Join James Williamson for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a web designer?, part of Introduction to Web Design and Development.
- What is a Web Designer? That sounds like a pretty easy question, right? Web Designers design websites, end of the story. Well, the truth is that the term Web Designer means many different things to many different people and the field is diversifying so fast that it serves more as a catch-all of multiple disciplines rather than a clearly defined individual. One of the reasons that Web Design is so hard to define is that as a discipline is covers so much ground. The Web has grown to encompass a multitude of devices, delivery methods, and content types.
Many new web designers are often overwhelmed by the array of choices and the amount of knowledge that they need to master. More than once I've heard, "I just want to design a "simple site, why do I need to learn all this stuff?" Well, more than likely you won't need to learn everything as you're probably gonna specialize in one area of another. However, if you don't have a solid understanding of how the web works, who you're trying to reach, and what technologies are involved in creating your sites, chances are your design isn't gonna work, whether it's simple or not.
Imagine for a moment that you need to build a bridge but you only wanted to learn how to pave it since that's all the drivers are actually going to see, after all. Well, chances are that bridge isn't gonna work. Your websites are the same way. Without really understanding all that's going on behind everything and how to properly structure your site, you're setting yourself up for failure. So, does that mean you have to learn everything before you start creating websites? Well, no, not exactly. As the saying goes, the trick to eating an elephant is to eat it one bit at a time.
So, although the web design encompasses a wide array of disciplines, for the purpose of this course, the term Web Designer will be restricted to what we refer to as Front End Design. Front End Design includes the visual part of web design, planning and structuring the sites, user interface design, and client-side interactivity. A large portion of Front End development requires minimal scripting and little to no programming at all. I'd also like to point out that very few web designers are able to do everything that I've mentioned.
Most specializes in areas that compliment their skill set or that interests them the most. From there other skills are usually acquired based on the type of sites they work on and the features that those sites need. I call this Just In Time learning and unfortunately, it's often the only type of training that most web designers get. So, there is no one clear set of skills that defines what it means to be a web designer. Obviously designing and building websites is at the core of what it means to call yourself a web designer, however, you're gonna find as you begin to learn web design, that certain areas interest you more than others or that your projects require a specific mixture of content and technologies that end up driving your progression.
There's nothing wrong with that. Almost all web designers focus on one discipline or another. It's simply human nature. However, by dedicating yourself to learning as much of the wide spectrum of web design as possible, you will ensure that you retain control over the entire creative process and stay current with the ever-changing nature of web design.
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- What is web design?
- What is a web designer?
- Learning to code
- Choosing a web host
- Working with a CMS
- Exploring how websites are structured
- Choosing your framework or software
- Designing with standards and accessibility in mind