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Before we break down the required skills for a web designer, let’s first concentrate on what a web designer actually is. A web designer is essentially an individual who designs websites from start to finish. Based on their personal or client requirements, the web designer will design, code, test and market the website for optimum efficiency. This entails a certain level of expertise (even with starters), an eye for detail and the know how to bring all the different elements together. Web designers come from all different backgrounds; some have broad knowledge and experience, while others get by on the pure basics. They also work with a wide-range of people from different industries and sectors. Ultimately, the qualities that define a web designer is their passion, ingenuity and commitment to the art of web designing. All of these qualities can be learnt either independently or through web design courses.

There are two types of skills we shall describe that a web designer needs in their utility belt. The first is a basic necessity while the second is an essential requirement.

Personal Skills


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Logical thinker
Behind the technical ability, you will need to be really practical and have the right mental stamina to work on projects for hours on end (it is important that you never leave a website halfway through). For example when designing e-commerce websites, it would be logical to include bread-crumb trials. This will allow the user to easily navigate between all the different pages they have previously viewed.

Attention to detail
Web design involves repeated checking; particularly at the programming stage where you will sometimes need to go over the same web page again and again to make sure everything is in order. For example when creating an e-shop, you can go the extra mile by including currency icons on all the prices or when designing a general website, you can have a consistent colour all on the different web pages.

Creativity
A good designer should be highly creative and be able to come up with content that will differentiate themselves from everyone else. Once this is done, you will need to clearly implement your ideas in crisp words, images and designs. This will ensure that the website stands out and gives you or your client the artistic edge over competitors. In truth, natural talent is only 10%; the other 90% comes from hard work and commitment. For example, no one is born with the inherent ability to web design, it is something you learn and develop as you get older.

People Skills
If you want to become successful, you will need to be a good team player with excellent interpersonal skills. For example, you will need to have conflict management to deal with all the various clients and colleagues at work. It is must that you work with other people in an efficient and productive manner; even if you don’t get along with them. Also, if you dream of setting up your own company, you will need to understand the dynamics of running a small business.

Dealing with stress and Keeping to Deadlines

No one wants to pay for a service that produces work late, so it is important that you maintain deadlines and attend meetings on time. Also, like any other job, stress is an obvious factor. You will need to find ways of dealing with stress as best you can; both in your personal and professional life. For example, a web designer will have to deal with several deadlines (possibly at once), fussy clients and sometimes (if you’re a freelance designer) you might not have work for a long period of time. As a result, it is essential that you control your stress levels in order to sustain a high standard of work.

Technical Skills


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When it comes to technical skills; practice makes one perfect. To become a successful web designer, you will need to know the three fundamental skills associated with the trade. These skills will help both personal and professional projects, and are a must have if you intend on creating exciting websites. If you are a web designer novice or a professional in need or more training; Dotpeak offers all-inclusive web design courses aimed at teaching both beginners and industry personnel.

HTML
The first fundamental skill you should know/ be skilled at is HTML or Hyper Text Mark-up Language. For beginners, this is where your web designing journey will begin. HTML is a web language that is used for creating web pages. HTML uses units called tags to open and close a passage of text. Example of tags include <HTML>, <HEAD> and <TITLE>. To view a web page’s HTML, simply right click on the page and select view page source. This will open up a box with all the HTML codes and tags. HTML is easy to learn and you can create texts for web pages using notepad or any basic text editor, as well as, software such as Dreamweaver. For more information about HTML visit www. cramerz.com/html/what_is_html.

CSS
The second fundamental skill is CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. This is what converts your HTML codes into the formatted web page you normally see on a website. CSS is basically the presentation of the HTML codes you have written. It is the look and format of each web page for example colours, fonts, text and borders etc. Based on the style you use, your simple HTML will now look different each time. CSS includes the HTML tag <STYLE> to implement each style. For more information about CSS visit ww.cramerz.com/css/what_is_css.

JavaScript
The third fundamental skill you need is JavaScript. This is a script language that is associated with HTML. It allows you to make your web page more interactive by adding dynamic content such as pop-up windows. The coded JavaScript runs on the user’s pc/laptop and determines what happens when they clink a link (show text or open a new web page, website or window etc.). The JavaScript is embedded within the HTML code. For more information about JavaScript visit www.cramerz.com/javascript.

And that’s it; three fundamental skills that are guaranteed to make you a good web designer. Once you practice; you will soon master each skill. Afterwards, you will be able to use more advanced web tools/software to create attractive and user-friendly websites. If you feel that you need more training on any of the fundamental skills mentioned, it would be a good idea to take some web design courses to sharpen your knowledge and practical ability.

Do you agree or disagree? What was your experience? Tell me what you think and please include any information you feel I have left out.
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Anthony Ngaithe

Anthony began writing poetry at age 15 (now 22) and has never looked back since. His intense passion for writing led him to take an English and Communication with Creative Writing degree at the University of Hertfordshire which he completed in May. Afterwards, he decided to utilise his creativity and writing skills to pursue a career as a Copywriter; subsequently joining DotPeak

Comment

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#1 written by Monaco
(06 April 2011 14:23:41)
I'm glad that I've found this www.dotpeak.com blog. Thanks for sharing your talent and useful information with us. You are a bright light!
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#2 written by Libby
(28 October 2010 17:19:25)
I totally agree with each of your points here, the only thing I might add is that a web designer needs to have perseverance and motivation - which are actually more character traits than skills I guess. But I think those two things are really important as a web designer - since sometimes things are difficult to figure out and you might come up against an issue that is not easy to solve but you are still responsible for trying to figure it out. One thing I have learned as a freelance web designer is that the majority of my job is actually problem solving - figuring out why something is not working (whether it be a poorly designed layout that hurts the user-friendliness of a site, an error in the codes, etc.) and then how to make it work. Thankfully, I really enjoy problem solving so that is not a negative thing in my opinion! But definitely something that anyone considering web design as a career should probably be aware of. :) Anyways, good article! you have a fantastic site here! :)

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