The Demise Of The Web Designer And The Rise Of The Web Producer
Evolution Of Web Design
Back in 1988 when the world wide web started to evolve we had graphic designers who were the obvious choice to design websites. As they only had design backgrounds they would design how they wanted a site to look and then a programmer would element their designs into a website. You then had to get a copywriter or journalist to write out content for your site.
As this evolved a new job was invented which was the website designer or web designer. A web designer was able to not only design the website they were also able to build it without as much help from a programmer. As the field grew it became so much more important to specialize in web design as there are a lot more elements to a website from a design point of view than a print advert. Of course there is still a very important place for a graphic artist/designer especially around designing logos and overall branding. But when it comes to websites it has become so important to build sites that not only look good but are functional and easy to navigate for your customer or potential customer.
In the early days (and you still see it today) there were websites that looked fantastic from a design point of view but were complete failures when it came to ease of use.
The next step which happened was the need for fresh and relevant content. The days of just putting up a static website (similar to a print brochure but online) started to wane. You had to have fresh content on a regular basis to keep people coming to your site. So more and more journalists and writers were employed to create content. Blogging became huge and bloggers started to get paid well to write for various blogs and websites.
At this stage we also saw an increase in online marketing and link building around search engine optimization. To build links it was necessary to create offsite content eg. content on other blogs/websites. YouTube became hugely popular and now it became important to create videos for YouTube and be active on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Along with the social media boom there was another important issue raised, your online reputation. If a business did the wrong thing by a customer suddenly their was an avenue to report this to the world. So another job was created an online reputation protector.
So today this is where we find ourselves with another new job invented the web producer or online producer. A web producer often has a design background as well as a journalism background. You might think this is a strange mix but in today's online world these to skills are invaluable when put together. A web producer takes all the jobs so far programmer, designer, writer/journalist, seo expert/marketer, social media expert and creates a single job title in a web producer.
A web producer needs to be across all these fields and also needs to be constantly learning as the field is far from mature. Web producers are set to become an indispensable part of any organization who wants to be successful in the digital age.
I predict that we will see more jobs being advertised for web producers then web designers over the next few years. If I was in the web design business I would be looking at updating my skills to include all the jobs that we have discussed.
A web designer is usually responsible for the visual aspect of a website which includes layout, colours, fonts and the general feel of a website. Web designers traditionally would work very closely with a web developer or programmer who would handle the more technical side or back end of a website.
A web producer also called an online producer is one more step in the evolution of the design industry. A web producer often has a design background as well as a journalism background. A web producer is responsible not only for designing the the website, they are responsible for creating content and deciding how that content will be presented i.e. video, words or photos.
They are also responsible for how a person will navigate the website and interact while on the site. On top of this they also work on offsite content delivery to drive more traffic to the website. An example would be writing an article and posting with links back to the website.
What is your favorite content online?
Quality content is now the name of the game, more and more web producers are finding themselves creating content. Which can be everything from running instagram accounts for businesses including taking photos to producing and sometimes directing short videos.
Instagram in particular is becoming such a valuable marketing tool for building your target audience that web producers need to jump on board before it is to late. As has been for a long time video is still king when it comes to online content, so it is so important if you are a web producer to hook up with a good filmmaker or director. You need to have someone who can produce quality videos for your clients.