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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Hi everybody,

    I'm a free lance web designer. I do all my code by hand (I use Dreamweaver just for the auto-complete), and all my sites are XHTML compliant and 100% custom, at an insanely cheap price (I'm a student, and even I think I'm underselling myself). I also write my own PHP and JavaScript from scratch.

    But the one feeling that I can't help shake is that website designers like myself will be replaced by Content Management Systems in the near future. My hosting/domain name re-seller (http://roundhousedomains.com) offers a CMS in which a person can create a fully functional website in under an hour =-O. How are web designers supposed to compete with that?

    I know that CMSs can't write scripts, or really do any custom database work, but I'm sure that'll change in a short while.

    Am I the only one who feels this way? What are your thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Junior Member
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    I have thought about this as well, but I'm not worried any more. It is true that the do-it-yourself programs will get better but that will never change the fact that people will have to do work and spend time. Also the design part.

    Most business will want something custom forever and don't necessarily have the time to do it. I think of other service businesses to make me feel better. Take painting for example. A lot of people know how to paint, and can go buy the tools, but they would rather just hire someone and make sure it's done right. Or maybe they just don't have the time.

    Always do good work, offer great customer service, and someone will want your services.

  4. #3
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clarence_82
    Take painting for example. A lot of people know how to paint, and can go buy the tools, but they would rather just hire someone and make sure it's done right. Or maybe they just don't have the time.
    Good point, but what worries me is they're not buying the tools, anyone can buy the tools. They're buying the ability to "paint" like a professional, when they aren't.

    It would be like a "painting robot" (for the sake of the example) that you just tell it what to paint a picture of, and it will do it in a fraction of the time compared to a painter.

    CMSs are "code robots" that can write a page in seconds, the user just needs to tell it what the page is about.

    Also the fact that many of my clients past experiences with human designers have been horrible concerns me. This means that there are schmucks out there turning "web designer" into a bad word with mediocre customer service and quality. Who wouldn't want to use a machine if that's the case?

    Have a good one,
    Mike

  5. #4
    Junior Member
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    I see what your saying, and don't get me wrong, this has all worried me as well. But.....I guess I'm kinda trying to look at the positive part of things also. For example, all the schmucks you referred to are actually a blessing. Some people may give up humans altogether, but the ones that run across you before they do will stay with you forever if your good to them. There are so many horrible web designers, that these potential clients would never risk running into them again. I believe if you do good work and treat your customers right you will be fine.

    The schmucks will be ridded of, and the web designers that stick around will be the ones referred to others by word of mouth. Nothing will ever be as good as having a human, and nothing makes someone more confident their their friend or family telling them about you. Fear Not!

  6. #5
    Senior Member
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    CMSs are "code robots" that can write a page in seconds, the user just needs to tell it what the page is about.
    Sounds either like magical thinking, a complete and utter misunderstanding of what a CMS does, or you're talking about Scraper Software -- which I am unaware of as part of any major or minor CMS.

    Rejoice. For "functions" are not design. The only thing the CMS era threatens are people who mistake installing things for design.

    CMS systems require a whole range of more sophisticated services you can charge more for, while eliminating some of the technical drudgery.

    What's threatened are the most primitive aspects of website construction, not design. And it should be threatened.

    What happens when you click a button, fill out some forms and have a completed forum install? One hopes the focus shifts to content creation and user desires. This is definitely a threat to anyone looking to install a firewall to social interaction -- but then one might hope those people understand forums are about people and interaction design. And that involves designing an interface, not decorating one with a color scheme and logo.

  7. #6
    Member UNarmed's Avatar
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    I think those services that turn out a website in "Under a hour" are complete rubbish. They hardly offer anything along the lines of customisation. People that pay for these services get what they pay for, a site that looks and feels cheap. Geez having people pick there own color scheme and fonts often results in a absolutely hideous design.

    I dont thing you should see CMS's at a threat. I for one use drupal. You can charge the client extra for the cms, sure you dont get money from them coming back to you asking for updates every month but hell who wants that anyway. I would rather make a little extra once off and move on to new projects than have to revisit old stuff ever month. Just my two cents worth =]

  8. #7
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    There are various types of CMSes.

    A real CMS or ECM is a tool designed for powerful content management that will meet the demands of virtually any business. Such tools require configuration and interface design services to tailor to an individual business' needs, as with any generic business machine. This provides a whole new array of services for you - just pick a CMS and learn it inside and out. Then you can install, configure, and tailor it to businesses' needs and get paid well for it.

    A "DIY Website" tool isn't a real CMS. It's an online service with basic content management that allows any Joe Schmo to make a Mom-and-Pop-looking website that will not fit the company's needs in any way, shape, or form. Companies that will use these systems are the same companies that today design their own business cards and marketing collateral. In short, they are run by people who don't understand the importance of marketing, and who probably wouldn't use you anyway.

    So as DC said... rejoice! Your career isn't in jeopardy... it's just evolving (as is the nature of the tech industry)! Of course, fi you don't change with the times....

  9. #8
    Junior Member
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    Here's the deal. Web Design is not just slapping a bunch of pretty pictures iup on a template and calling it a website. Sure it functions as a website but is it really design? No. Design deals with psychology, typography, color theory, UI, UX, and that is just the start.

    They will never be able to replace a designer fro the simple fact that people change, society changes, and the design needs of society changes as well. Content management systems should only serve to assist the designer in making the process a little quicker. Also recognize that a CMS is not a WYSIWYG site builder, so using your great php and javascript skills in conjunction with a good cms of your choice (CMS Made simple, Silverstripe, Expression Engine, etc.) shoul;d help you succeed not hinder or replace you.

  10. #9
    Junior Member
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    CMS can't beat designer...

  11. #10
    jj1
    jj1 is offline
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    It will take SOME business away yes. Some people WILL use these sites to create their own websites.

    What not everyone has the skills to do, however, is DESIGN - put pictures and words together to sell their company/themselves and structure information in a proper way.


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