The role of a web designer involves creating new websites as well as updating and maintaining existing ones. It involves working closely with clients to understand their requirements. You will typically design, lay out and code websites, incorporating graphics, sound and video.
As a web designer you could work as part of a marketing team in a large organisation, an IT consultancy or a specialist web design company. You could also work freelance on a self-employed basis, once you have built sufficient experience.
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Usually, a web designer will:
- Work with clients to understand their requirements and keep them updated on progress
- Present design ideas to clients
- Produce sample page layouts, known as ‘wireframing’
- Receive feedback from clients about draft sites and make any necessary adjustments
- 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: You will also have to interact with customers and understand what they require from the website you are tasked with creating. Therefore you need the ability to explain technical issues to people who have little IT knowledge. And be attentive to what they want, following client wants and needs.
Creative skills: A web designer must have a creative eye when it comes to 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.
You’re not confined to one specific industry: Web designers can take projects from any business in virtually any industry today. This limits the repetitive boredom that can strike many other career opportunities in our fast paced world today.
Working from any location: As long as there is an internet connection, you’re going to be able to work, so you can work from the comfort of your own home, for example, whilst getting on with other daily activities, instead of spending time commuting.
- Earn a competitive salary: As an established web designer your skills will be in high demand so you can expect to be rewarded with a generous income and therefore lead a comfortable life.
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.
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.
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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.