In the web industry, things change quickly. As technologies progress and processes change, new job roles pop up. The current hot role is user experience (opens in new tab) design, but is that job title set to disappear as quickly as it emerged? Here, we look at the brand new job specialisms set to rise in popularity and shape the way we approach web design and development in the future.
01. Full-stack designer
Similar to full-stack web developers who code for both front- and backend technologies, full-stack designers will have skills in multiple design disciplines. The emergence of this role is already motivated by employers needing to become more efficient with their budgets, whether it’s to be more price competitive or deal with budget cuts (as in public sector organisations).
Full-stack designers will offer better value to employers. Being able to tackle several specialisms means there's no need to employ a different person for each role, which inn turn means a more efficient workflow. There's less time wasted waiting around for other team members to complete a task; a full-stack designer can simply switch between roles depending on what's required at the time.
02. Scientific designer
They say knowledge is power – whether that’s for PR communications, making business decisions or helping people live a healthy lifestyle. With the rise of digital technology and the internet we can now capture more data than ever before.
The problem with data is that it’s just data. While some have no problem making sense of data through statistical analysis techniques, the average person can only see nonsense. This is where the role of scientific designer emerges: to turn data into knowledge through easy-to-understand visuals or infographics (opens in new tab).
03. Intelligent content author
The opposite of a scientific designer, an intelligent content author will produce content that either captures or reacts to data. AI is set to change the face of UX design, and intelligent authors are the ones who'll be tasked with helping content adapt itself to what it knows about users.
Data will come from multiple sources, including popular digital assistant technologies such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. Design content will be hosted either independently or as part of an external platform – for example the chatbots (opens in new tab) for Facebook’s Messenger service. For more on this phenomenon, take a look at our article on UX design trends for 2018 (opens in new tab). Got data to save? Keep it safe in cloud storage.
04. Instructional designer
Instructional design is a combination of graphic and UX design, but with a primary focus on delivering content for learning. This type of design can be applied to all forms of digital media, from web pages to ebooks and apps. The obvious role for instructional designers is in supporting education organisations such as universities, who may want to create custom content for their courses. Additional demand for instructional design is likely to emerge as more businesses embrace technology – for example, with self-service supermarket checkouts – hence needing content to instruct their customers.
05. AR/VR designer
The emergence of smartphones and the availability of affordable AR/VR headsets (opens in new tab) has opened up these technologies into the mainstream. Programmes for marketing, education and other activities have an opportunity to benefit from this medium through providing memorable experiences that engage their audiences. But a medium is only useful if content is available to grow its potential – hence the role of AR/VR design as a specific design specialism.