They determine not only the appearance of websites but also how users experience them. Web designers may also maintain websites and work on search engine optimisation. Web designers work for a variety of organisations. They can be found in the marketing teams of large companies but also working for IT consultancies and specialist web design companies. Experienced web designers may be self-employed.
Typically, a web designer will:
- Meet with clients to understand their requirements and subsequently update them on progress
- Present initial design ideas to clients
- Produce sample page layouts, known as ‘wireframing’
- Receive feedback from clients about draft sites and make necessary amendments
- Design the physical imagery, graphics and animations of new websites
- Review inventory levels and ensure product availability
- Choose colours and backgrounds for websites and position buttons, icons, links and photos
- Liaise with graphic designers and copywriters
- Ensure the ‘look’ of new websites adheres to company branding and client requirements
- Edit and proofread text content and grammar
- Ensure websites meet accessibility and privacy standards
- Install security protections on websites
- Test new websites to ensure everything is working
- Ensure websites function on a variety of devices
- Register web domain names
- Upload new websites to a server
- Present clients with finished websites
- Redesign websites and debug code
- Work on search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Keep up to date with software and technology developments
- Communication and listening skills: As a web designer you will not spend all your time in front of a computer screen. You will also have to interact with customers and understand what they require from the website you are tasked with building. Therefore you need the ability to explain technical issues to people who have little IT knowledge. And be attentive to what they want.
- Creative skills: At root, being a web designer is about designing unique websites. Keeping abreast of new trends and technical developments may help.
- Project management skills: Web designers are usually very busy and have to juggle multiple projects each with their own deadline.
A first degree is usually expected. IT, computer science or engineering graduates are best placed but any subject is acceptable. Postgraduate conversion courses are possible for students without relevant degrees. Non-graduate training in web design can be very useful. The UK Web Design Association is worth consulting for this.
Two to three years’ experience in web design is sometimes desired. But this level of experience is not always necessary provided you have an impressive portfolio of work to show potential employers. This can be in the form of a DVD or just links to sites you have designed.
£18,000-£40,000 per annum. Salaries for web designers are often dependent on experience.
Web designers are expected to work late to meet deadlines. Working from home is not unheard of in this field. There will be some travelling in order to meet clients.
Your next steps may include:
- UX/UI Designer
- SEO manager
- Web content manager
- Head of digital
A web designer’s perspective
"Working in today’s digital world, web design is one of the most creatively challenging roles. It combines the traditional design process of solving a specific problem with being forward thinking and creative enough to capture people’s attention in seconds. It’s often tough and demanding but the reward of seeing a super-slick website that you’ve designed improving a business or organisation is massively satisfying."
-Rich With, creative director,The Grow Creative Co.