Generate London 2016 Part 1: The future of web design

Three designers from recently attended the Generate London 2016 conference. This is the first in a three-part series of blog posts focusing on the conference. Is web design a secure career? Should designers code? These questions often cross my mind and make me question my career and skill set as a designer. They were also among the topics brought up and discussed recently at the Generate London 2016 conference. The Future of Web Design was a talk presented by Vlad Magdalin. He addressed the issue of designers learning to code and the communication gap between designers and developers. Vlad also touched on code dominating the past 25 years of the internet and his belief that design will do so in the future. Vlad is the co-founder of Webflow, a professional drag-and-drop design tool built for designing websites. He said the idea for the design tool came about because many people who can code often use code libraries, while only a minority have the ability to develop at a professional level – he used this graph to demonstrate his point.

A service like Webflow allows people with no coding experience to design and publish well-designed websites. I haven't personally used Webflow, yet I was instantly intrigued. This tool allows web designers to focus on the design rather than multitasking with design and code. It should also be noted that Wordpress has plugins that do similar things to this already. The difference is that Webflow offers a better experience and makes designing websites feel as though you are using design software such as Illustrator or InDesign. I do agree that web designers shouldn’t have to understand code to be employable. On the other hand I see Webflow as a design tool that could allow anyone with a creative eye to act as a designer. This potentially dilutes the design skill pool, making it harder for designers to find jobs and recruiters to find highly skilled designers. While the design tool is far from perfect, it is encouraging that someone, in this case Vlad Magdalin, chose to build a platform to improve the way designers and developers can work together.