Just like any profession, web design also requires constant learning and improvement. The principles and trends have changed drastically since 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee created the global hypertext project, two years later turned into the World Wide Web. Since the Mosaic browser in 1993, things changed drastically for both coding and design. Browsers are used on different platforms, allow for users to build them up to their needs through various add-ons and plugins. And design jumped from simple picture and text ensemble to the works of art requiring designers to constantly work on their skill and expand their knowledge.
To keep up the pace of the ever-changing web design profession, here are the 8 skills you must possess to succeed.
1. Know the whole process
Web design is a sub-form of graphic design, and just like its parent, it evolves very quickly and requires constant attention and learning for a person to keep up with the new and hip users’ expectations. As a web designer, you must be familiar with the principles of design process like color, balance, proportion, and spacing. Mastering these will help you create interesting and appealing websites which will not only attract users with their good looks and modern outline but will also be functional and help them find what they’re looking for. When you start doing something, start from the basics in order to understand it and then build up your knowledge and upgrade it from there.
2. Master the coding
At the beginning, there was only the web designer and code. They had to visualize what they want before it appeared and then learn from their mistakes. Today, there are programs that allow their users to create web pages without any special knowledge of programming. As perfect as this sounds, the basic knowledge of HTML could get any web designer much further than the mere clicking, dragging and positioning objects on the site. Mastering the basics of HTML used by every web page will help designers to create useful and efficient sites for the users. It will also help you be innovative and maybe one of the trendsetters in the design field.
3. Be an editor
The complexity of web design can be noticed through various professions one must know, at least on the basic level, to be able to create the great content. One of those is the content editing. You don’t have to possess good writing skills, but you must be able to know what is a good, quality and required material for the type of site your building. While you may only be hired to create the look, being able to distinguish good from bad content will only raise your skills to the higher levels. The best way to do so is by carefully reading materials from the pages similar to the one you’re creating and following the research on the users’ preferences and expectations of the content.
4. Get to know how marketing works
Websites today are also the perfect marketing tools for many businesses, organizations and individuals. Whether they’re selling something or just promoting a cause, website owners expect to achieve certain goals when it comes to their visitors. Usually, websites expressively used as the marketing tool are created and developed by the agencies like Webwings, for example, but that doesn’t relieve you from the obligation to know how it all works. Sometimes the very design will require of you to integrate the marketing elements into it and you will have to be familiar with end-results of such actions.
5. Never stop learning
The trick to being successful in any field is through constant learning. There’s always someone who will be better than you and you must keep up with them. It’s true that talent is important, but also is hard work, dedication, and diligence, as well as being able to overpass your ego and accept there are things you don’t know. Also, you must never lose the sight of new trends that are constantly showing up in the design world, which makes it a discipline which requires you to be vigilant and ready to change quickly.
6. Work on your business skills
At the beginning, the majority of web designers are freelancing and that is a perfect reason to work on the business aspects of this profession. This means that no matter if you continued freelancing, founded your own company or started working for one, you must know how to earn the money with web design. This means that the website is more than just the tool to present a business, but also can be a great opportunity to make money. So, either take a business course or go through various tutorials and e-learning seminars, but don’t fall behind with your business knowledge.
7. Be organized
Organizing yourself is probably the hardest thing you will have to learn, especially if you like to be creatively messy. But without a proper plan, you are doomed to fail. So, before starting to work on any website, ask yourself what are the goals you want to reach and start planning how to reach them one by one. One of the important elements of the organization is also being methodical and practical, so make sure that you think from the standpoint of a user and not only the designer. After all, you’re creating a website to incite a reaction from the visitors which will be beneficial for you both.
8. Listen, don’t impose
When you work with people, you have to develop social skills and work on existing ones. There’s a saying that “Every man is an island” and it also applies to web design. Namely, you will have clients, whether companies or individuals, which will require of you something that you think is not appropriate or disagree with. Before you voice your contra-argument, listen to what they have to say and observe it as a web design professional. If you think that there are better ways to achieve what they want, express it constructively and through examples which they’ll understand. Have in mind that your clients are mostly not aware of the web design process, so instead of being agitated by their ignorance, try to explain it to them in a simple and comprehensible manner.
If you want to be the best, then you have to be great at learning and willing to sacrifice some of your free time to constantly work on developing new necessary and useful skills to your trait. Asking questions is not embarrassing and doesn’t diminish your reputation. If anything, it shows you are a professional and someone who is dedicated to being the best in what you do and thus provide the best work and services.