Technically, web design is how we create the interface of our digital products. So, many may argue that all a web designer needs to fulfill their job is design tools and knowledge that they have already embraced at school. However, things are not that easy. Let’s read on to find out which skills you need to be a proper web designer.
1. Technical skills:
a. Color theory
It’s no doubt that color is one of the most important components of every type of design work. Some consider working with colors is the most exciting part of the whole process, some are terrified of it because a certain color scheme could make or break a website.
To be more specific, a website’s color scheme plays a big role to help users understand and recognize the brand easier. Furthermore, this element may distinguish your business from others.
That’s why having knowledge of color theory is crucial if you want to be a web designer.
Then, how could we make the most of colors in our design?
Firstly, designers should understand what your website is made to serve the visitors not themselves. As a result, personal color references should be put aside.
For example, in case your target users are the elderly, the color set of the website should be more contrast to aid navigation.
Secondly, understanding color psychology is needed too. Each and every color is able to encourage users to embrace the brand’s different messages and feelings that business wants to express. Colors appeared on a website work this way as well.
Nevertheless, executing this task is not easy when you are a beginner. So we suggest these three tools to pick color schemes for you:
Besides, designers should pay attention to the contrasting of the web and know how to put colors in the right place.
While colors can drive our feelings and express messages, a layout is more about making a smooth experience.
A good layout makes the content more accessible and intuitive. That’s the thing keeping visitors stay on the site longer and increasing engagement.
Image: Crazy Egg.
However, each type of website has its own ultimate intentions, and designers should base on them to plan the layout. For instance: an e-commerce site needs to emphasize products and its usages; a portfolio website should focus on showcasing one’s works; a blog/online magazine spares spotlights for the content.
One more tip for you is that when businesses’ purpose may be different, the process to build a good layout stays the same:
A web layout design by Designveloper.
- Step 1: Define the backbone of your website: main purposes/products/services.
- Step 2: Draft the layout of the website: the mission here is to figure out what content you want to feature and their position on the page.
- Step 3: Put all elements (text, images, buttons, etc.) together on your layout and adjust them.
- Step 4: Finalize your product with more detail and be ready to get feedback from others.
Some tools you might need to work with layouts: Mockflow, Responsinator, Screenfly, Browserstack.
Those are two of the most important technical skills when it comes to web designs. Besides, we recommend that you should also learn more about hierarchy, typography, and other web design elements such as buttons, images, etc.
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2. Analytical skill
Analyzing or defining users’ problems and requirements is considered as the most basic task when it comes to design. As the problems are stated, we can base on that to improve the UX and also figure out more ideas for our work.
Image: JUST™ Creative.
Most designers just skip the task analysis work and jump to opening their design tools. However, as stated by Joan Hackos, a communication expert and Janice Redish, a UX consultant, task analysis is good to:
- Understand users’ goals and objectives.
- Draft the detailed process.
- Create nuance, personal, social and cultural experiences to your design.
So, at the moment, your question may be how to perform this step precisely. Fortunately, our experts gave us four cores principles to analyze the work:
- The analysis must include understanding users and their environments.
- It is important to analyze users’ goals.
- Task analysis should involve in all stages of the design process.
- Task analysis depends on many different aspects.
Below are some basic steps to process your task analysis:
- Identify the task to be analyzed.
- Break users’ goals down to subtasks.
- Back up your arguments by all the nuances, motivations and reasons behind. Please note that it’s important to focus on the causes.
- Get review and feedback from someone who was not involved in the process but has enough experience and knowledge to make sharp criticisms.
3. Critical thinking
Everyone knows that bad stuff happens all the time. Things such as unreasonably negative feedbacks, awful practices, etc. would show up during your day, especially when you are a web designer and your clients have little to none knowledge of design theory. This is where critical thinking comes to rescue us.
Image: Toggl Blog.
In general, critical thinking is a skill to improve the way one deals with problems or situations. This technique involves objective evaluation and analysis of the problems, ideas, issues to reach the ultimate solution. Besides, critical thinking helps designers to justifiably criticize their works.
Just like analyzing, critical thinking is not well appreciated by most of the designers. And this very part will show you how to think critically when working with a design process so that it could go as smooth as possible.
According to Larry Larson, a professor from Ohio, there are 9 principles for critical thinking:
- Collect all the necessary information about the situation in hand
- Understand and clearly, define all terms associated with the situation
- Question the methods used to collect the information and the current conclusions
- Understand the hidden assumptions and biases including your own biases and values
- Question the source of facts
- Don’t expect all the answers
- Look at the big picture of the situation rather than the parts
- Examine the multiple cause and effect
- Watch for thought stoppers
The mission of these guidelines here is to free us from biases, mistakes, as well as inaccuracies and make sure that the issue is identified.
And now is the process of critical thinking:
- Observe — Give the work more than a quick glance. Look at the whole and the details. More importantly, we have to collect data and available solutions figured by others.
- Question — Keep asking yourself questions based on your observations. Why does the design work? Why doesn’t it work? What are the different parts doing? Are they contributing to the whole? Detracting from it?
- Answer — Think about the answers to all the questions you’re raising. Being right isn’t important. What is important is you thinking about the answers.
4. Flexibility/learning ability
You may already know that trends are changing every minute. For example, just a second before, brutalism was such a sweetheart of the web design trend. Now it’s gone. Nevertheless, big or small, a certain trend can always affect how we create our design work.
Image: Brutalist Websites.
In other words, we must continuously adapt to changes and trends to survive this fierce race of the industry. This is why designers need to be flexible and have the ability to learn things quickly.
However, trend is not the only thing requiring flexibility and learning ability. Your clients are different, their requirements and problems are different. You cannot treat them as just one person. So the ability to adapt with new or even weird requirements is needed here.
And to possess a flexible mindset, designers must be open-minded, constantly learn and discover new stuff as well as practice frequently.
We hope this article will give you a better insight into what a good web designer should know. And if you are looking for a vendor to realize and make your ideas come true, ping us now!
Designveloper is the leading software development company in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, founded in early 2013 with a team of professional and enthusiastic Web developers, Mobile developers, UI/UX designers, and VOIP experts.