What is a Web Designer?

Are you both creative and technically inclined? You may want to consider a career as a web designer!

Web designers build or redesign websites. They understand what it takes to make a website functional and easy to use, but also understand what is needed to make it aesthetically appealing to the user.

Web design is a rapidly growing industry, as digital media has become part of everyone's lives and people rely on the web for their communications, information, shopping, social life, and more.

What does a Web Designer do?

A web designer's main job is obviously to design web pages. However, there is a lot to consider in the design process.

A web designer sitting at his desk looking over designs.

Web designers create the visual aspects of websites. They meet with clients, online or in person, in order to get a clear picture of the message that needs to be portrayed on the website. Once the details are determined, they create layouts, designs, and features that display the client's services in a way that is appealing to the target audience.

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 pages that the target market can easily use.

For example, a website aimed at children needs to hold a child's attention, and might use bright colors, an easy-to-read font, lots of images, and not too much text. This would make it fun, interactive, and easy to understand. On the other hand, a website aimed at physicians would convey a more serious tone, so would have muted colors, a more professional font, more content, and images that are relevant to the topic being discussed.

All websites, regardless of the audience, must still be easy to navigate, and the information organized in a format that is easy to understand and easy to access. There shouldn't be too many clicks needed to get to any part of the website.

Are you suited to be a web designer?

Web designers have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also enterprising, meaning they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if web designer is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Web Designer like?

The workplace of a web designer will depend on the specific type of company the designer is working for. Web design companies tend to be run by creative people and typically have a contemporary approach to office space, often offering open concept offices where ideas and inspiration can be shared. This type of workplace is likely to have a casual dress code. It may also be acceptable to work from home and flexible work hours are sometimes offered.

Larger companies 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 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. This option gives a lot of freedom with regards to working hours and location, and is a great option.

Frequently Asked Questions

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:

UX 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

Web Design

  • 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
  • up-to-date with all the latest in HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • 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

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See Also
UX Designer

Web Designers are also known as:
Website Designer