The pandemic has been challenging for all of us. People have been furloughed, ended careers, or shuttered their own businesses. This has caused many to start looking at new careers to start. Whether you fit into one of those situations or you are looking to change directions, the field of becoming a web designer can be lucrative.
Multiple studies, surveys and reports from independent businesses and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate there is a tech talent shortage. The good news is that this all means that it’s the perfect time to start looking at a career in the tech industry.
Today, we’re going to highlight what it looks like to be a web designer and the type of work you would do on a regular basis. We are even running a Web Design Bootcamp later this month to help kickstart your career in becoming a web designer.
What is a Web Designer?
What is a web designer? In a nutshell, a web designer refers to a designer who creates digital assets for a website. A web designer’s goal focuses on the overall appearance of a website and the layout structure. At times, a web designer may even work on the web content seen on a site.
The website’s look includes imagery, font, and colors displayed on the website. The layout structure of a website relates to how the aesthetics on a site is organized. When it comes to creating a great web design, less is always more. Excellent web design layouts often are easy to use and also represent a brand well.
Visually, unique web design layouts are appealing to the users too. Successful webpage layouts are usually created to be simple to use so that the website is user-friendly. If a web design isn’t user-friendly, most likely, users will not return to the site. Web designers always want their websites to have good user interaction (UI) because it eliminates any possibility of user frustration.
Ways to create a good UI
You need to consider a wide range of people that could be viewing your work. They will have a variety of needs, some might have disabilities, and you could face a lot of opinions about what makes good design.
Because of this, it’s important to make sure you take into account these factors when creating, as they will help you build a foundation for your UI to live.
My dad taught me a long time ago that often the right solution to a problem is the simpler one. And that holds true in everything I’ve come across in my career. (If we’re honest, I’m sure there were several times he told me to K.I.S.S or “Keep it simple stupid”)
Trained designers and artists often want their works of art to be shown in museums or art exhibits. I’ve seen many works of art over the years that are delicate, intricate, beautiful pieces. They take years to create, and often times many years later do we actually see what the artist was trying to achieve
Building a web page is different. Web pages are about getting core concepts out to the user. Showing them key pieces of information. If they are too complex, the user might not understand what the point you are trying to make or what you want them to do on the page.
If it’s too simple, they might think they don’t have enough information to make an informed decision. That could lead to low to zero sales of the product you are trying to sell.
That is why it is important for your design to practice the art of simplicity. It’s about finding the balance between being art and getting the message across. At the end of the day, good UI takes into account both the message and the art and gives users enough context to make it clear and easy to comprehend.
Commonly Used Layout and Consistency
There’s a saying in woodworking about sanding with the grain. No matter what euphemism you use, it’s all the same meaning. It’s better for your users if you use common layouts that are seen on most websites.
Users are already familiar with how to navigate the site, where to look for certain objects, where the core content is, etc. This is actually also really useful to you, as you can ensure your users are going through a journey on your site to where you want them to go.
If you are a blog, you want your users to be educated or learn something. If you are doing eCommerce, you want your users to purchase what you are selling.
By using common layouts, you can predict how your users will feel and act on your pages.
Focus on Page Layout
Marketing statistics can tell you how many pages a user views before making a purchase decision. They can tell you how long you are on a page or what pages convert better than others.
As a web designer, your job is to help improve those metrics. When you are building out a website, it’s often your job to make sure that your design will assist users in navigating the site to get to the vital information and content on the site.
Ultimately leading the user to the goal.
When you look at a whole site, you will have several different layouts to help your users navigate your site. You could have layouts specific for:
- Home Page
- Sales Page
- Support / Contact
- Checkout / Cart
Each of these layouts are designed to help your users navigate through your site. Some of these are basic and you keep them consistent with what other websites in your industry do (see above), but that doesn’t always mean you have to.
(And yes, I’m going to contradict myself here.)
As a web designer, you have a number of concepts to think about as you approach a layout of a page. I’ve tried to collect a few to get you started thinking about.
- Add negative space to provide visual weight – Negative space drives attention towards elements that may be important to the user to understand.
- Separate sections for specific audiences or features – Make it easy for a user to identify with an element and let them navigate over there. An easy example of this would be a clothing store. Separating out clothing to “Men, Women, Kids” is a prime example of creating sections of your website out.
- Use focal points to draw attention to certain elements – Focal points are great at immediately drawing attention to an element from your users. In fact, you will have your users half-way to conversion because they will concentrate their attention on those focus points and are more inclined to take action.
- Tell a story – Your layout can tell a store. Consider each element on the page and how it relates to the story you are wanting to tell.
As you can see, there is a lot that can go into a page layout. And I’m only briefly covering what could go into a layout.
Understanding The Importance of Typography
I’m going to come right out and say it. Typography is a vital component of user interface design. It will establish a strong visual hierarchy, provide graphic balance to the web site and set the product’s overall tone.
Ultimately, typography should guide and inform your users, optimize readability and accessibility and ensure an excellent user experience.
Typography is a whole area of conversation and something that we could go really deep into at a later date.
Instead, here’s what I’ll tell you. As a web designer you are going to want to make sure you understand a couple of key concepts to get started.
Web design commonly relates to designing websites seen on the world wide web. Most of the time, web design refers to the overall experience between the user and the website itself.
Web design relates to the appearance of a site as well as it is usability. Historically, web design was primarily concerning designing sites for web browsers on the PC and MAC. Nowadays, web design is equally vital for both tablets and mobile browsers too.
How to Speak Unicorn
If all of this is sounding really interesting to you, sign up for the free webinar on Feb. 11th that will give you an idea of how all the concepts mentioned will go into your tool belt of becoming a web designer.
And when you are ready, consider enrolling in the Web Design Bootcamp that is happening at the end of the month.
AJ brings over two decades of experience working on and developing membership sites with a wide range of clients.