Web design is a relatively new industry, having been created with the advent of the internet and gaining popularity, in particular over the last ten years, as digital media has become a major part of many people's lives. A web designer designs websites, and it has become a huge part of the computers and technology industry as more and more people rely on the web for their communications, information, shopping, social life, and more. The demand for web designers has been growing as the internet grows and the industry is currently considered a good one with relation to job prospects and future growth.
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A web designer's main job is to design web pages. There is a lot to consider in the design of websites which may not be immediately apparent when looking at a webpage for the first time. The aesthetic aspect is an important one and selecting the appropriate colours, font, layout and images creates the whole personality of the website.
In addition to considering aesthetic aspects, the usability of the website has to be a priority. It is important to create a page that the target market can relate to. For example, a website aimed at children must hold their attention and might use bright colours and an easy-to-read font with lots of images and not too much text, making it fun and attractive and easy to understand. The layout and structure must be easy to follow and most pages should not be too many clicks deep into the website in order to keep the information easy to access. Contrarily, a professional website aimed at doctors must convey a different kind of image but must still be easy to read and the information organized in a format that is easy to access.
The web designer is in control of the entire website and must understand how to create the appropriate image while ensuring the website is easy to use and information is easily accessible.
There are many degree courses available offering qualifications in web design and in related fields relating to computers and technology. A more general degree will provide a good foundation upon which to build more specific knowledge. Most web designers will have an interest in computers and possibly in programming language which will provide an interest in the technical aspect of the job. It is also necessary to have a creative side in order to ensure success in the design side. A web designer is a great option for someone with an interest in art and design but also with a love of technology.
Personal attributes and skills required include:
The workplace will depend on the specific type of company the designer is working for. A web design company tends to be part of the creative industries and will typically have a contemporary approach to office space. These kinds of companies often employ ideas thought to enhance the creative process and aim to create open offices where ideas and inspiration can be shared. This type of workplace is likely to have a casual dress code and attract a younger worker. It may be acceptable to work from home and flexible work hours might be offered.
Some large corporations that rely on their web presence for a lot of their business may have in-house web designers and this kind of workplace is likely to be a bit more traditional.
A lot of web designers do freelance work and will work from home. Their home office will be set up entirely as they choose although they may have to be prepared to travel to consult with clients and work environments may vary, depending on the type of client or company they are working with. This option gives a lot of freedom with regard to working hours and locations and is a great option if it is available.
The average salary of a basic web designer is thought to be around $50,000 but there are several factors which affect this. A related degree from a highly regarded educational institution can have a positive effect on the salary and may help increase the basic salary. As with most jobs, however, experience is a key factor and more experience usually equals an increased salary. An experienced web designer is thought to earn a salary of around $70,000. Senior web designers, often in charge of departments, and performing more technical work, might expect to earn higher salaries in the low six figures.