What Is a website designer and what do they do?
Many people think they know what a website designer does and what skills and qualities are required to make a success in a highly competitive dynamic industry.
As more and more organisations and businesses have come to realise and utilise the power of the internet, so has the demand for well designed, visually attractive, customer focused and commercially effective websites.
Whilst larger companies might be able to afford to hire a whole department to design and maintain their company sites; this option may not be viable for smaller businesses and the option of utilising the services of a website designer can be a more economical and feasible decision.
With the changing face of the workplace and the accessibility of the internet, there is a growing number of home based workers who are gaining the skills and confidence to create their own websites. Consequently many are contemplating changing their career or setting up a web development company.
But what exactly does a website designer do?
Here a young website designer describes what her role entails.
“I have been called a graphic designer, web developer and an e-commerce designer. I suppose the role is a combination of all three. As a website designer I am responsible for the design, look and usability of a site. With the rapid changes in technology, you are always learning and trying something new; so you have to keep up with the times.
My work is varied and can be intense as I have to work to the client’s time-frame. There is a lot of planning involved and also a lot of adapting; sometimes this can be frustrating but when you overcome something tricky and see the result of your hard work, it is very satisfying.
From the outset I have to be able to demonstrate a wide range of skills such as:
Communication: I have to be able to communicate effectively with the client to ascertain; what is the main function of the site, who are the target audience, what design they would consider and which would they dismiss. This information gathering is essential and as a website designer it is imperative that I can explain what a good idea is and what is not confidently – without upsetting or demeaning the client.
Analysis and Planning: Having ascertained the customer’s needs and desires, the ability to reflect, analyse and plan the intended site is necessary. At this stage I have to plan the layout or design of the site by utilising the technical knowledge, graphic design skills I have gained in order to structure a blueprint of the planned site.
Designing: This is the frustrating, challenging and rewarding stage when I have to produce a design that fulfils the client’s needs, will be attractive to the target user and takes the following into account:
- How will a person interact with the site?
- Choosing a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, Joomla etc.
- Does it have an effective navigation system that allows users to perform required actions (such as book a course or return to the Home Page), and has all the features required.
- Will staff have separate sections unavailable to external users?
- How long will it take to download from the site?
Presenting: This is usually the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ stage. I have to present to the client showing preferred and alternative designs; listen, take notes and act on the feedback to ensure that a satisfactory decision is agreed by everyone. This can sometimes take quite a few meetings before we reach the final stage in the process.
Implementing: With the client having approved the design I now have to:
- Create a template.
- Design or upload images, logos and ensure that they are compatible.
- Test the site for functionality – taking into account different browsers etc.
- Fix any errors.
At the end of the process it feels worth all the effort when you see a great looking, functionally effective website that you know you have created and the client is happy with.”
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