I was thinking back to the old days of a time where I spent a great deal of time creating a design and building it with so much love and care, thinking of every detail and not being scared to try out new ideas.

Everything was unique, it felt personal and was a labour of love. We were daring and had no fear.

Years on and I feel that we’ve gone down a path where creativity is second to efficiency and that we often look at ready made solutions or reusing what exists. Tools like Squarespace and Wix offer pre-designed templates and drag and drop builders mean anyone can build a site without writing any code but we’ve come to a point where everything looks the same. In fairness, we also have mobiles and other devices to consider which back then, wasn’t as much of an issue.

Is it more process over passion?

We have deadlines to meet and we’re looking to cut costs so the process has become more about efficiency over creativity in my mind. For years now, I have seen people treating work as a task/ticket and not a craft which for me can lead to a lack of genuine care and attention to detail which results in websites looking and feeling generic and often unpolished. I wonder if at times we are often too wrapped up in the granular detail that we miss the wider picture or become less attached to the final piece.

We’ve become tool obsessed and trying to make things quicker to save time, devs seem more interested in the functionality rather than how the site looks. We have CSS frameworks like Tailwind and Bootstrap that whilst do a good job takes away the personal element of building something for me. We spend hours setting up design files and other admin tasks and spend less time doing the bits that matter, solving the problems.

I think we’ve become lazy relying on templates and systems. I see so many devs talking about them and using them without really being able to understand the core skills such as HTML and CSS that they cover. Why bother writing CSS and HTML when you can just use a theme or framework? I read daily on Reddit and other places how someone has looked at CSS, done about 5 hours “training” and moved on to something else. It’s not that simple but people think it is. I firmly believe frontend development should split into two so that the engineers can do their thing and the “designer” frontenders can do their thing rather than force people down a route they don’t really want to do down or at least ensure the right people are on the right job. I got out of frontend for this reason.

The thing is, I get it

Twenty years ago, the web was new, nobody really understood what was being done, how much stuff cost or how long things took so people were happy to ride it out as I believe it felt more of a personal service.

Now, the market is very competitive. Time is money and there is always someone who can do it quicker and cheaper but at what cost? There is a lot of ego out there and at times, the industry is a bit of a bitch but I digress. I don’t get the luxury of the time I used to have and people are more switched on now as to how longs things take and work so there is a balance definitely but I still go into every project with the idea that I am crafting something. That every little detail matters and that what I am doing makes a difference.

Everything that we do is important. I’m not saying the way we work and focus on being efficient is wrong but I think it came at a cost. It’s all about striking a balance and delivering something that is both efficient and creative and for me being able to step back from it and be proud.

Maybe I’m the problem. Stuck in a world that moved on.