The layout and usability of your website affect how your users will interact with it. A well-made website will encourage customers to stay on your site longer and increase their chances of making a purchase or sharing your content. As such, a knowledgeable website designer is necessary. In this article, you will learn what website designers do, some web design necessities, and how to become a web designer.
What Is a Web Designer?
So, what is a web designer? A good web designer will plan and construct a website with aesthetics, usability, and user experience in mind. On a day-to-day basis, a website designer might create a layout for a website, decide on navigation paths, design visuals, and complete many other tasks that will help a website run smoothly.
While the job title, web designer, seems straightforward – someone who designs websites – it is an all-encompassing term that refers to many different jobs that work together to create a useful and aesthetically pleasing website. The process of designing a whole website is often not a one-person job. Some people plan, create content, create artistic elements, code, and test aspects of the website. One person can rarely create a brand new professional website on their own.
While the job of a website designer often only refers to the person who organizes elements to create a cohesive website, many other people work to make a website usable.
A web designer is different than a website developer. While both website designers and website developers work together to create a usable website, website designers deal with the aesthetics of what a user will see while exploring a webpage while a website developer works on the code to make the website function. Both website designers and website developers work together to create a cohesive website. As such, each should have some understanding of what the other does to make to website creation process go as smoothly as possible.
The website strategist develops the overall website plan informed by business goals and market research. Their findings will inform the development of the entire website and each individual web page.
The graphic designer develops the visual elements of the website. Brand images, colors, and typography should be used to create a visually appealing webpage.
The copywriter creates written content. Copywriting can be as long as an article and as short as the text on a navigation button.
Web Designer Skills
Website designers need to spend time honing their talents to create the best websites they can. They need both creativity and technical knowledge. A good web designer needs to have a certain set of skills, including the following.
Web design is partially an art, which is why website designers often need experience in graphic design. A good web designer will have some understanding of color theory and an eye for creating a cohesive image.
The way a website looks directly impacts the way customers think of your business. Clashing colors, gaudy visuals, illegible fonts, and strange formatting are signs of a poorly designed website. It comes off as unprofessional and amateur, two adjectives you do not want used to describe your business. An ugly website will drive people away before they can digest critical information about your business.
Stick to a few complementary colors. The colors you choose will preferably be established business colors as well. A consistent color scheme will help create a distinct brand. Keep any writing contained within short paragraphs and use a legible font. Stay away from cursive fonts. Pay attention to proportions and keep most designs symmetrical. Asymmetry should be used sparingly.
User Experience (UX)
User experience, or UX, is the process of designing a website in a way that creates an enjoyable experience for the user. A good website designer needs to create intuitive navigation, easily understood interactive elements, and an overall visually appealing website.
If you want to create the best experience for your users, there are some universally effective practices you can follow. People enjoy familiarity. You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Standard layouts are standard for a reason. Customers will immediately know how to navigate them to find the information they want.
You also do not always have to worry about being subtle when directing your customer’s eye line. You can use an arrow to direct a user’s attention to important information. It might seem too obvious, but it is extremely effective.
Make sure that you build a responsive website. A user scrolling the website on their phone should have the same experience as a person viewing the website from a laptop, even if the layout is completely different to accommodate the screen size.
While there are many ways you can make the user experience better, to create the best experience for your customers, you will need to have a website designer who understands the needs and wants of your target market. As with all aspects of your marketing strategy, understanding who you are trying to sell to should inform every aspect of your website.
While a website designer does not need to be a coding expert, some HTML or CSS knowledge is helpful. Making adjustments to the design of the website is much easier if you understand coding.
In addition to hard design skills, a good website designer will have many soft skills. The ability to collaborate with others is an important skill. As discussed above, web design is usually a team effort. People must be able to communicate with each other, remain patient as others do their jobs, and remain respectful of everyone they work with. A good website designer should be able to listen to others and take constructive criticism.
Another soft skill website developers need is good time management. Web designers often work under time constraints. A client might want the website changes live by a certain time and you need to do your best to meet these expectations. If you take the freelance approach to your website design career, you will most likely need to balance more than one project at a time.
How to Become a Web Designer
Now that you know what a website designer does, you might be wondering how to become a website designer. If you are looking to build a website for your business, all you need are the skills listed above. You do not need a degree to make a website.
If you are looking to have a career in website design, a bachelor’s degree in computer science, website design, or user experience would be a good first step. After completing a degree program at a reputable college or university, you should have the necessary skills to make a career in web design.
While a college degree will provide you with knowledge, skills, and, resources, it is not the only way to start your career as a website designer. If you do not have the time or money to pursue a degree, there are many certificate courses and programs that can provide you with the necessary background.
Whether you go to college, take certificate courses, or teach yourself, if you are going to land a job in web design, you need a portfolio. Your portfolio is supposed to show employers what kind of work they can expect from you. Craft it for the kind of jobs you want to work in the future. Showcase your best work. It should show off both your style and skills. You do not need a large portfolio if you do not have a large number of well-done projects. Quality is more important than quantity.
Once you develop the necessary skills, you can start looking for jobs. You can work for a design firm or become an independent contractor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for website designers will grow by 13% in the next eight years, so the job outlook is good.
Design a Website
Designing a website is not easy. It takes time and practice to develop the skills necessary to build a website, let alone pursue a career in website design. If you are a creative person with an interest in technology, you might enjoy website design.
For business owners, having a user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and cohesive website is vital. If you are a business owner looking to create a business website but lack the artistic or technical skill to make one on your own, you should consider hiring a web designer.
If you have any questions or are looking to create an effective business website, contact SEO Design Chicago. Our expert team of web developers can help you create a website that brings you more leads and better traffic.
- What jobs can a web designer do?
- What degree do I need to become a web designer?
- How do you become a web designer?
- What skills do web designers need?
- What are a web designer’s responsibilities?