05 Aug 2022
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Will web designers become obsolete?
If You like me have had the thought that someday web designers might become obsolete and possibly be taken over by artificial intelligence or some kind of internet service, then you have landed at the right article. Your thoughts are not unheard of and I think all web designers thought about this at some point during their careers.
I see many jobs today that are slowly becoming obsolete because it is being replaced with robots. These jobs are most often in the production industry where workers would do repeated tasks that easily could be handled by a programmed robot, but it easily leaves you thinking about what the next step is.
During your reading, we will talk about why it isn't likely that our jobs will become obsolete soon, that some doors close but others open, what you can do to improve your chances, and some great examples of niches you can dive into. So hang tight and let's get to it!
Will web design as a profession become obsolete?
It's hard for me to imagine that jobs like web design will become obsolete at any time in the future. If you think about it, web design requires someone to sit down and think of new and good-looking designs and it requires a high level of creative thinking.
Robots are capable of many things, but we still haven't created one that is so smart that it can act as fast and freely as a human being. Humans are amazing in many ways, the number of thoughts and actions it takes to do even the most simple tasks is enormous. It will most likely take a long time before any artificial intelligence is capable of performing these as we do them.
Humans create designs not machines
One important topic to talk about is that humans create designs, not machines. Every website on the internet today has been designed and built by a human at some point in time, and it will probably continue to be like that in the future.
I am not saying that web designs can't be made by using an AI, but I believe that a human being is far more capable of being creative and new-thinking when it comes to designing. Machines are following orders and even though they learn every time they perform a task they are still locked in by logical thinking.
This means that if designs were entirely created by machines we wouldn't see any innovative and artistic designs because they were all created with the same patterns (A bit like I see in modern pop music. You can play most pop songs with the same 4 chords).
Smaller jobs might be taken by solutions like Wix and Squarespace
Over the past years, we have seen a boom in services that allows you to quickly build a website by simply choosing a design and filling in the content you want.
Wix has been around since 2006, and it has made creating a website easy and convenient for those who needed a product quickly and cheaply. When you create a website you are presented with a list of modern designs you can choose between and once that is done you are off to create your product without a single line of code.
Services like Wix and Squarespace took away many of the smaller web design jobs in the industry, and maybe that's for the better. If you have tried being a freelancer then you know hackling with a client about a $300 5-pages website is uphill and in the end, you will do far more work than you are being paid for. But money is money, but is it really worth it?
By removing these jobs from the market we have opened ourselves up to bigger jobs that require more specialty and knowledge.
In the next section, I will talk about niches and how they can help you to become a successful web designer in the future.
Choose a niche and become an expert
The world is saturated with proclaimed web designers that will work for almost no money. The competition is so fierce that you are almost better off without even trying, or are you?
What if I told you that you could become far more successful by choosing a niche to work in and certain niches allow you to get paid a lot more than your fellow web designers?
A nice could for example be that you are specialized in making solutions for schools. A school system would be full of custom functions that allow them to keep records of their students, grades, access levels, and maybe even student portals with access to homework and such. There are many possibilities, and by specializing within a certain field you increase your chances of winning clients.
At the bottom of the article, I will list some great examples of niches you could work in.
Is landing gigs hard?
In the moment of true honesty; Yes, landing gigs as a web designer is harder than ever. There are so many web designers out there that are ready to work for almost no money. And as the industry becomes more popular it will only become harder.
I remember when I tried out as a freelancer a long time ago. I thought that landing clients would be relatively easy, cause if they didn't know how to code then I could help them. Unfortunately, that's not how that went down. I quickly discovered that the internet is full of almost free services and that clients don't know the number of hours that goes into creating a great online product. Many times I would see the same reactions on their faces when I told them my price, almost like they had seen a ghost.
But when that is said, once you get over the hump and start to create a reputation for yourself you will see a whole other picture of the industry. Instead of having to search for clients, they will come to you automatically, and instead of saying yes to every job you are offered, you can say no to most and just stick with the best-paid ones. Everything takes time, and as the old saying goes; Rome was not built in a single day. It takes years to build a successful business, but once you are there the view is great.
Should you lower your cost?
This question often comes up, and I honestly gotta say I am split about my answer. On one side you could lower your cost to land more clients, but is it worth it to put in the extra work? On the other side, you could stick to your price level and just take the clients that agree, but would you earn enough to make a living out of it?
I cannot say exactly what you should do, but what many freelancers do is lower the price to build a portfolio that will allow them to raise the price later. This approach is great cause it will raise your chances of landing clients that will leave good reviews. Good reviews help to persuade potential clients that don't know you.
Another side of this question is also that I often think web designers undervalue their work. We work in a business that requires lots of creativity and languages that other people don't know. You can ask how much a car costs, but the answer is different depending on who you ask. One might say that a car cost $2.000 and another might say $35.000. It comes down to the brand, the quality, the popularity, and what the company values itself. If you undervalue your work it is only worth the low price, but if you deliver a great product and value it accordingly its value is higher.
Examples of niches you can work in
The time has come to give you a few ideas for web design niches you can work in. I don't know whether these niches already are saturated, but I hope they will give you a bit of creativity to come up with your own.
1# Sustainable web design
As much as it pains me to call this a niche, it is as of this moment a niche. I believe sustainability should be a natural part of the design and development process and that is why I created this blog in the first place.
As of now sustainable web design is still a relatively new thing, and more companies are starting to get interested in building products with less carbon footprint. But until it is considered a common practice I think we can call it a niche where you can specialize. If you don't agree you are more than welcome to tell me why in the comment section.
2# School systems
As mentioned earlier in this article, many schools require lots of special functions that can't be built using services like Wix and Squarespace. This gives you a great opportunity to specialize and build systems that cater to their needs.
Examples of systems needed for schools and students could be systems that keep track of homework, curriculum, or maybe intranet. In this niche, it is only your imagination that sets the boundaries, cause you can build popup-test systems, video courses, assignment submission systems, plagiarism checkers, and much much more.
3# Online banking
This one might not be easy to get started with, but the world is fed up with the traditional banking systems and their way of requiring payment for everything you do.
Because of this many people think about trying new online solutions that handle banking in a whole different way.
When COVID-19 hit we all had to learn to do things different from what we were used to, and that also meant going to church through our phones, tablet, or computer screen.
This has opened up new ways of including religion in the modern technological age, and if you specialize in this field you might be able to land a few clients.
5# Interactive web shopping
This one I believe could become a big hit soon. Interactive web shopping could for example be an in-store VR experience where you walk around between the products just like you would in a real store. Once you find a product you like you simply buy it through the VR app and afterward it will be sent to you.
An interactive experience could also be in combination with the already existing AR system that allows you to see the product by using your camera to place the object in the room.
There are over 100 great niches out there, and here is an article listing about 150 great examples.
So, I don't believe that web designers will become obsolete. The evidence seems to take us in a different direction where niches might be the way to go.
Niches allow us to specialize in specific fields and work with specific customers and niches allow us to get paid more because of that specialization.
If you have experience working in a niche, please share your story below in our comment section. Feel free to share tips that can help others get into the business or succeed at what they are already doing.
Lastly, if you are interested in becoming a self-taught web developer I will strongly suggest reading our article: Can you become a successful self-taught web designer? In the article, I talk about fighting against highly educated people and what I did to become a successful self-taught web developer.
You can also check out the article Will web development & web design be replaced by AI, as it relates to this topic and might be of interest to you.
Thank you once again for reading this article, and please share it with your network.
I am a self-taught and highly passionate web developer currently living in Sweden, where I use my skills to make the internet a better place through ethical and sustainable web design.