Web Designing: For the Smart And Artistic

Every organization, every cause, every event, every company, every product has a website. And with almost 20 million websites being registered every year, more are popping up daily.

But before we get in the nitty-gritty of what web design actually is, let’s clarify something. What most people call “web design” is actually two separate careers: Web Designer and Web Developer. Let’s begin by discussing the first one and then we will talk about the second one in a later article.

What does a Web Designer do?

Creating a bad website is easy. It is easy to make it unattractive, disorganized and just generally cluttered. Making a great website is tricky and if you master that skill, you will have companies fighting over you!

Cat Video

Cat Video

So what makes a website great? Is it an awesome color scheme? Or an amazing cat video? Actually it is more a combination of great organization and styling which comes from understanding a bit of psychology and blending it with your artistic talents.

Designing the website takes some amount of artistic capabilities. However, that is generally not enough and professional designers should know principles of design and usability, i.e. they should know how people perceive a design and ways to focus them on the content.

Make sure you are aware of the type of visitors coming to the website. For example, if you are developing a website for a tea wholesaler and a major grocery store like Whole Foods or QFC visits the site, you want to make sure they find everything they will be looking for, like the prices and contact information. After deciding the content, your next step will be to organize the website, putting important and new stuff in the front and organizing the rest in sections.

You are not done though. Since you are no longer designing your own personal websites but being paid to make websites for others, your websites will need to through something called “Usability Testing”. During this, you show your website to different people and ask them for comments and to be successful you will need great communication skills and the ability to handle criticism.

The final step is to code your design using computer languages like HTML and CSS so that a “Web Developer” can use your design.

Is it worth it to learn web design?

Pop open Google and search for “free web designs”. You get millions of results. Those designs are generally useful for personal websites or small businesses/events. Most businesses prefer to hire professional web designers because the pre-made ones are not designed to show off their product in the best way. And to top that, these businesses pay good salaries for web designers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web designers make about $62,000/year with great designers making over $100,000/year.

How do I get started?

One of the great things about Web Design is that you don’t need a Bachelors in Computer Science. Most employers just look for a high school diploma or a GED as a minimum and after that your works speaks for itself.

Learning Web Design Technology

You will need to become an expert in HTML and CSS (two computer languages that are used to describe how a website looks) and have a good understanding of JavaScript (another computer language that helps define part of the website behavior). Also, you need to pick a designing program (Photoshop is quite popular) and become comfortable with it.

You will find a huge amount of information on the Internet about learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Some of the websites we found useful are Codecademy, Team Treehouse and Tuts+ as they offer a more structured approach and guide you through the learning. If you prefer a more traditional setting, you can choose to learn at a community college. Almost every community college offers a certificate or diploma in Web Design.

Learning Usability and Design

Making intuitive websites takes some knowledge of psychology and how people perceive things. This is an important skill and learning this with elevate your design skills. Some colleges offer design and usability courses as non-credit courses while others may offer an Associates diploma which you can get after a GED.

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