Certification Magazine|April 2020
Web design and development is one of the most dynamic domains in the IT industry today. It has grown exponentially in recent years and spawns new trends every year. Some of the latest trends are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), responsive web design, AI chatbots, voice search optimization, Progressive Web Apps (PWA), Content Management Systems (CMS), and motion UI.
Most users consume web content and transact online on mobile devices, and these trends are a reflection of that reality. Changes in web development are driven mainly by the evolution of internet-enabled consumer devices, AI, changes in consumer needs and behavior, and commercial goals.
In recent years, there has been a proliferation in different types and forms of consumer devices. Alongside the ubiquitous smartphone, we now have smartwatches, glasses, fitness wearables, smart TVs, and other devices. Increasingly, consumers are looking for scalable and secure web apps with lots of features, with customization and enhanced usability.
Web design refers to the visual representation of a client’s ideas and requirements, and the definition of the user interface. A web designer creates a website’s layout, aiming for both aesthetic appeal and optimum user experience. Web designers also need to understand search engine optimization.
A web developer (or programmer) builds a live interactive website or application based on this layout. There are front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers. In 2020, a web designer’s role is not always entirely distinct from a developer’s role. More and more web designers are learning programming in order to handle parts of design implementation, and developers are honing their user experience design skills.
How the website sausage gets made
Websites today are rarely developed manually from start to finish. The use of design software and web building tools at various stages of the design and development process is the norm. This is partly because it’s cheaper and much quicker to use D-I-Y software to develop web applications.
Experienced developers are expensive and in short supply. Also, it takes considerably longer to build websites manually. Though humans plan and manage the design and development process, some functions are executed by tools and Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) in a fraction of the time that it would take humans to complete such tasks.
AI can handle repetitive time-consuming tasks, leaving designers and developers with more time to focus on creative work, building features, and developing innovative strategies.
Web designers use a variety of design tools to streamline their design workflow. Some popular web design tools include Photoshop, InVision Studio, Sketch (which works only on Mac), Affinity Designer, and Marvel. There are prototypes and mockups, such as UXPin, Axure, MockFlow, Protopie, and Fluid, to name a few. Design frameworks and libraries include Bootstrap, a well-established CSS framework, Startup 3, Pattern Lab, and Google’s Material Design.
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