27 January 2012 Neil Robinson

moving to front of house?

The web design industry has always had distinct roles and functions. But everything could be just about to change.

Technology moves fast. But role-changes don’t happen that often. Traditionally, web design is partitioned off into three distinct areas. Creatives, page code developers and the database engine gurus. Frontend, middle and backend. Clear roles, with clear boundaries. But HTML5/CSS3 will disrupt that status quo.

HTML5/CSS3 isn’t just code, its creative. It can draw mathematically. Non-designers can actually become creative.

Routines allow anyone to create shapes, rotate things or design complex objects using simple co-ordinates. Previously, the front end guys were virtual artists. They used expensive creative software and it wasn’t easy. Those amazing front ends required real artistic talent. You had to be able to visualise.

I’m not saying that the need for creative ability will be gone, what I’m saying is the barriers to getting there, that expensive, tricky software isn’t so vital any more and that opens up opportunities.

Don’t expect things to change overnight – I’ve said before that few really understand it yet, but it will happen. The good news for everyone is that access to great web design doesn’t now come at such a high premium. Frontend creatives will have to learn to code and coders learn to be a bit more creative.

The boundaries are blurring and coming down. And freedom’s never a bad thing, is it?

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