Are Online Website Platforms Making Web Building Software Obsolete?
I’m currently a graduate student in Communications with an emphasis in Digital Communication Strategies. A lot of my classes deal with how communication theories can be applied to the digital landscape or learning to actually produce digital content. This semester, I am taking a digital storytelling course. The final project is to create an interactive experience that tells a story. For my project, I am creating a website that changes and incorporates new elements as you scroll down the page. In order to execute this project, I learned how to use Adobe Muse, a program available on computers in the Mac Lab and the Wakerly Lab. This program helps users create websites that are scroll-based rather than menu based.
Last week in class, as everyone was working on their projects, my instructor made an announcement: Adobe is discontinuing Muse. While I should have been angry that I learned a skill that would soon be obsolete, instead I wondered: how necessary is it to learn website design software like Adobe Muse or Contribute with online website platforms making the process so much easier? Platforms like Wix, Wordpress, and Weebly take all the guess work and some of the design work out of the equation, which begs the question: what’s the point of learning this stuff anyway?
Online website platforms are useful, even preferable, in a lot of scenarios. At my previous marketing internships — a law firm and a manufacturing company — I’ve used Wordpress. In many cases these companies should utilize these platforms because it’s easier to make small changes, and it saves everyone time and money. Similarly, if you need to create a website for a school project — and the website’s purpose is primarily for showcasing information — then an online platform is probably the way to go.
Alternatively, if you are a technology or design company, you’re better off designing a website on your own. Designing a website from scratch gives you more creative freedom and allows you to better show rather than tell viewers that you have quality design skills. It also allows companies and individuals to express themselves more and to communicate their brand or personal identity. Designing a website through Adobe(‘s remaining) website design software gives you freedom of expression in a way that online website platforms do not.
When you need to show, not tell — make your website the old fashioned way.
If you need to get a job done cheap — go with the quick and dirty option.