Websites and online resources are gaining more popularity with the increment in internet access worldwide which has propelled the demand of web designing skills very high. There are a lot of areas with specific job description in the field of web. So, what's web design? In a short and simple phrase, web design is the process of planning and creating a website.

Often, the meaning of design is perceived solely as a visual aspect but in reality, website design includes more abstract elements such as usability, ergonomics, layout traditions, user habits, navigation logic and other things that eases the use of websites and enchances user experience.

While the terms web design and web development are often used interchangeably, web design is technically a subset of the broader category of web development. Web design refers to the visual design and user experience of a website while web development refers to the functionalities of the website and a system that simplifies the management of contents within it like texts and images.

Websites are created using a markup language called HTML. Web designers build webpages using HTML tags that define the content and metadata of each page. The layout and appearance of the elements within a webpage are typically defined using cascading style sheets (CSS). For additional effects and enhanced user experience, javascript is added to the page as well. Therefore, most websites include a combination of HTML, CSS and Javascript that defines the overall visual aspects of the page.

Web design determines everything that is visible in a website including the content, the way it looks and the way it works. So, we can say, web design is a process of conceptualization followed by the planning and creation of electronic files which determine the visual aspects of a website including layout, colors, texts, images and interactive features intended to be displayed on the visitors' browsers.

Elements of Web Design

The process of web designing includes a number of elements like information architecture, user interface, site structure, navigation, layout, colors, fonts and images. All of these elements are combined with the principles of design to create a website that meets the goals set for the website.

Layout

Layout defines the structure of a web page. It defines the way in which the contents of a page i.e. texts, images and user interface elements are placed on a page. The end target of layout development is to ease the access of information within the page for the users. It includes maintaining the balance and consistency within the page while preserving the integrity of the design.

Color

The color combination used in a page defines the purpose of the website as well as the personality of the brand. The use of colors depends on the preferences of the targeted user group as well. Colors should be used carefully in order to mainatin the balance and consitency of the design while making it equally pleasing. Web-safe colors should be used instead of bright and contrasting colors to avoid users getting tired while going through the contents.

Graphics

Graphics include all the images within a website like logos, photos, icons or gifs all of which enhance the visual aspect of the webpage. All of these graphic contents should be placed appropriately while keeping the design flow consistent and the page loading time minimized.

Typography

The selection and use of type fonts can enhance the beauty of the website making it pleasing to go through. Most of the web browsers support only a limited number of fonts which are termed as web safe fonts. So, a designer should carefully choose a group of fonts that are supported by at least all the major browsers and make the website equally pleasing too.

Content

Content is the king. It is the only thing that actually matters in fact irrespective of the visual aspect. If the visual, graphic or text articles on the page are not relevant and useful, there's no way, a user will spend time on a website even if the design is highly pleasing. The contents should be of suitable length and optimized for search engines too.

Accessibility

Apart from possessing all the elements of the design principles to make a website pleasing, it should be user friendly too. The navigation elements should be prominent on the site that makes a user's journey through the website convenient. Multimedia contents like audio and video should be added if possible to make a user understand the top easily and quickly. The design should be compatible to at least all the major browsers and responsive to all screen sizes. User interaction should be given priority with comment sections, polls or subscription options.

Skills required to be a web designer

As stated above, we desing includes a number of element which are needed to be combined together to create an aesthetically pleasing and useful website. So, you need to learn a lot of skills before you can actually call yourself a web designer which are listed below.

  • Graphics - Since, the process of web designing begins with the development of prototype design, good knowlege of graphic design is a must. Moreover, the graphic contents intended to be incuded in a website, sometimes, need modifications on size in order to optimize the page loading time. In some cases, a web designer even needs to create some light gif contents for web pages.
  • HTML - This is the basic structural language that can be interpreted by web browsers. It is required to create the foundation structure of any webpage.
  • CSS - It is another language that is used to stylize or decorate the contents on a web page. It describes the way a content should appear in a webpage and handles the entire look of a website including layout, color and typography.
  • Javascript / Jquery - It is a programming language that runs on the frontend. It is mostly used for event handling i.e. adding features depending upon user interactions.
  • Information Architecture - Simply learning how to code is not enough. A web designer must decide and design the layout of the page while finding the right color scheme which defines the way contents and user interface elements are placed on a page and their overall visual look. It is very important to make the website user-friendly and visually pleasing too.
  • SEO - A web designer should know the basics of search engine optimization. Apparently, the rigorous task will be done by professional SEO analyst, but the initial on page SEO should be done by the web designer himself making the web pages SEO friendly with the use of optimized code andmaking the contents load faster on the server.

Steps of web designing

  • Need - The first step of web design is the need for a website. Be it for some clients or yourself. A website is created when a need for it is felt be somebody.
  • Specifications - The need is followed by the technical specifications of the website. If the website is going to be a static one or the dynamic one depending upon the purpose of the website and the targeted audience group.
  • Structure - The specification is followed by the development of basic structure of the website. The position of navigation elements, contents and UI elements are planned in this step.
  • Prototype - After the basic structure is finalized. The graphic design skills come into action after the raw sketch is drawn on paper. In this step the prototype of the design is generated which will give the website a substantial existence. This is the step, where a client can see how the website would look at the end.
  • Coding - This is the final step of web designing where the actual coding task is executed. It'll include all the technical skills required to create a website.

Scope of Web Design

With advancement of technology and the increment of internet users with each day passing, each company is fighting for its dominance in the market through internet and the best option to go by is to create a website and make its presence felt to the world or at least its targeted users. Though there exists a few online tools that can help users to create a website for them with great ease, it can never really stand against the flexibility of design and expression a web designer can offer.

With the increase in demand to create new websites as well as redesigning older ones in the market, there's always a huge demand for web designers. One can even work from his own home as a freelancer or start up his own web designing company.

There are two primary job categories that you can choose to pursue after learning web designing namely Prototype Designer and Frontend Developer. The primary task of a prototype designer is to plan the structure, layout, color scheme and design of UI elements while the frontend developer is responsible for integrating all of them into one and create a website with his coding skills. In smaller organizations, a web designer must design the prototype and code himself though.

With the knowledge of web designing skills, a number of job opportunities will open up for you from where onwards, you can choose the right destination for yourself. Some of the jobs you can take up straight after learning web designing while some require a bit more research are as follows.

  • Prototype Designer
  • Frontend Developer
  • UI Designer
  • UX Designer
  • Design Analyst
  • Internet Marketing Specialist
  • SEO Analyst

Conclusion

Web design is the art of creating beautiful and useful website while following the basic principles of design like balance, rythhm and unity with the use of specific coding languages that internet browsers can interpret. A web designer not only write codes to create a website but also understands the preference of the targeted users along with the constraints of the web while having a firm grip on digital communications too that helps to open up a wide range of job opportunities.

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