Web Designer Job Description - Skills, Tasks, Requirement and Career Path
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Web Designer Job Description
A web designer is a professional who designs and builds websites.
Web designers are responsible for the visual design of a website, its technical functionality and for ensuring that it provides an engaging user experience. A well-made website should ideally combine strong visual appeal with ease and simplicity of navigation.
So what exactly does the job of a web designer involve?
Web designers develop websites based on briefs received from their clients - e.g. companies, organizations, institutions or individuals who need their own website to present themselves, sell their products and advertise their work. A client brief will typically set out the budget available, the required functions, the content and the target audience.
Web designers start by planning the site architecture and sitemap. The aim here is essentially to ensure that the contents of the site content are organized logically. They then work on design of the user interface, which is the visual part of the website that the user interacts with. The user interface includes elements such as buttons, drop-down menus, search boxes, links, icons, scrolling sidebars etc.
The two main aspects a web designer focuses on when designing a website are visual design and usability.
The visual design of a web page is extremely important, as this is the first aspect that the visitor of a website will notice. A website’s visuals needs to be eye-catching and engaging enough to capture the attention of users and encourage them to stay on the site. Key elements of a website’s visual design include the font, colours, layout and images. All of the various visual design elements need to be carefully considered with the target audience and the website’s objectives in mind.
The second key aspect of website design is usability. A visually appealing website with poor functionality will have failed to achieve its goal. The information contained on a website needs to be accessible and navigation should be clear and intuitive. In addition, a website’s structure should not be unnecessarily complex. For example, users should not have to click too many times to get from the home page to the specific page they are searching for. This can be avoided through careful and effective user experience design (UX design).
Once the design stage has been completed, the website creation phase can begin. A website might be developed in code or using a platform such as Wordpress. Web designers need to ensure that the sites they build can be used by both mobile and desktop users - for example by using a responsive design framework.
On very complex website projects, web designers may be assisted with programming tasks by front-end and back-end web developers. They may also need to work with copywriters, videomakers and other professionals who specialize in producing website content.
Before the final version of the website is completed and published online, test versions are often developed with the aim of selecting the best solution (for example, using an A/B testing framework).
When the design has finally been completed, the web designer may be engaged to perform website maintenance and content management (using a content management system or CMS). Web designers with SEO (search engine optimization) skills may be hired to improve the site’s position on the results page of a search engine.
As far as job opportunities are concerned, web designers are sometimes employed in the marketing and communications department of companies, institutions or organizations who have in-house creative teams maintaining and developing their online presence. Alternatively, they may be employed or hired by a web agency, web marketing agency, or consulting firm offering website creation services. Another option is to work as a freelance web designer.
Some job advertisements for web designers offer remote working and flexible hours, while others require their workers’ physical presence on the company premises according to a specific timetable.
Web Designer: Responsibilities and Tasks
The main tasks of a web designer include:
- Design, creation and maintenance of websites, portals and web applications
- Defining the general architecture of a website with the goal of providing maximum accessibility and usability
- Developing web layout and visual design (e.g. font, images, colours)
- HTML and CSS coding based on design layouts
- Uploading and managing web page content
- Website publication (web hosting and domain management)
How to Become a Web Designer - Education, Training and Requirements
Job advertisements for web designers often ask for a high school diploma or degree in a computer or IT-related field.
However, there are also web design courses that aspiring web designers may also attend, covering all of the stages of designing, building and publishing a website (e.g. architecture, multimedia design, content management, domain and hosting management), as well as the use of common web design tools, such as HTML, CSS, Photoshop and Illustrator.
Web designers looking for work opportunities (especially freelance designers) will need to be able to demonstrate their ability, experience and professionalism to any potential employers. To do so, they will need to build up a portfolio containing their best work and make sure that they hold official certification of their skills.
Web Designer Skills and Qualifications
The skills required by a web designer include:
- Ability to design and develop modern, responsive websites
- Ability to create website layouts with visual flair and creativity
- Ability to use professional design and editing software (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)
- Knowledge of Content Management Systems
- Knowledge of principles of website usability
- Precision, reliability, and punctuality
- Ability to work as part of a team
Web Designer Career Path
A career as a web designer typically starts in a junior position (for example with a web agency), which is an opportunity for new recruits to gain experience creating websites, landing pages and portals. As they grow in proficiency, junior designers may eventually progress to a role as senior web designer or, alternatively, may opt for a move into freelance web design.
Another career option is to specialize - for example, in UI and UX design, Wordpress site creation, e-commerce portal design, SEO or web marketing.
Finally, for web designers willing to take time to hone their web programming and web development skills, one particularly interesting specialist opportunity worth exploring is a position as a mobile developer or app developer, i.e. creating applications for use on mobile devices.
Top Reasons to Work as a Web Designer
Why should you consider working as a web designer?
With web designers hired to carry out a vast range of assignments - from the creation of a website with just a handful of pages, right through to the planning, designing and building of vast e-commerce sites and next-generation web applications - the profession offers a variety of stimulating challenges.
Not only that:
As part of their work, web designers also get to keep up-to-date with the latest news and trends in the world of tech and web development.
Finally, another major attraction of the profession is the high level of flexibility it offers, particularly for those who choose self-employment, as a freelance web designer, or who have the option of working remotely.