Career in Focus: Web Designer

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What does it take to become a Web Designer? Here at Postgrad.ie, we break down the skills and qualifications you need to take on a career in this area.

With a company’s online presence more important than their physical presence, the work of a web designer has taken on a fundamental role in today’s business world. However it’s not just about design, a web designer will also need to be part programmer, part data analyst and also understand UX.

What makes a good website?

At its core, web design is about creating an online presence that works for the user and delivers for the business, organisation or individual. A web designer needs a good eye for pleasing aesthetics and design and must has a sound grasp of creative technologies. It’s important they understand how good design can be delivered in an online environment in the most practical way, whatever the device or platform.

A good website follows a strict concept of design, visual appearance, easy navigation and functional coding on the backend that makes all this work. It’s vital that a web designer has a full comprehension of the ever-changing nature of technology and the methods of delivering online content.

Education Background

Those from either a visual arts or a tech background will be particularly primed for a career in web design but they will be starting from entirely different points. A creative person will need to learn the coding and web architecture that underpins each and every website, while those from the tech/coding side will need to develop their creative skills in order to translate their code into the best possible product. If you’re working for an agency, you will likely need to adapt to their way of doing things and delivering online product. If you are freelance, however,  you will need to often find a compromise with clients. They may want elements on their site that you know will not deliver for them and you will also need to balance your creativity with commercial awareness.

Skills Needed

Having a grasp of user design, also known as UX, will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each site you work on. A good web designer delivers sites that are dynamic and continues to evolve and improve them in line with the wishes and demands of the client. The principles of UX are based upon what visitors expect to see on the site and what they expect to find within various sections. Your UX must be as streamlined as possible, with as little work as you can manage for the user, particularly if there is a checkout process involved.

Technology

In terms of the packages you will be using from a design perspective, industry standard ones include the Adobe suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, Animate, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Premiere Pro and/or Audition). From a coding perspective, it’s impossible to deliver a great site if you’re only concerned with aesthetics; you need to know how it all will work. This means you will need some knowledge of languages such as HTML/CSS, Java, Flash, PhP, Python and SQL. You don’t need to be a developer, of course, but you need to know how these function within the parameters of the languages. Making your site streamlined and functional will greatly boost your earning potential too, as will knowledge of SEO, Adwords, and PPC etc.

A good resource for information on this is www.thebrandgeeks.com – a great way of keeping up to date with trends in the industry.


admin

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