I have been involved in site design since 2003. All kinds – personal, businesses, brands, professionals, NPO’s and eCommerce. We have designed and programmed on Shopify, WIX, WordPress, WooCommerce, Itsy, Big Commerce, Volusion, Weebly, and proprietary platforms.
The most relevant issues we face as a design firm and as customers is the cost of coding, design change orders and staying up to date with technology.
The first rule of thumb is that designers cannot code, and coders are terrible designers, with some exception. This means that a great design can not always be translated into programming specs. There is some give and take, and the winner is usually the firm that bills you for coding because of the complexities in achieving the design.
Rule two is that you are constantly investing in coding to stay current with new technology. Rule three is if you do not update your site code then Google begins to penalize you, load times slow down, and your organic page rankings suffer.
The good news is as the technology has evolved, design and coding functions have begun to merge, and coding is no longer a major cost. So, what would have cost you $15,000, 5 years ago can be done for $5,000. But social media marketing, lead gen, PPC and SEO management fees are going up and the new technology has become daunting for most people.
A lot has changed.
I would say that WIX was the impetus of change when they created the standard for drag and drop web design without the need for coding. That is done behind the scenes by WIX technology. We are now seeing a similar move towards drag and drop with WordPress theme developers. The upside of an online hosting and design platform is that as the technology changes you can get the latest and greatest updates with minimal changes and costs.
So where are we trending?
We are seeing a shift in skills towards drag and drop design, social media marketing, lead generation, PPC advertising, SEO, content creation and email marketing services via online technology, automation, and the a growing infrastructure needed to make this happen.
Many social media companies are moving towards offering a 360° menu of services for their clients, and there is an increase in specialization for SEO, lead generation and PPC.
Coding is not so much an issue, but the proper use of technology is becoming more complex and expanded within each specialty. And there is a price to pay if you want your online brand or business to be found.