Web designing is not only a skill but an art form, which is why it is not something that everyone can do well. Every web designer has certain skills that they are better at than others. The following seven skills are must-haves for any quality web designer, and if you possess all seven you can join the ranks of the extraordinarily talented web designers.
1. Creative Thinking
Often when a person approaches a web designer, it is with ideas about how they want their website to look and function, but it takes a creative mind to take those ideas and combine them with great design concepts to turn out a product that meets the needs of the client. Typically the process is not clear cut and will require some patience to gain a clear picture of what the customer wants, and it is the designer’s job to pull all those ideas into something cohesive.
While taking into consideration the customer’s vision of the final design it is likely to require the web designer to offer suggestions and ideas for the client to consider. The web designer is the expert and knows how to create what the client is envisioning but often the customer has little understanding of whether their ideas can and will work. The best web designers take the client’s ideas and improve upon them.
2. Understand UI/UX Design
The internet is full of websites of every quality level, but one of the things that make one site stand out from the rest is how user-friendly the interface is. Searchers have a very short attention span and any website that makes navigation difficult is likely to be bounced out of quickly. Being able to understand what it takes to create an interface that is user-friendly is crucial when designing a website.
Looking at how visitors will interact with a website will provide the web designer with an indication of how the user interface should function. Website visitors do not want to ‘work’ to navigate their way around a website so making the design as user-friendly as possible is a skill that every web designer should have. Strategically placing buttons, tabs, search fields and the like should be part of the interface design so that visitors to the site can easily locate and use them.
The web designer should have a clear understanding of how the client wants visitors to the site to interact with it and design the interface accordingly. When people have a less than ideal experience with a particular website they are very unlikely to return, with the percentage thought to be as high as 88%. Test, tweak, test every aspect of the interface again until you are satisfied that it meets the need of both the client and the potential visitors to the website. An experienced and skilled web designer will have a wealth of knowledge regarding which elements of an interface are more user-friendly than others and can advise the client accordingly.
3. Understand Mobile Design
The number of people accessing the internet from mobile devices is growing at an astonishing rate, so it is natural that being able to understand how to design with mobile in mind is critical. As the number continues to rise mobile design is only going to become even more important. As the demand for mobile-friendly website design grows, it will be necessary for web developers to stay alert to new design ideas that cater to mobile searchers and shoppers.
4. Basic Knowledge of Coding
Some argue that knowing how to code is not a skill required by web designers today because the drag-and-drop tools available allow them to create web designs that are responsive and attractive without the need to know coding, but others believe that any quality web designer should be aware how to code. At the very least web designers should have a basic understanding of coding i.e. CSS and HTML to expand the scope of their web designing.
5. Project Management
Being organized and proactive when working on a design project can be skills that make one web designer more desirable to work with than another. Being able to lead well but at the same time be flexible enough to change course when the project demands it is all skills that can be of advantage to a web designer.
6. Communication Skills
When working within a team, it is critical that a web designer can communicate well with other members of the team. The sharing of ideas and visions is what helps a team of designers come up with the concept and then by continually communicating with one another the idea develops into the final design. As well as other team members a web designer may be required to interact with the client and this will need exceptional communication skills to both listen to and understand the client’s vision as well as specific ideas back to him or her. Being friendly, patient and calm will go a long way to providing the customer with a good experience.
7. Unique Style
While beginners may find it particularly helpful to look at other web designs to get ideas at the end of the day, it is important for a web designer to find and develop their style. Trying to learn and use every design style that is trending will not serve a web designer well. It is by far the better option to create a style that is unique and will be proven successful time and time again.