Choosing a career in web design is a step forward into the future. It’s the persistent moneymaking avenue for digital artists and the tech savvy designers alike. The demand for web design has been steadily increasing since the early 2000’s and prospects are only going up. Every business has a website. Every business needs one. It’s the new primary mode of information transfer. The ubiquity of websites and the constant ramping up of bandwidth only adds to the ability for one to obtain clients and secure work in firms. Because of this, many jump into the field with very little knowledge about how it’s going to pan out. Yes, it’s the marriage between design and tech, but industry insiders would tell you to do a bit of homework first. Even with the increased demand, there are still a few things you need to understand before jumping straight into it. Here are three things you should know about how web design work.
1. Visual Design and UX
- Visual design is where you get to really flex your artistic muscles. This is where you can use the classical design concepts as applied to a website. This determines the look and feel of the website. You get to mix and match colors, apply principles of focus and grids, and establish the emoting and overarching theme to present to users. This is where you get to experiment with fonts and expressions. Visual design is your first line and introduction to the user experience.
- Speaking of user experience, UX is defined as the approach you take while applying your designs. By using the visual design, UX is how the person visiting your website extracts what they want or need. All the best web design books focus heavily on how to create a stunning user experience. What you do here is take into consideration your target market. From there you create a whole environment catered to this archetype of a person, as dictated by continuous user testing and revisions.
- Applying visual design to the necessities of the user experience is expressed in where you want them to look and click. It’s a guide that allows people to seamlessly navigate without thinking. That is the ultimate goal.
- Of course, none of this is possible without a good design software. This is your tool in the same way a builder uses a hammer. And just like builders, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with more than one. Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Sketch are the big three programs that web designers use. Learning how to use them is invaluable.
2. Learn A Bit Of Code
- Web design may seem enticing as an applicable artistic endeavor, but one must still be acquainted with coding languages. Yes, it may seem like someone else’s job. But knowing the basics of coding will help you in the long run by allowing you to operate in the language of your peers.
- The first to know is HTML. It is the basic coding language that gives a web page its structure. It’s the undisputed rock of all web development and allows developers to weave a structured site. It also dictates where words and images are placed. HTML is the coding language that turns loose text into headers, footers, paragraphs, etc. It’s also how you get other content on there. If you have videos, images, GIFs, or other interactive media, you can bet that it was set there with HyperText Markup Language.
- Along with the aforementioned HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, is what web developers use to give the website a bit more personality. Without it, all modern websites would look like forums from the mid-90’s. Using CSS allows you to put a spin on how users interface with your designs. It’s where the background and text dynamics are established. It really is, in short, how you make a website look as good as possible.
- In knowing some basic CSS and HTML, you can work with the developers and create a finished product with minimal friction and miscommunication. You can set accurate benchmarks and really get a project going without a hitch. Lack of interaction or communication is, after all, the primary reason for delays on a project. And being able to bypass these pitfalls makes you a shining candidate for any job.
3. Soft Skills Are King
- The most overlooked aspect of web design is the soft skills needed to get any job done. Just becomes the job focuses on website creativity doesn’t mean that the rules of the professional world do not apply.
- There’s a stereotype that having good people skills is a rarity in the tech and design world. Separate yourself from that notion be being forthcoming and honest in your communication. Practice speaking to people everywhere you go. A little bit of effort in people skills goes a long way.
- Aside from communication, time management is huge in these projects. Art cannot be rushed, but websites can. Find a strategy that works for you and stick to the schedules you give yourself. Procrastination is not a way to get anything done in this field. Even if there is some leniency given by a boss or a client, keep yourself on a strict set of project benchmarks. This shows them that, not only are you a willing team player, you’re conscientious of their time the entire way.
- Along with time, being able to keep track of budget is a highly valuable skill in any profession. And when working with clients for a website, you have to go in knowing that they’re putting in top dollar as an investment in their bottom line. The moment they see it as a money sink, they may pull out. So knowing and understanding what your work means to a client in monetary terms keeps the professional respect mutual and beneficial.
Web design surely has a lot more in it than most people think. There’s a reason why the people in this industry often clock in countless hours and endure sleepless nights. It’s a grind, for sure. But if you build your reputation well within this industry, it opens the gates for networking and a steady flow of clientele for you and/or the company you’ll be working for.