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If you’ve been on YouTube recently, you’re probably familiar with WIRED’s series in which they take celebrities and have them answer the most Googled questions about their name. After watching one of these videos, I was inspired to head to Google and see what the most Googled questions were about “web design.” Being as I currently design websites, I thought it would be a fun exercise to try and answer the most common questions.
A web designer’s responsibility is to design websites that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. There’s a lot to tackle when designing a website. Websites today are used to promote businesses, sell things, provide information, connect people, and to store content. It’s the web designer’s job to satisfy those needs and do it in a way that is functional and looks good. A web designer will typically use a design program, in my situation I use Sketch, to create a mockup of the website. The mockup is not a functional site but rather a blueprint and guidelines to provide to a web developer.
Some basic elements that are used in web design include the use of typography, colors, shapes, and negative space. The elements are very similar to any other type of design work. The only difference between graphic designers and web designers is that web designers have to be conscious of user accessibility. Like I mentioned above, web designers have to ultimately create something that is functional and provides a positive user experience. If you would like some further reading material, check out one of my past blogs where I dive into the anatomy of web design and break down some common features found in websites today. (Why Do Websites all Look the Same?)
To be a successful web designer one should have great communication skills, visual design skills, and a sense of resourcefulness. A lot of web design work, believe it or not, is communicating with others. Whether it be communication between the designer and the client, or the design handoff process to another person on your team. A good sense of communication is critical to being a good designer. As with any other design work, having a good sense of visual design skills and knowing industry trends will put you leaps and bounds beyond other designers. Lastly, a good web designer needs to be resourceful. With a majority of the projects you will work on, you’ll find that you’re not always given all the tools to do your job successfully. Clients don’t always know what direction to provide and a lot of times they may be starting from scratch. Be resourceful, lean on your software and skills to fill in the gaps.
Designing a website does not require coding. However, implementing your design into a fully functional website will take some coding and basic programming. In my case, I will design a mockup using Sketch, a design program geared towards UI design, and hand it off to our in-house web developer. That developer will take my mockups and turn them into fully functional screens using coding. On the other side of the coin, sites like Squarespace and Wix actually provide an all-in-one solution for those that are looking to create a website without coding knowledge. The downfall is that these sites tend to be limiting in what you can do creatively.
Luckily, with accessibility to resources via the internet, one could easily teach themselves about web design. Some may choose the more traditional route and go to college and get some type of higher education. The best way to learn is to get out there and do! Try rebuilding some of your favorite sites, or add your own touch to an existing site. Talk to people in the industry. They will be able to show you what’s most important to learn. In my case, for example, I had very little design experience. A lot of what I know now is from Youtube tutorials and a lot of trial and error.
This was a fun little exercise and I hope that it was enlightening for all those that had questions about web design. I will say, I stumbled across some funny phrasings of questions that gave me a good laugh. Questions like “What is meant by Web design?” still have me stumped. If you have any more questions about web design, feel free to reach out to your local experts at Red Shark Digital!