Is the web design market changing?

Have you ever considered that new technologies may in fact be shrinking our market for “web design”? And what of the rise of frameworks and libraries and a growing use of content management systems such as WordPress by professional developers? Robert Capps “The Good enuf rvlutn” in Wired’s September ’09 issue is a must read that may find us discussing these types of issues on the forefront of the information and communication technologies challenge.

I have personally felt for some time now that we needed to bring mobile design into our program, and as I researched it I found a rich and exciting new type of opportunity. While mobile applications – the sophisticated games and location aware apps and all the unique tools that you can’t live without get all the attention, there is also a world of integration between standard web sites and mobile websites. There is much that can be developed with XHTML/CSS/Javascript given the outstanding tools that Apple provides for the iPhone development process. These development tools are now available to our students through our Developer status with Apple. But I also realize that if we eventually are primarily designing for mobile sites rather than desktops, what will that mean for our industry? What effect will “good enough” have in the process?

The Capps article describes how “entire markets have been transformed by products that trade power or fidelity for low price, flexibility, and convenience”. Pure Digital, makers of the Flip video camera, made the discovery that good enough tech that is cheap, fast, and simple works every time. (The Flip just got challenged with Apple’s new Nano, as another example). And everyone knows that mp3 recordings are poor quality compared to CD’s, but the added advantage of take it with you everywhere cheaply and conveniently has become more important than fidelity.

Clay Shirkey, quoted in the article, sums up with “there comes a point at which improving upon the thing that was important in the past is a bad move”. Other examples of this concept in the article bring the point home and causes one to stop and ponder. What is the real purpose of our projects and where is web/mobile based communication heading? Or we may see these changes and discover the new types of opportunities that we will be privileged to develop!

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Ugrade your WordPress now!

There was a “worm” reported over the weekend that is seriously affecting older versions of WordPress that are located on private hosting environments. WordPress.com sites are not affected as they are automatically updated to the latest versions as they are released.

It is serious, and not very visible unless you know what you are looking for. Please read the following articles to get the details:
From Matt Mullenweg: http://wordpress.org/development/2009/09/keep-wordpress-secure/
and from WordPress.org on how to upgrade: http://codex.wordpress.org/upgrading_wordpress/
and if you have problems: http://smackdown.blogsblogsblogs.com/2008/06/24/how-to- completely-clean-your-hacked-Wordpress-installation/

It is not panic time, but it is serious and you should upgrade quickly to avoid any problems.