The discriminatory power between web designer, graphic designer and web developer has disappeared in recent years. Therefore the term “web design” itself shall serve as a basis for this article. Because it contains the two major components of the job: web and design, according to which the necessary skills can also be broken down wonderfully. It is, of course, utopian that every web designer should have a very good command of all these areas. But that’s not what it’s all about, it’s more about having sufficient knowledge to be able to always keep the whole project in mind.
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The first part of the word already tells you what each design is for. But it also provides a framework for what knowledge is useful: All technologies related to the web, at least
The major abbreviations UI and UX can now be found in almost every job advertisement. This is no wonder, because no matter how good an application is, it will not be very successful without a working user interface. The best known example of this is certainly Apple, which invented neither the first MP3 player nor the first smartphone, but instead launched the devices on the market that were best to use.
Not every heuristic must be known to you, and Jacob Nielsen and Steve Krug are not the only authors on your bookshelf. But you should know the difference between user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), and how to score in both areas instead of alienating users with strange design decisions. Accessibility in web design is also playing an increasingly important role, especially on websites of public institutions.
You are probably never the first person to talk to about this, as most companies now have special employees for SEO. But that does not mean that you do not have to deal with the topic at all. It’s also important for you to know which elements of the website have what effect on Google’s ranking – and which techniques you should avoid using. This increases the success of the site and thus the satisfaction of your customer/employer, but also gives you an additional measure of how good your work is.
So, how’d your last project go? It’s never wrong to know exactly how to do an analysis, which tools are most useful for it and to be able to go through these evaluations yourself. That shows you what works and what doesn’t. This retrospective is extremely important for your development.
It is one of the basic requirements for a good web designer, to have an eye for design, but also to have fun to always look for new trends and work with them. Some basic principles should be considered when evaluating new ideas. These are the topics
* Grid layouts
* Color theory
A pink website with a green font will not attract visitors any more than a page that uses a new font in every paragraph or wildly distributes content across the page. These three themes are something like the basis of every website and accordingly of every design.
The color gradient is back in web design, but only succeeds with a good understanding of colors.
There is no recommendation as to which specific software every web designer must master. The Adobe Creative Suite is often mentioned, but is not necessarily always necessary, especially if there are graphic designers in the project. In any case, it makes sense to be able to do at least image editing and the composition of elements with one program. An IDE, which you can handle very well and which is specifically adapted to your needs, is a must to make your work as effective as possible. Finally, tools for the visualization of ideas and software for mockups and sketching are also worthwhile, so that you can discuss your ideas quickly without having to implement an entire website.
Other skills are also required in everyday working life. Anyone who is self-employed must have business acumen and – less of a soft skill – sufficient knowledge of business administration to conduct their own business. Also relevant in any case is a confident appearance, negotiating skills and the talent to outline an idea clearly and comprehensibly, to understand the wishes of the client and to adapt them appropriately in case of doubt.
Of course there are also web designers who deliberately specialize in something or bring other skills with them, and there is a difference between employed and freelance web designers, especially with regard to soft skills and the required software knowledge. All in all, this list should be a good starting point for everyone, which can be supplemented as desired.
How do you see the role of the web designer? Rather as an all-rounder or do you find a specialization useful?