What Does A Career In Web Design Involve?

Web designers are at the forefront of how we interact with the Internet in our daily lives – for example when we gather information, shop, find directions, and meet friends. A long and successful career in web design requires a blend of artistic talent, technical knowledge, business mindset and people skills. While some characteristics of a successful web designers may come naturally, there are other aspects which can be learned.

Technical know-how required for web design

1. Design

You need a range of design skills to be a web designer. While you don’t need to study a fine arts degree, a web designer will need to know typography, grid layouts, proportions, hierarchy, and how to work colour palettes; all of which are core design principles to help you set out the look and feel of a website.

While designing a site can now be done in a web browser, tools like Adobe Photoshop and Sketch are key to creating mockups, design assets like logos and images, and of course, enhancing and modifying photos. Designers shape identities, organise information and create unforgettable experiences which make a lasting impression.

2. User Experience (UX)

To create a site for multiple users who either take their time to look around online or click straight to the ‘contact us’ page – a web designer will build a site around a hierarchy of pages and content with a sitemap. A great web designer will create a heat map to work out the path users are taking when on the site to gather the information they need. Wireframes are also a UX drafting and designing tool used in web design to sketch out key parts of each web page while in development. Web designers not only work to industry standards and guidelines, they bring cutting-edge ideas and capabilities to life.

3. Coding – HTML and CSS

Traditionally, a web designer wouldn’t need to know how to code, however, it’s now an expected skill for most web-based jobs. Coding is the best way to build sites from scratch, embed video and photo content. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, the coding language used to structure content on a web page. CSS is the code which tells a web browser how to format and style HTML for a webpage. CSS is the code which adjusts the text and content. A web designer can change the colours, fonts, and backgrounds to a webpage with a few keystrokes. It’s where web designers have the opportunity to get creative.

Soft skills involved in web design

1. Time management

Web design is a profession with the opportunity to work freelance or for a company. With either option, a strong grasp of time management is key. There are some great productivity apps and tools out there, as well as the time-tested handwritten to-do list to help. Whatever you choose, mastering the art of prioritising and tracking your work will be essential for your success (and mindfulness) in the busy world of design.

2. Communication

Both oral and written communication skills are essential for web designers. Staying in touch, keeping clients up to date on progress or making a pitch to a new client by providing an overview of your previous work requires charisma, public speaking and writing skills. A web designer can sometimes be called upon to do some editing of content for the sites they’re working on. This is especially common if you’re freelancing.

3. Marketing

SEO (search engine optimisation) and social media are now main players in the world of online marketing. A great web designer will not only understand and create the best looking website, they will also work to enhance a client’s marketing strategies. As the Internet is the way for so many companies to connect, web designers are commonly found online. A freelance designer will need to create and manage their own site to find new clients and showcase their portfolio of work.

4. Business

Understanding the bottom line of running a business will help all web designers decide whether they would like to freelance or work for a larger company. Understanding the basics of business will assist you in relating to clients and their customers when working on a project.

You can learn web design ad more at the International Career Institute (ICI), who have a wide range of distance education courses to prepare you to land that web designer job! Learn more and enrol in a web design course with ICI.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.