In web design, everything hard can be easy again

Ellie Milson
Ellie Milson
  2 min read
In web design, everything hard can be easy again

Web designers today - no matter their level of experience - face a dilemma The emergence of various web design tools  makes it practically impossible for designers to choose. Even the simplest functions like uploading pictures and choosing fonts have specialized books to explain them.Some design techniques we’ve learned before have become unsuitable and outdated. Some design methods which were not acceptable a few years ago have now become "best design practices."We are constantly pursuing new designs and sometimes we feel at a loss. This article talks about why the rapid development of web design makes designers often confused and how web design has once again become simple.

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So if these industry leaders, and many others — the folks who have grown up with the web from before CSS even existed — are feeling overwhelmed, what hope is there for the rest of us mere mortals? And what about people starting in web design 5 years from now, when there will likely be 10 times as many developer tools as there are today?

We mere mortals have good reason to be afraid — the web has exploded with complexity, especially in the past 10 years. For evidence, look no further than the list of features that are now available in browsers! This increased capability has led to an explosion of developer tooling to try to make use of it all. It’s important, however, to consider why these Dev tools have cropped up, and, more importantly, what they’re making possible.

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For example, let’s rewind 20 years, to a time when we only had to learn one flavor of HTML — one with barely a handful of tags. Styling was inline and CSS style sheets weren’t a thing yet. Now, back to the present. We have a vastly expanded HTML spec, hundreds of new CSS properties, and very heavy use of JavaScript to achieve complex requirements.

There are also tons of differences between various browser implementations of these technologies. Something as simple as prepending a prefix for CSS values, for example, requires pretty complicated build tools to save us a ton of manual typing.So, what has all of this complexity produced? Well, as Brad Frost puts it, a common case of: “i have no idea what the hell i am doing,” among people who used to know a hell of a lot about what they were doing.

Developers are navigating this new, complex, and foreign landscape with new tools… which further add to the complexity. Feeling overwhelmed? Welcome to the club. I, for example, have had to learn to use the following tools (among others) just to do mostly standard web design projects over the last 15 years:


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