But what’s next, what comes after responsive design? Could it be artificial intelligence driving web design? Maybe, but there’s still lot more to be done for that. In the interim, we should look at visual development. The problem with the web development projects is that there is a disconnect between the programmer and web designer as has been seen by most companies. Designers are there to create ideas and mock-ups of design and developers are supposed to carry it forward and interpret it as and when they see it. It’s not a bad system, but one that could use some improvement to help with that disconnect.
By bridging the gap between designers and developers the websites can be created more efficiently and quicker, while also being truer to the original vision because visual development is very hands on. “It allows creatives to design with the code, instead of creating a representation of it,” says Bryant Chou, co-founder and CTO of Webflow. Webflow is a company which is leading the charge in the new visual web development world and helped me understand some of the more intricate aspects this growing aspect of web design. Their software helps any novice build a website with an environment which allow drag and drop system that builds code in the background as new building blocks are introduced.
With visual development it doesn’t require the monotonous and often confusing hard coding of commands on the backend and builds website blocks through the CMS and visual tools as you create them with landing page and functionality. For the current situation “visual developer” will work in tandem with the normal web developer team, but as implementation becomes easier and more widely used, we should start seeing visual developers to start playing a larger and more significant roles within the teams.
I asked Chou about the future of visual development and where he saw it heading in the next five to ten years.
For years, entrepreneurs and creatives have take classes, self-taught themselves how to code, or forked out large amounts of cash websites that act and behave as visual web development environment like WordPress. All in the name of seeing their vision come to life. While visual development is still some years off from becoming a typical web development method, it’s exciting to see where it is going towards and that there are companies like Webflow that are looking into what could be the next big thing in web design.