So… What’s the Future of Web Design?

For the last three days, I’ve had the pleasure of being in NYC.   I came up for the Future of Web Design that was put on by the crew at Carsonified.

While I believe Ryan Carson and the crew at Carsonified did a fantastic job with the event and I thought the content was pretty outstanding, I left the event with one looming question, “What is the Future of Web Design?”

Isn’t the title the “Future of Web Design”?  So… I expected someone to get up and say that “The future of web design is [blank].”

Ryan Singer of 37signals had a good talk entitled “The future of web app interface design” but he seemed to just talk about how designers need to be more knowledgeable about the development process. As many will attest, I’m not a designer.  So… maybe I just don’t get it but that doesn’t sound at all like a revolutionary idea.

In their talks, I think both Mike Kus of Carsonified and Nick La of ndesign-studio somewhat pointed to the idea that there is a certain level of art that needs to be brought back into design.  Mike Kus showed some of his amazing and very intricate Web design that he first starts with pencil and paper, which was kind of cool.

But… is this the future of Web design?  What do you guys think?  What does the future hold?

4 thoughts on “So… What’s the Future of Web Design?”

  1. Adobe’s Flex is starting to gain momentum and so are other products like Flash and Silverlight. With Mobile devices and UMPC’s coming out left and right and social platforms like Facebook and Google trying to compete with Vista and Mac OS for people’s computing platform of choice there will probably be more emphasis on design that has these formats and platforms in mind. I set up the Internet channel for my Wii recently and it uses Opera for browsing. You’ve got your OLPC. Etc.


  2. Justin –
    I agree with you – the conference was more about the last couple of years than about the future, or even the leading-edge present.
    The issue of the diversity of computing platforms and devices that Bob comments on is of course one of the huge issues for the future of web design.
    Another issue is the increasing separation of the contents of websites from the actual web pages they were originally designed for, whether through RSS or API’s or direct database access. I think that one of the solutions needed in the future will be ways that users can have good design applied to whatever they are viewing even if the content has been separated from its original design – like maybe having effective design “shells” that users can wrap around content they have picked up through feeds or mashups or databases.
    Good design will be needed more than ever, as its purpose is to help people make sense of what they see – but it will become increasingly complex as users become more in charge of determining what they see rather than seeing primarily static web pages.

  3. The future of web design is… a huge PITA to test. Justin, please allow me to assume that future web design is widget-heavy in order to illustrate…
    You can check that your new widget is usable, elegant, whatever, when embedded in a particular WordPress blog with a particular theme, shown on a particular browser on a particular operating system… but what about other blogging platforms, themes, browsers, operating systems,…
    And that’s not even getting in to versions of software, different display hardware,…

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