Web design

Basic Guidelines to Becoming a Web Designer

web-designAs more and more businesses go online there is a constant demand for creative web designers who can make a company's offer stand out against many others, some of whom may be in the same line of business.

Web designing is for those who have deep interest in all things IT and have a real creative flair. They need to bring that creativity and their technical know-how to designing or redesigning websites. Not only do they need to make the website look visually attractive to catch the frequently short attention spans of surfers; they also need to understand how the site will work to its best advantage.

Web designer duties

The world of web design is extremely varied. One project may involve setting up a complex online shopping site; another may involve serving up a visual treat for a photographer or filmmaker, whilst another could be redesigning a series of sites for the military. Universities, colleges and school all need input from web designers, as does local and federal government.

There are several main duties a web designer is likely to do. These include:

  • finding out from clients what they require their site to do and securing a good understanding of the type of internet user they expect to view it
  • developing an initial design plan to show how the site is to be structured and how the different parts are linked together
  • preparing page layouts with pictures, links and buttons, and adding multimedia features such as video, animation and sound
  • testing and debugging the site so that everything works as planned
  • transmitting the site for upload and online publication.

The management of projects will vary, so a designer may be asked to train an employee of the client's to monitor and maintain the site, or be on call to do this, usually remotely.


Many web designers start out simply because of their interest in computers and what they can do, such as gaming, picking up ideas and tuition from the Internet and experimenting with possibilities. Although web designers may not always need formal qualifications they should have, as a minimum, a high school diploma-if this shows good skills in computer and computer-related subjects that will be a huge advantage.

Any web designer must have a good working knowledge of various computer languages and coding, in particular Javascript and HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). Other useful languages would include PHP (Pre-Hypertext Processing) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Programs such as Codeigniter, Dreamweaver and Photoshop are also key tools in web design work.

Many of these skills are taught on college courses, and as part of becoming a web designer a student may want to explore an interactive media design degree, or diplomas or degrees in digital media development or interactive computing. Colleges and universities offer courses on computer science and IT, and web designers will usually continue to increase their skill levels as they progress.

Some specialist web design companies may take on trainees that show a particular aptitude for the job, especially those who have worked hard to teach themselves. The best way to enter the profession without specific qualifications is to be able to show evidence of technical and creative skills, demonstrating through a DVD, CD or ‘live' websites the individual's expertise that can be brought to the employer.

Job prospects

As the demand for web designers is likely to grow there are excellent prospects for jobs in the future. Experienced web designers may be embedded in an organization, with an overarching brief to continue the development and effective operation of a website. Others may start their own web design businesses and contract out their services to clients.

A junior web developer may start on a salary between $35-40,000 and the median salary for web designers is around $62,000, so there is every incentive to train and gain experience to move into the higher salary brackets.

Those who set up their own businesses will negotiate a fee depending on the nature and complexity of the project and have the potential to make significant amounts of money.

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