Future of Web Design – Facts and Thoughts

Web design has changed tremendously in the last few years and it’s still changing. More than changing, web design is evolving and evolution is bounded with complexity. Although the industry is not in danger some web designers are. Sounds contradictory right? Not really. The truth is that the web design industry is healthy and growing, new jobs are being added, more clients are emerging and consequently more agencies and companies related to the business.

According to salary.com, the median annual salary of a web designer in United States is $62,687 and studies predict a 15% business growth before 2020.

So why do web designers need to worry? As I said above, the industry is evolving and with evolution comes complexity. The more complex the industry is, the more difficult it is to keep pace and stay current and up to date. New technologies are appearing, new gadgets are coming to the market and you now use your iPad to read the newspaper. Simply put, if you don’t read, learn, and try things you will lose your pace and the complexity of the industry will smash your will to keep going.

Where are we heading?


Definitely the new boom on the web. Starting a big fight with Flash and causing damage to Adobe’s reputation, HTML5 is one of the most recent and important change of this time. It will bring many new and awaited features like audio and video tags, canvas element, Geo location API, Drag and Drop functionality, etc.

In a 2010 post, Chitika Insights website came to the conclusion that 46% of web users are now using HTML5 compatible browsers.


CSS has been essential regarding websites layout and presentation, however, its limitations have been a hot topic for many years. Now the new CSS3 brings solutions and great power to this style sheet language. Features like transitions, animations, shadows, box transformations are some of the long awaited properties that will be gradually included.


Some of you may have heard about WebGL (Web-based Graphics Library) and some of you haven’t and that would be natural since it is very recent. WebGL is a library extension that turns Javascript into a super programming language allowing it to generate interactvive 3D graphics within a compatible web browser using your card’s GPU. Many browsers still don’t support this and it currently has some limitations but it is definitely something to consider in the future. Take a look at the Chrome Experiments and be amazed.

End of Flash ?

Rean John Uehara wrote an article about this subject called What is the Future of Adobe Flash? which I recommend reading. Personally I really don’t believe in the certain death of Flash and I actually believe that Flash will be there in the future, just with a different usage. HTML5 is capable of great things, WebGL might be there as well to put the Flash platform in danger but Adobe is working to solve some of it’s issues and we will be waiting for it.

Complexity is good, after all

Good news for designers

We now have tablets to read the news, smart refrigerators that can pull recipes from the internet based on the ingredients you have, your desk has 30 books inside a Kindle and I can check Facebook from my TV. Society depends more than ever on technology and with such dependence the market will require more and more good designers, giving you the opportunity to prove yourself and win a spot in the industry.

Personal point of view

Complexity has a good and a bad side. As seen above, the bad side is that complexity requires a more demanding effort from designers and developers to stay up to date. The good side is that with new technologies emerging we will have a bigger market, more business and consequently more clients. But not just that, in the future we’ll see less and less bad design, bad code and bad projects. The business will suffer a re-professionalization and we will be taken more seriously. The “You are a webdesigner? Even my 4-year old daughter can make a website” typical mentality will gradually vanish and clients (most of them) will start listening and paying more respect to our work.

What to do about it

What to do about it

Photo by Jixar

Thinking about investing your time working on the web? Then go for it! This is exactly the right time to start and if you have already started, this is the time to improve, to get better and to learn. I’ve written an article giving you some general and efficient resolutions on how to get better and improve your daily work called 9 Tips on How To Improve Yourself as a Web Designer, but besides that I’ve made a quick but important list below with resources about the new trends/technologies/creativity which I think you should pay attention too.


http://learningwebgl.com/blog/ – Great blog covering everything about WebGL. It also has lessons, FAQ’s and the WebGL Cookbook link.

ROME “3 Dreams of Black” – You will be stunned with such beauty. “3 Dreams of Black” is an interactive filme by Chris Milk and Google.


http://html5tutorial.net/ – Great blog with plenty of tutorials to learn from.

http://www.html5rocks.com/en/tutorials/ – Great site with plenty of resources to learn from.

http://tableless.com.br/html5/ (pt-br) – Great HTML5 reference guide (in Portuguese).


http://www.css3.com/ – Great question-answer type site. Take a look!

http://www.css3.info/category/tutorials/ – Everything you need to know about css3… that’s actually true.


http://dribbble.com/ – Need creativity? The most crazy but awsome web design details are here.

http://designerscouch.org/ – I really like this website. Great work in there.

http://www.behance.net/ – No need for introductions.


Note: Check an article from each one of this sites in a daily basis. Try to learn something everyday. Prepare your future.

Don’t quit

Guessing the future

Photo by Wagner T. Cassimiro

Guys like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Wozniak will still appear from time to time and the internet will keep changing. But as a web designer, UI designer or any other kind of designer your future is secure if you are willing to make efforts to get better, improve your skills and keep pace with this constantly shifting industry.

My advice to you is to keep fighting for what you believe and what you love, because no matter how good or bad the future is, you will have a spot in it.

Ruben D'Oliveira

I am a Portuguese UI/UX designer, visual designer and writer. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and Multimedia and I'm addicted to web technologies and design. Feel free to check my work on Behance or Dribbble. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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  1. Jacob Swart says

    thank you for your article. i can’t imagine ever reaching a point of knowing ‘enough’ about development/design. that alone, is exiting, in a way.

  2. Michael says

    Web design has changed tremendously in the last few years and it’s still changing More than changing web design is evolving and evolution is bounded with complexity Although the industry is not in danger some web designers are Sounds contradictory right?

  3. Abhijeet says

    it’s awesome.. i realy liked this post… its very useful..
    I’m currently learning the new stuff of HTML5 & CSS3… thanks

  4. Estere says

    The web design will constantly evolve as new tech is making place on the market. Now we have 3D TV, will have 3D monitors and after that we will have holograms, i am sure about it. I wonder where’s the limit, if there is any only our imagination will set it.

  5. Craig says

    Good overview. Here are just a good web designer will not just follows the latest trends, but can combine new-old for a better and convenient user experience. After all the new does not always mean better

  6. Craig says

    That’s what differentiates true professionals (web designers) from newbies, they keep themselves up to date and follow the latest web standards.

  7. Shaquil Oliver says

    The web is changing and becoming more complex. Many people will not be able to keep up with the change. The industry continues to grow and evolve. We are becoming more in demand for good web designers as the technological need for an advance in the technology aspect continues to increase. In the U.S. alone, on average, they make $62,687 a year. Studies also predict a 15% business growth.

  8. Tim says

    Fact: if you built your site template using tables, your site will render perfectly in every browser on every platform from 1995 – 203X.

  9. Brian Jones says

    Great post! The ever evolving field of web design is one of the main reason’s why I decided to take the self taught route. While it would be nice to have other creatives to lean on – I just could not see myself being stuck with a $40 – $50k loan to learn about tables and many of the out dated approaches that design classes take on today. The design community is my schooling and I thank everyone involved!

  10. says

    Nice post, web designers always have to change and learn new things.

    I’m currently learning the new stuff of HTML5 looks good. Should really start using it more.