Web design is the planning and creation of websites and it can be both an exciting and rewarding career, especially as more and more industries are creating an online presence. Skilled Web designers spend their working day building impressive websites that not only look great and reflect the clients brand but are also technically solid and customised to the business needs. We’ve compiled a list of ten skills web designers need in order embark on a successful career, whether they work freelance or as part of a digital marketing agency like Gorilla Marketing.
1. Visual Design Sense
A good sense of design and aesthetic is key for web designers in order to create appealing websites. There are many design principles that determine what your website will look like visually. Some things to think about are proportion, layout, typography and colour schemes. However, web design isn’t just about how good the site looks as it can differ from other forms of design and comes with its own challenges.
2. UX Design
UX is an abbreviation for user experience meaning how visitors feel when using a website. Is it a simple process that they find pleasant or is it a confusing website that is causing them to feel frustrated? It is important that web designers approach the way they design with the user’s perspective in mind and build the site to ensure all necessary information is easily accessed. More and more people now use their mobile to search and visit sites so it is also important for web designers to ensure their sites are mobile responsive and easy for these users to navigate too.
3. Design Software & tools
Every skilled worker requires the correct tools for the job. Knowing the pros and cons of the options available to you is specialised knowledge in itself. It is possible to use a CMS like WordPress to create great looking websites either from scratch or with the aid of templates. There are also a large number of plugins and extra features out there to create exactly what your client requires. Graphic design skills, such as creating logos or photo editing, are also beneficial as a designer so knowing away around tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator is a bonus.
4. HTML & CSS
Over the years, being able to understand and apply code has become more of a requirement for web design jobs. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is used to insert content and structure a web page. Web designers should arm themselves with basics at least as it is a huge advantage when solving any problems and is a great skill to have going forward. CSS is also at the foundation of website building although it is more involved in the visual appearance than the structure of a page. It allows you to adjust colours, fonts, and backgrounds.
6. Web Server Administration
Although it may not be one of the first areas of knowledge website designers begin to build on, it can be increasingly important in the long run that you have an understanding of the web server your sites use to run. If you are able to solve potential problems regarding the server then your site should run faster and with fewer issues. Similarly, if you know how the server responds to websites and functions then an experienced web designer would then be able to create a site that performs very effectively.
7. Time Management
Time management is often thought of as a soft skill for web designers, but without it, you would struggle to keep up to date with your workload. This is true for both freelance web designers and those who work as part of a team. Great web designers need to manage their time and develop a process that works for them. Project management is a similar skill and involves being able to juggle tasks and priorities. Working on these skills can separate the good web designers from the great.
Communication is another skill that isn’t remotely exclusive to web design but it is vital to success. It may be a good idea to work on your presentation skills in order to gain clients and explain your services. It’s also important that clients are kept up-to-date with the progress of their business website or project and that you are able to put your thoughts and expertise across without issue. If you include content writing services then communication is also key as you need to have a real understanding of your client’s product or project and put this into the written word.
Knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can be extremely useful for web designers. Even a basic understanding of the factors that affect organic ranking (what page your site appears on Google or similar engines) can be really beneficial when designing a website. Factors like content, inbound links, and site performance all play a role. The more attractive a website is to search engines the better it will rank and the more visible it will be to potential visitors.
10. Business/Client Management
In order for a successful career as a web designer, you will need some business associated skills to ensure your company is profitable and heading in the right direction. It is a good idea to consider your goals and finances whether you are a freelance designer or part of a team as this information can assist in decision making and long-term planning too. Like in all industries, web designers should provide a great level of customer service as part of client management to ensure a good working relationship.
Web Designers at Gorilla Marketing
Gorilla Marketing offers customisable websites built by Manchester’s most highly skilled web designers. Our team of specialists and developers work together to design and implement great websites for businesses both local, national or international. We have a wealth of technical knowledge, industry experience and a real understanding of the importance a website has for a business. We work with you to create a website that represents your brand and vision as well as performing great and bringing in revenue.