Web design encompasses a variety of disciplines and skills in the creation and maintenance of web sites. The various fields of web design encompass web graphic design; web user interface design; creative web content; writer/authoring, including formalised coding and proprietary applications; and search engine optimisation. The web designer‘s role is to create sites that are both functionally and aesthetically pleasant to use. Their work is often supported by other professionals and the product development process. This article attempts to define the web designer as well as describe the different roles they play in this increasingly important area of web development.
Social Media A popular and much-derided aspect of web design is social media. It is often said that social media is all about “useful” or “inexpensive” marketing. Many web designers dismiss social media, viewing it as nothing more than noise or a distraction. However, if a designer chooses to implement social media strategies into their web design, it can be used for creating buzz and driving traffic to a website. Some social media outlets may allow for user registration so that customers can add themselves to the network; this allows for an enhanced user experience and the sharing of blog posts, videos, or photographs relating to the designer’s business.
Usability Research usability is often regarded as the part of the problem solving process. In web design, this refers to the ability to use a site effectively. The role of the web designer is to ensure that users can find everything they need to perform a specific task without requiring user research or spending unnecessary amounts of money.
User Research Many usability studies conducted in web design teams have found that the overwhelming majority of users do not spend more than 10 seconds on a page before they leave. Unfortunately, this means that if a web designer does not engage their audience, they will never see an increase in conversion rates. Therefore, usability should be considered an integral part of the web designer‘s job. When a web designer engages their audience with usability and visual cues, they are more likely to develop trust and loyalty. Trust and loyalty to the client is important because it ties in with the business goal of promoting brand awareness and building a strong customer base.
Usability Testing Many web designers choose to incorporate usability testing into their overall web design work. This includes everything from the background colors to the placement of text. The aim of these tests is to identify any visually impairments to users who might be visiting the site. For instance, users who suffer from low vision will be unable to make out certain words on certain web pages and may click on links that seem insignificant. Through a series of tests, the web designer is able to determine how users perceive various aspects of the site and what can be changed to improve the site’s usability.
Learning Visual Design Skills Just as usability testing is an essential component of the overall web designer‘s job, so too is the visual design. Learning the basics of basic graphic design principles and learning the importance of contrast are essential to successful web designing. It is also vital that web designers understand the importance of white space. White space is crucial in allowing users to concentrate on content instead of visually distracting elements. It is not enough to have a flashy website. Good web designers make it easy for people to get a full grasp of the information being presented.
The Use of Typeface Many web designers make the mistake of choosing poor quality fonts or not choosing a typeface that matches the rest of the text. All fonts should be legible and should fit with the overall visual design. Web designers also need to be aware of typography. The use of correct typography is crucial because it impacts the readability of the page and affects the ability to retain the visitor’s attention. Effective use of typography can eliminate a great deal of potential website traffic and the web designer will lose that person altogether.
Color Theory One important thing that every web designer needs to understand is color theory. Colors must be designed for usability and the mood that the page needs to convey. Web designers should keep in mind that the text should compliment the background colors or the page background. If the color scheme does not go together with the background, the visitor may lose interest and return to a different web page.