Design, Development, Freelance

Five Bits of Advice for Aspiring Web Designers

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So you want to be a web designer, do you? Fantastic. It’s one of the more interesting and increasingly relevant avenues of IT work. But before you start your path towards helping design the next million dollar app or social media platform you need a little bit of advice. Nothing too complicated, just a quick rundown of what it takes to be a successful designer right out of the gate.

Learn more than one language

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Gone are the days when all you needed to know was the stand-by HTML. It remains a core component of web design, sure, but mostly buried under its streamlined upgrade HTML5, the user-friendly JavaScript, and denser codes like CSS3. If you want to know how to design for mobile web users – and you will – you’re going to have to master Objective-C, the language of Apple’s iOS, and Java, the dominant language for Android apps.

Work on finding a job before graduation

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It’s a hit-the-ground-running kind of job setting if you’ve set your sights on salaried IT work. Internships are a good idea – the sooner the better. More ideal would be a work placement training program. Students can use IT staffing companies to find placements and potentially get themselves lined up for permanent employment in an increasingly competitive field.

Think Mobile

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Web traffic originating from mobile devices accounts for roughly half of all online activity. Clients have mobile on the mind more than ever, and you do too. Mastering the aforementioned languages of mobile devices is a start. Appreciating the sheer amount of difference among the many different mobile devices on the market, and being able to account for those differences, is the next and probably hardest step toward thinking like a successful web designer of tomorrow.

Go Minimal

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All too often budding web designers want to go down the instrument panel route instead of sticking to simple, elegant interfaces and styles. What may appear dull and unimaginative probably works just fine, it may only need some cosmetic sprucing up instead. Take time to pick pleasing, complementary colors, shapes, and page cohesiveness. Avoid overcompensating for a lack of imagination by overwhelming users with options and eye-grabs.

Be Empathetic

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Never stop thinking about the user. Imagine your work like someone experiencing it for the first time. Run tests using multiple mobile devices, browsers, and operating systems. Sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many web designers don’t take the time to ensure a product works for more than a thin bracket of the Internet-connected population. The insider knowledge you absorb through school and experience can cloud your vision of the user experience, so always find a few industry outsiders to test the work before submission. This way you can test it in multiple formats and get a feel for the human response at the same time.

Web design is a fun and forever innovative chapter in the ever growing story of computer technology. It attracts some of the more creative minds in IT and draws upon the growing demand for web-enabled products and services. That’s a recipe for great things. Make the right moves and you can be part of something special.

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