Becoming a Seasoned Web Designer
If you are interested in working in tech space, specifically taking on a role that is embedded in online space and remote environment, you can consider building a career in web design. A solid website is the core of most companies’ marketing strategies. Let's say, you are curious about a company, their website is often the first place you'd go to, right? Without web developers, many websites that exist today would neither be as polished nor useful as they currently are.
When designing websites, understanding the basic building blocks of the entire web is instrumental. Seasoned web designers have both the technical ability to make functional websites and the creativity to craft an experience that potential users appreciate.
Whether or not you have prior experience, here are some steps you can take on at the beginning of your web design journey.
Learn the basic theories of web design
Picking up a new skill always comes with learning the fundamentals. Web design has its fair share of basic theory and you can find quality resources from Webflow that will teach you how to get started. Other than these beginner courses, YouTube also has plenty of tutorials that provide useful tips on web design for beginners.
A web designer’s job primarily focuses on creating the layout and visual aspects of a website, according to a client’s needs. Other than ensuring that users stick around due to eye-catching aesthetics and intuitive interface, web designers consider latest design trends in order to keep updated with what features present-day users are gravitating towards.
Some web designers have a specific niche either in user experience (UX) or user interface (UI). While UX designers focus on providing a good experience for a website’s visitors, UI designers prioritise the usability of a website.
Learn front-end development
In the past, web designers often used Photoshop to create mock-ups of website pages before handing them over to web developers. Now, there is increasing demand for web designers who can combine an up-to-date design ethos with solid front-end programming knowledge. Front-end development entails how visual elements are coded and presented to the end user. Learning the three primary languages of front-end development is paramount when bringing your designs to life with code:
- HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is the standard markup language for creating web pages. HTML describes the structure of a website and consists of a series of elements that tell the browser how to display your content.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language such as HTML. These include styling information such as the layout, width, font, and others.
Here are some online resources for you to start your foray into the world of front-end web development. Learning how to code is, without a word, an essential skill for any web developer.
By understanding the building blocks of a website, the quality of your designs will only improve. With knowledge of the code that goes behind the designs, you are able to pinpoint whether or not your mock-ups are feasible enough to be translated into reality.
Tools of the trade
After reading the above, you may already have a semblance of what it takes to be a successful web designer. You may still be wondering, however, which software you should be proficient in. Here are a few useful tools that cover several aspects of web design.
- A solid grasp on graphic design can be helpful when trying to solve issues that crop up during web design. A graphics editor, such as Adobe Photoshop, is good to learn. Skills such as creating layouts, resizing, or cropping images can be easily done through Photoshop.
- Code editors are a must. Good code editors such asSublime serve as a stable foundation for all your future projects.
- Specific web design tools that can be utilised once having a grasp on the fundamentals include Figma and Sketch. These are usually used once you are attached to clients.
If you prefer a dedicated software that handles both design and technical aspects, Adobe Dreamweaver is a flexible web design and development software that helps to build websites holistically. Building websites entirely from the visual editor, code or both, Dreamweaver’s application design accommodates your workflow. Dragging and dropping elements in the application creates the necessary code for you. Once created, you can further flesh out the code in the built-in code editor. Working on code first allows users to track visual changes alongside the writing. Working in Dreamweaver favours web designers who already have certain coding and design skills. Building websites that are able to maximise Dreamweaver’s capability will take time. This skill can be grown over time in your web design journey.
Getting started and finding clients
Before you start marketing yourself to potential clients, you can take on various design projects and freelance work in order to build your portfolio and improve your skills. Creating a personal website is helpful in practising your design and coding skills in a stress free environment. By understanding how you want to be portrayed on the internet, it can lead to realising the nuances that your future clients seek for in their design ethos.
Fiverr is a prime example of testing your web design service on the market, allowing you to cross-reference with other sellers with regards to pricing and extent of design needs. You can offer your web design service to local establishments that lack online presence, once you have some work done in your portfolio.
After building up your portfolio, you can market yourself in an effective way by offering consolidated services. As you are able to provide both design and subsequent front-dev development coding needs, companies may be more willing to work with you as they avoid having to hire additional people. The important thing is to keep designing once you have the fundamentals, whether it be for personal projects or for freelance work. Your skills will develop and you will no doubt be walking the path of a dedicated web designer.