It’s a highly competitive world and the market demands not only excellence in what you do – your core competency, but it also demands that professionals be good at many other skills related to your profession, in other words, market demands multi-skilled, multi-talented professionals who can multi-task.
You may be great at what you do but your overall skill set with respect to market demand decides your career path.
Great web designers are not born. Yes, they are made but we cannot deny the fact that some designers are naturally gifted and have flair for creative designing – but that only is not enough to become a great web designer and if you think you don’t have a flair for designing but chose this profession accidently – that doesn’t mean that you cannot become great at it. Natural talent apart, practice, passion, hard work and dedication to the craft are key to mastery, beyond that you also need to move in the right direction with right complementary skill set to become a great web designer.
Here are the differentiating qualities of great web designers which set them apart from the rest. This article will be useful to both web designers and also people who are looking forward to hire web design professionals.
- Attention to detail – A great web designer is a great observer and he/she has the ability to see both the smallest details and also the larger picture.
- Passion – if you are not passionate about what you do, you become an average professional. A great web designer is someone who is undoubtedly passionate about web designing.
- Creativity – whether you are naturally creative or you develop creativity through work experience, either way, if you are a web designer you need to be creative in order to excel in your field. If you are passionate about your work, you can develop creativity for sure.
- In-depth Knowledge – knowledge is a key success factor in any profession. Being a web designer, you should have in-depth knowledge of web design principles and latest web design trends, programs and techniques including the latest HTML/CSS coding techniques. Keeping yourself updated is crucial.
- Understanding user persona and client’s industry – understanding the client’s industry, market and target audience is highly important to design a website that exactly meets your client’s requirement. It is important that you work with client and understand the user persona – his needs, behaviors, preferences, goals, fears, issues etc. At the end of the day we design websites for the users.
- Easy to understand Interface – Always create user interface which is easily understandable. Maintain consistency with respect to design elements. It’s problematic to let your users find out how to use an interface. Make sure that your users don’t get overwhelmed with the options you provide – just provide optimal number of options to achieve user satisfaction.
- UI Patterns – Implement UI patterns so that all the interactive elements in the design are self-explanatory and the user knows beforehand how the system works.
- Effective utilization of white space – It helps to facilitate the user’s visual flow across the layout by influencing user’s attention. Effective utilization of white space also ensures better readability and enhances the look of the website.
- Meeting the user’s basic requirements – All other great features apart, a user first of all expects basic things on a website like smooth functioning, easy navigation, and consistency of calls to action/design elements across pages and most of all, the site should be aesthetically stimulating and capable of connecting with the user emotionally. A great web designer knows UX/UI and user behavior in and out and creates design accordingly.
- Aesthetically Pleasing Design – Look and feel of the website plays a great role in retaining the user on the website and drives him/her to explore and interact with the site and its functionality. A great design soothes the user’s senses and helps him to emotionally connect with the site and also influences decision making to an extent. A great designer knows how to create an awesome-looking design by working out on the right combination of factors such as colors, layout, graphics, style and more.
- Expertise in Usability – A great web designer also has thorough knowledge of usability. Usability testing is something that he/she wouldn’t ignore. Nothing more to add here.
- Data driven – Some exceptional designers also go to the extent of test their design’s effectiveness through web analytics, contextual interviews and usability testing.
- SEO knowledge – Design plays a significant role in SEO – clean coding, design choices, layout and structure of the website, great design and more factors influence SEO results directly or indirectly. Having basic or decent knowledge of SEO is an added advantage.
- Copywriting – Copy plays a huge role in influencing a site’s users. It works in tandem with the design for the website. If you can’t write content, you should be able to work closely with copywriter as copy of the website should convey the same message/story that your design does – in other words, tone and personality of your website largely depends on content and design.
- Keep innovating – Always keep trying new things and push your boundaries. Creative experiments will surely help you grow as a web design professional.
- Outside in view – a great web designer also has an outside in view of his design, he thinks from a user’s perspective to identify gaps and close them.
- Presentation skills – Clients usually expect the web designer to come up with suggestions/ideas related to web designing even though they do share their inputs. You should be able to present your ideas in a simple, meaningful and understandable manner.
- Interpersonal skills – Designers end up working with clients for weeks or months, thus maintaining good relation with clients, making them feel good whenever they interact with you is part of the game. Communication skills are essential.
- Patience & listening skills – Clients sometimes may be impatient, unreasonable or even demand changes which may be wrong – you should be able to patiently handle stressful situations like these and if the client is wrong, back your argument with data generated through usability testing or sharing relevant case studies or your own experiences in the past might help. At the same time you should be able to listen to clients’ requirements carefully when they are with respect to user goals – they may be in conflict with what you intend to do but you should be able to swallow your ego and consider what’s best for the project over personal preferences.
- Business skills – A great web designer also acquires business skills as he needs to interact with clients and deal with projects. Many web designers do freelancing at some point in their career. Having business skills keeps you prepared for any such opportunities that come your way.
- Big Aims – He/she always aims high and looks forward to become an established web design professional thus he always to strive for self-improvement – hence acquires multiple skills.
- Experience – Experience plays a huge role in achieving excellence. Always strive to do quality work and gain experience. Your portfolio should speak volumes about your talent.
- Humbleness – They stay grounded, a trait that helps them to understand others’ perspective, see things as they are and they are able to relate them to user & business goals.
- Be a problem solver & proactive – While working on projects, issues are likely to happen and at times you get stuck, a great web designer approaches issues with a positive frame of mind and resolves issues. Share ideas and be open to others’ ideas as well.
- Be collaborative – In an organizational setup, you should be open to communicate and collect inputs from multiple people including client, marketer/SEO, developer, copy writer, tester as everyone has a crucial role to play in the web designing process.
- Trust-worthy – One of the noticeable qualities of a great web designer is honesty and integrity. Trust-worthiness is a great quality that attracts clients to you. Example – meeting deadlines is a great way to increase trust-worthiness and good web designers meet deadlines or communicate issues with clients beforehand if a delay is going to happen.
Hope you found the article useful. Please share your views in the comment section below. If you think there are other qualities that differentiate a great web designer from the average one, do let us know – let’s discuss!