There are things we wish we learned before we get experienced in a given field. You might think that being in the website industry means mastering technical abilities and tools like Ruby on Rails, Node.js, jQuery or Fireworks. That isn’t always the case, however. The tools and web programming languages are one of the least factors that you must even consider as a web designer.
Being in the field of the website will show you a lot of trends starting, booming, and eventually burning out. There is a tendency for tools and technical proficiencies to expand and die out repeatedly. But the person who works behind it will always stay. Here are some of the things that you should know as a web designer that they don’t tell you about:
The Tools Used Don’t Matter
What used to be a hot item before may not be the “in” thing in the present. Years back, FrontPage is the professional want of many businesses. If you use it today, you will just get criticized. The terms Perl, WML, WAP, and FBML used to be the required terms before. Now, they are just relics for web design projects.
The things that used to be such on-demand before today don’t matter. The tools you use are irrelevant because they change. Web technologies have a three to five-year average life span. They are now important, next thing you know; they’re gone.
Be open-minded and always willing to learn. The web industry is continuously changing, and never-ending growth is necessary to stand out and be successful.
Be Independent and Create
Being a web designer requires you to be creative. If you don’t have that in you, look for another career path. If you are an upcoming web designer, you should always have a professional portfolio handy. Never depend on your other employers to give you interesting projects. Be independent. Find probable cases where you can practice and master your web designing skills.
Many non-profit groups or organizations eagerly anticipate help in the website design. They may not pay the way you expect, or they may not pay at all, but that experience enriches you in many ways. Charge it to experience, and add a project for a start to your portfolio.
Edge your competition by having a broad portfolio of great samples and testimonials to back it up. You can even start by creating a project for yourself. Be self-sufficient, start creating and follow where your passion takes you.
Find a specialization
Don’t just sell yourself short, saying you’re a web designer. There are tons of web designers out there. By finding a niche make yourself stand out and be a cut above the rest. Find the expertise you are good at and the specialization. Having something different from others will set you apart from the rest of the web designers.
When you have a particular specialization, you are very well-suited for a specific project. Establish yourself as an expert and be different.
Say “No” if Necessary
Every project you take is a portrayal of who you are, and what you can do. A project you tackle will tell the next client volumes about you. The output they see is the same version of what they expect from you, or even better.
When you are presented with a project, and you feel that you will not excel in it or it is not your field of expertise, it is okay to say “No.” this is not being picky or choosy on the projects that you take. It is just that you would want only the best for you and the project that you will do. Yes, you can learn, but it is better to stay in your specialty and the project of your interest.
When you take on a project that you do not like and just because you are shy to say “No,” you will not have a good result. And sadly, it will show in the output. So say “No” if you and the project don’t fit.
“Users First” Always
You are a web designer and want all of your creative input on a website. That’s a good thing but in reality it’s not always applicable. More often than not, the user experience is more prioritized than the overall design of a website. The design makes the site stand out, but the experience will allow a user to stay.
In such a case, you have to know who your target audience is. Ask the business owner about additional information and don’t just dive in. With an idea of who your visitors will be, you will have a marriage of design and functionality that will be a win-win for both parties.
Just Let it Go
Upon completion of the project, the clients have the right to make the necessary updates and changes to the website at their own will. To see your design move and change from the way you initially did it might seem like a pain to you. But you can not do anything about it. The website is their property and they are entitled to do whatever they wish.
What you can do however is offer your services at a fee that you will agree upon. Capture the site in its original form to add it to your portfolio.