but I also think that as computers have no comprehension of context or semantic value (in regards to content), it’s not really applicable that some software product will magically fit the mould to making the website as tightly written and coded as possible (developers consider agility among the most important values - especially in software). We had a thread identical to this a while ago and the same stands true as before, if the job was that easy, everyone would have used Frontpage. :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue:

Alex, although I understand what you are saying, don’t you think that the rate at which WYSIWYG websites/editors improve is drastically increasing?

Of course it will never be better than hand coding by an advanced professional, but it might get to the point where it is better than the coding done by an intermediate programmer (think 80/20 rule). It might not be there now, but so much can happen in just 5 years time.

Honestly… no I don’t think they are getting better, while they may produce less redundant code (in respect to repetitive element usage), they still have one fatal flaw which will never be resolved. They rely entirely on the end user deciding what is the right tag for the right job, this with a lack of knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes almost always ends up in an unsemantic mess of spaghetti code which essentially works on the basis that the HTML only exists for the user to prettify with CSS (rather than the code meeting the contents semantic needs), they are after all tools, not replacements for professionals. :slight_smile:

Theoretically, ten years down the road we’ll be utilizing html5/css3.
Browser support will continue to advance so the level of complexiety will lower itself. Software is not as intelligent as humans, therefore, there will always be a demand for web developers.