Why web design sucks now

Heather Buchel’s post It’s 2023, here is why your web design sucks about the current state of web design (and web app design) resonated with me, especially this quote:

“Design decisions can only be pushed so far to the left before we realize the system is broken”

If you bisect design and development into different professions, you can end up with designers that aren’t technical enough to design what’s possible, or developers without enough design prowess to make design decisions independently.

I wonder too if tooling has something to do with it — in an era of Figma and Canva and Webflow, it’s easier than ever to design websites and web applications without having to interact with HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, let alone the DOM of a web browser and poking around in DevTools to get something to display properly.

A similar issue can happen with technical writers in a “throw it over the wall” documentation culture, where a writer relies on functional specs, design docs, and engineering requirements documents to write content rather than actually using the product.

Part of it could be a hiring prioritization motive, where engineers are the first and most-valued hires, while designers and technical writers are seen as support staff and hiring is calculated according to team:designer or team:writer ratios, rather than a partnership-based approach.

In my opinion, cross-functional partnerships with empowered, collaborative product development, are crucial for building a high quality product that customers can use.