Designers have been a fundamental part of the World Wide Web for as long as we can remember. Even when the websites were nothing more than few lines of codes and flashy banners.
New technologies & improvements brought newer methods, possibilities and complexities. Each generation of web designers faces different kinds of challenges usually unique to them. Although, there are some problems that transcend time and space.
Almost all web designers today face similar types of problems no matter where they are. These problems include aspects related to client management, tech advancements and limitation caused by the value of the designer. Let’s take a better look at the challenges.
5 challenges that every web designer face today
1. Design constraints
Web designing is a highly creative process. A designer uses all their artistic and innovative faculties to produce compelling designs. This is a crucial aspect of any website because it is this part that users see and interact with.
Even though the word ‘constraint’ might seems like a bad word, it is in fact very necessary when it comes to web designing. Constraints are given by the client. They are the set of rules or vision assigned by the client. As a designer, you are first and foremost committed to incorporate the client’s expectation and imagination in the design.
The benefit of constraints is that it gives designers a parameter to work on. The challenge arises when there is a clash between the client’s vision and yours. What might seem appropriate to you might not be so for the client; and vice-versa.
In cases where the ideal or perception of the designer doesn’t match with the client’s vision, the constraints can become chains. The phenomenon puts an immense toll on the designer’s mental faculty. The constraints prevent the web designer from producing their best designs.
This clash of style can leave a bitter taste in the mouth for designers as they succumb to the client’s constraints.
In fairness, there are many clients who, if explained, decide to change their view and accept the better design when it actually is. But, most clients aren’t like that. Which brings us to our next point.
2. Indecisive client
A lot of times you’ll have clients who are as stubborn as they come. That is mostly due to their inability decide what they want. At the end of the day, it is for the client that you create your designs. So you want to ensure that they are satisfied.
Well, if you get a client who has no clear view of their expectation, can’t explain their requirement properly and has a wandering mind, then you are out of luck. One of the biggest misconceptions in web designing is that the client is always right.
It’s true that client has the better knowledge about their target customer base, but in many cases that knowledge is outdated. As trends and appeals change rapidly, many clients are out of touch. However, that doesn’t stop them from making unnecessary changes to their requirements.
According to a study, 56.6% of web designers cite scope creep as the biggest issue when it comes to collaborating with clients. Coming in closely behind at 52.3% is unclear client communication.
So not only clients around making frequent changes, but also can’t communicate that to the designers properly. To many, this is the biggest challenge every web designer face today.
The demand for web designers has been rising for a while now, so has the supply. Lots of people are becoming graphic and web designers. As a consequence, the market is flooded with increasing competition and over-saturation.
It seems now that designers are everywhere you look. This is a great travesty to the title of ‘designer’. Many people with no formal or informal education in designing label themselves as ‘designers’ and offer their bootleg services as freelancers.
Amateurs and hobbyist with little more than basic understanding are driving down the value of designers. Even though they don’t produce anywhere near the same quality of work as true professionals, nonetheless, they create an uphill battle for designers everywhere.
‘Why invest in quality design work when you can do the same thing in one-fifth of the cost using amateurs.’
This creates even more challenges for young qualified people who are looking to enter the field. They not only have to compete with experienced professionals but also with the cheap, knock-off versions of so-called ‘designers’.
The over-saturation has a further impact on how designers are hired or fired. Even if you are highly competent, the overflow of designers places employers at a strategic advantage. There is an abundance of people in the market waiting to replace you.
4. Choosing the right tools
According to the Paradox of Choice hypothesis, ‘The more options there are, the more difficult it is to choose between them’. And thanks to the advancements in web and computer technologies, you have a lot of options.
First of all, web designing is not just a single skill. Designing captivating and functional interfaces isn’t easy. A designer needs to have skills in making style sheets, PHP, database as well as Photoshop. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
A designer has many options available today that complements and enhances their ability to produce amazing designs. There is prototyping tools, wireframing tools, UI designing tools, animation tools and so on. There are also numerous languages to choose from.
As the saying goes, having the right tool at the right time can help you win the battle.
Each tool offers different advantages and drawbacks. There are several tools that can be used to complete a task. It is up to the designers to decide which tool is appropriate for the job at hand.
This is both a blessing and a curse. But most of all, it presents a challenge that every web designer must face.
Society moves at a rapid pace now. People expect every task to be complete in mere moments. The same expectation is extended for web designing tasks even though it’s neither quick nor easy. This is also a common misconception.
Most clients won’t have previous knowledge about web designing tasks. People with limited knowledge and experience assumes that there is little effort needed to create a fully functional website. They are unaware of the complexities that go into a great web design.
As a result, the client assigns a very narrow window within which the designer must finish the allocated task.
Furthermore, echoing the second point made in this article, the client will be unsure and indecisive more often than not. Even if you create a design according to the client’s requirement to the dot, there is always some aspect that the client isn’t satisfied with and wants you to change.
This is a vicious never-ending cycle of revisions.
And as more and more projects come in, the designers are overworked and totally spent. This creates a mountain of a challenge for web designers in constantly delivery decent designs.
Both the physical and mental toll from being overworked can burn you out.
Creating amazing and spectacular designs is the goal of every web designer out there. They must overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve that goal.
It is for the client to realize how much effort a designer puts into each design. And it is for a designer to realize to pace yourself so not to burn out.
The 5 challenges mentioned here are not the only challenges that every web designer face today, but certainly the biggest.