Web Designers devise the architecture or structure of a site, design the look and feel, and incorporate features such as e-commerce, community chats/forums, search engines, animations, interactive applications, and much more. While doing this, they also ensure that the site’s overall design is compatible with the technologies supporting it. Everything that a Web Designer does to a site determines whether people will stay, go, and/or come back.
The manner in which success is measured is dependant upon the goal. If the site’s goal is to generate e-commerce, sales results will be the determining factor. If the objective is to generate advertising or subscriptions, ad and subscription revenue will provide the measure of success. Some sites are made simply to create and improve brand awareness, making it more difficult to gauge the Web Designer’s performance. A working knowledge of marketing will certainly assist you no matter what your venture.
Most Web Designers are salaried employees, working for advertising agencies, consulting firms, and other organizations. However, there are also a growing number of freelancers breaking into the market. Your outlet should be based upon the working environment that is best for you.
Technology and Training
The internet is constantly evolving. New technologies, techniques, and design standards are developed on a daily basis to make websites more functional and user friendly. If Web Design interests you, you must commit yourself to learning new skills on a fairly ongoing basis.
Web Designers all work differently. Some use complex scripts and programming languages, while others prefer not to. No matter what your specialty, every designer must have knowledge of HTML and graphic design software. HTML is the basic computer language for creating web pages and graphics. Free tutorials are available online and just about every college offers HTML courses. While HTML is not hard to learn, there is quite a bit to memorize. Keep a printed guide or cheat sheet of everything you learn for easy referral.
As valuable as technical skills are, they will not ensure your success as a Web Designer. The user interface (UI) is the most important part of any website. The UI is what people see when they come to a site, for example- the home page or the navigation by which they move through the site. Catchy graphics, animated images, stylish fonts, color schemes, and other elements make the website visually appealing to a user. Many times, these are the things that will bring get people interested in the site. Because there is so much competition on the web, you need to be very creative to produce something that will stand out and bring people back to your product.
Whether you work as part of a web development team or as an independent contractor, you will need a good imagination, technological and design skill, and a penchant for marketing. Web Designers are involved in a constant cycle of creation, troubleshooting, and publishing. Your work will be viewed and judged by thousands of people on a daily basis. As satisfying and exhilarating as that can be, it can also make you feel the pressure of a high profile position.
If you have doubts on whether or not web design is for you, test out the profession by taking some of the free design and HTML courses that are available online. Try applying your newly acquired knowledge by building an actual website. There are many free domain and hosting plans available to internet users.
Overall, Web Design is a very exciting profession. You can receive training at little or no cost, you can work from home, and you can become part of a rapidly growing profession that is respected and revered by many.