What is a Web Designer?
A web designer is someone who is both creative and technically inclined, and uses both these attributes to build or redesign websites. The web designer has the ability to understand what is needed to make a website functional and easy to use, but at the same time make it aesthetically appealing to the user.
Web design is a relatively new industry, having been created with the advent of the internet, and is gaining popularity in particular over the last ten years, as digital media has become a major part of many people's lives. Most people rely on the web for their communications, information, shopping, social life and more. The demand for web designers has been growing rapidly and the industry is currently considered a good one with relation to job prospects and future growth.
What does a Web Designer do?
A web designer's main job is to design web pages. There is a lot to consider in the design of websites which may not be immediately apparent when looking at a webpage for the first time.
The aesthetic aspect is an important one and selecting the appropriate colors, font, layout and images creates the whole personality of the website. In addition to considering aesthetic aspects, the usability of the website has to be a priority. It is important to create a page that the target market can relate to.
For example, a website aimed at children needs to hold their attention, and might use bright colors and an easy-to-read font, with a lot of images and not too much text. This would make it fun, attractive and easy to understand. The layout and structure must be easy to follow, and most pages should not be too many clicks deep into the website in order to keep the information easy to access. Contrarily, a professional website aimed at physicians must convey a different kind of image, but must still be easy to read and the information organized in a format that is easy to access.
The web designer is in control of the entire website and must understand how to create the appropriate image while ensuring the website is easy to use and the information is easy to access.
What is the workplace of a Web Designer like?
The workplace will depend on the specific type of company the designer is working for. A web design company tends to be part of the creative industries and will typically have a contemporary approach to office space. These types of companies often employ ideas thought to enhance the creative process and aim to create open offices where ideas and inspiration can be shared. This type of workplace is likely to have a casual dress code and attract a younger worker. It may be acceptable to work from home and flexible work hours might be offered.
Some large corporations that rely on their web presence for a lot of their business may have in-house web designers and this kind of workplace is likely to be a bit more traditional.
A lot of web designers do freelance work and will work from home. Their home office will be set up entirely as they choose, although they may have to be prepared to travel to consult with clients, and work environments may vary depending on the type of client or company they are working with. This option gives a lot of freedom with regards to working hours and location, and is a great option.
What is the difference between UX design and web design?
Generally, people associate the word design (when it comes to tech) only with visual design or web design. However, UX design, which stands for 'user experience design' focuses on the user or customer experience, and is the 'behind the scenes' or invisible side of design.
The following is a comparison between UX design and web design:
- is user-focused vs technology-focused; platform independent
- handles the technologies, constraints and conventions of multiple platforms
- aims to deeply understand how a user thinks and feels about a product; its focus is on the user's habits, needs, emotions, goals, and expectations
- principles and processes can be applied outside of web browsers: on mobile apps, desktop software, hardware products, retail spaces etc.
- focuses on creation, implementation or construction according to a plan
- involves user research and usability testing, interaction design, content strategy
- involves brainstorming ideas, sketching and refining
- involves conducting surveys and A/B split tests, creating user profiles, wireframes, and prototypes
- develops personas, user scenarios, navigational elements, sitemaps and site audits
- frames information architecture, designs visuals in Photoshop
- frames a solution or strategy to deliver the best experience to the user
- handles visual design, prototyping, usability testing, front-end development and data analysis
- handles post-launch maintenance and continuous integration of improvements
- is technology-focused vs user-focused
- does not take the human-centred approach of UX design
- limited in that the domain of web design is strictly tied to a web platform
- has extensive knowledge of graphic design and website design principles
- involves being visual, inspired and creative and having foresight and creativity
- always aware of any changes within the web landscape
- focuses on design and on the visual elements of a website or application
- involves excellent understanding of graphic design, colour schemes, button design, interface design, Photoshop/Illustrator, navigational design, page architecture and file preparation
- knows the latest techniques of cross-browser compatibility and innovations in markup, style and behaviour
- aligns the interface with a brand's colours, fonts and identity
- makes sure that the visuals are compelling for the user
- places the content in the interface so that it is aesthetically pleasing and is easy for the user to understand
Web Designers are also known as: