Mashable, or “BuzzFeed 2.0” is quickly becoming clickbait central online. It is a thin veil pulled over what is masqueraded as journalism.
Okay, that wasn’t very nice and is quite out of place coming from a lowly blogger like me. One of their “articles” struck a nerve. And then it occurred to me that it was written to shock people. What was true didn’t matter, as long as, people shared the article, Mashable, and their accountants were happy. The article I’m referring to is “Web Design is Dead” presented on Mashable’s home page like this:
All very ominous now isn’t it?
Now, I could take the high road and write a long article as to why my opinion is better than theirs and blah blah blah but that won’t matter to you anyway. So I’ll just highlight some of their own reasons and let you decide for yourself, with my comments of course.
“Web design is (finally!) dying of irrelevance. Web pages themselves are no longer the center of the Internet experience, which is why designers need to move on to the next challenges — products and ecosystems — if they want to stay relevant.”
That’s funny, my web experience involves tons of tabs open across two different browsers, occasionally even reading Mashable. I pick websites over apps a lot depending on where I am, what I’m doing and what devices I have with me. What if Facebook just shut down their website? Sure, I use the App on my phone but I use the website more. What if there was no Google website? I don’t have an App that replaces Google Search.
“Why hire a web designer if you can achieve a fairly acceptable design for a fraction of the cost using a template?”
Do you want a fairly acceptable design? Who makes the templates?
“Trying to get creative at this point will probably be pointless or even harmful.”
Cool, so we are done innovating? I can just go back to bed and not be creative today? We don’t need to improve on ANYTHING?
“There’s a new trend of automated web design services, arguably started by The Grid. It’s a service to build basic websites which makes design decisions — semantic ones — based on artificial intelligence.”
This is actually a good point. I like automating things. I think it is how we evolve. But who makes the “micro templates” these automated web designers use? Also just a little note here; Artificial Intelligence isn’t real yet. Mashable 1 – 0 Journalism.
“Today, this function has been completely overridden by Facebook pages. They are free, made to be viral out of the box, offer powerful tools only available to big businesses a decade ago (like subscription for updates or media posting), and are as easy to set up as your own profile page. They are so efficient in making a business visible that they are rendering basic web pages useless.”
Ah yes, the good old Facebook page. Why look different and have a striking, well designed web page separate you from your competitors when you can have a basic Facebook page? Come on, it is free! (Unless you actually want people to see your page, then you have to pay Facebook to promote it for you.)
“Our underpowered mobile devices”
I think the author has an Android phone…
“As vital as responsive web design is (not adopting it is commiting digital suicide), it only guarantees that your user can view your page in a mobile device, if she ever finds it in first place. And the limited space in her mind is already mostly occupied by apps.”
So if I don’t use responsive design my page is dead but you’re telling me to not design at all? Also the female pronouns intrigue me. Would a female battle to find my site on Google? Why would she not have enough space in her mind to include my website AND all her apps?
“The truth is, we need fewer web pages, not more of them. There are already too many competing for our attention and assuming selfishly that we have all the time in the world to close pop-up ads, explore navigational hierarchies, and be dazzled by transitions, intros, and effects.”
Silly selfish websites taking up all my time. No more I tell you! We need a law to stop new websites! I believe that new things are created (and survive) when there is a need for them. You can do the exact same thing as someone else but you stand a chance in being successful if you do it better than them. You can’t just cut off all things new to preserve old things. Everything is evolving and changing and that includes old sites shutting down and new sites starting up.
“Things are moving in the direction of digital assistants like Siri, and especially Google Now with the new changes announced for Android M: they aim to provide you the exact bit of information you need, when you need it.”
I only go on the web to get the exact bit of information I need. What about Reddit or 9gag? Is Google now going to fetch that random content and show it on my phone? Just in case I want to see it? I’ll use the website thanks.
“This is not to say that web pages will die — they will be around for a long time, because they are — and will continue to be — useful for certain purposes.”
Uh, what does dead mean? I believe as long as they are useful “for certain purposes” they will still exist and will still need to be designed.
“But there’s nothing interesting there for designers anymore. They are a commodity and a medium, no longer the default state for digital products and businesses.”
I believe they are the default state. Sure, apps work better on mobile devices but how do I access Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Mashable, and any other website on my laptop? I think I use their website.
“Web pages are static content that need to be found and visited (pull-based). But in the emerging push-based paradigm, the content finds you. Through data obtained from your context, your activity, and even your biometrics, content and tools will smartly present themselves to you when you are most likely to need them.”
The reason push based will never replace pull based is because I can’t just assume my phone will know I feel like pizza tonight and present a list of pizza places. I am not a robot that sticks to a certain schedule every second of the day. Sure traffic suggestions are good for going to work because I do it about the same time every work day of the week and it can pick up on that trend. I don’t get pizza every Tuesday night and I go to different breakfast spots depending on what I feel like, budget etc.
Also, “static content” is not really the case with a lot of websites these days. That is a naive assumption at best. Every site that allows a user to sign in is no longer static content. Now how many sites do you think are purely static content? Featured posts? That also isn’t static.
“Here’s the good news: designers are really far from being obsolete. Quite to the contrary, you can see that the demand for UX designers is still on the rise, and everyone seems to be redesigning their digital products these days.”
Well I agree that we need UX designers. I just think this is a little different from saying “web design is dead.”
Agree or disagree, let me know in the comments. Let it out keyboard warriors.