Tooling is complicated, we are a tooling focused industry, and they change so much. I have used maybe rough eight different tools, from Photoshop to Sketch. That’s before we add prototyping tools to the mix. This may be something we just have to accept. After all, type standards only really started to settle in the 90s, and typography is a 500-year-old discipline.
Designers are still finding it difficult to prove the importance of the process. I think this is something that we have to take on board: to learn how to educate and not just expect everyone to trust us by default. That takes time — perhaps using scenario-based design or design workshops like a design sprint would help. Getting non-designers to observe users while using a prototype they created is one of the best experiences I have seen in this field.
Cross-browser support is lacking crucial features. Designers need to understand developer tooling, to better scope out what is possible. I think using paired programming or the design process described above can help.
Responsive design is still challenging. I think this is in part due to the tools we use; I would love Chrome Design Tools that would help turn the browser into a creative tool. This space is where I think the next evolutionary step for site and web app creation is at. Mozilla is doing some fantastic work in this space, with their layout and shapes tooling.
All in all the challenges that we face seem to be all the age-old ones. Process, tools, and respect.
I found this a very interesting post that is also a complement to a post I wrote about the challenges for web developers. It's not surprising that browser compat is an issue, but what is still a concern is that building for IE11 is still something that is holding the industry back. Likewise, Mustafa points out that there is still an issue with the tooling around Responsive Design and the emphasis on a single responsive solution always leads to the following (that is in Mustafa's post):
Designing once and using everywhere is still hard to reach ambition.
This is a problem that I think we all still wrestle with. On one hand we want everyone to build a responsive solution that can serve everyone on every device form-factor, on the other hand user context is important and often the user will only be willing to perform certain actions at certain times; we see this a lot in the retail and commerce industry: people will browse on mobile, and complete on desktop, and the question then becomes do you cater for this multi-modal model more or build a consistent experience across all devices... I suspect the answer is 'it depends', but either way it's a hard problem for everyone from product teams to engineering teams.
About Me: Paul Kinlan
I lead the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google.
We want people to have the best experience possible on the web without having to install a native app or produce content in a walled garden.
Our team tries to make it easier for developers to build on the web by supporting every Chrome release, creating great content to support developers on web.dev, contributing to MDN, helping to improve browser compatibility, and some of the best developer tools like Lighthouse, Workbox, Squoosh to name just a few.