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How to become a Website Designer

website designer careers

What does a Website Designer do?

Website designers, sometimes known as web authors, design the pages that make up a website. They use a combination of programming techniques and web design software to build a new site or enhance an existing one. A good web designer will need knowledge of 'front end' concepts (how the site looks), and 'back end' systems (how it works). In other words, they need to be technically proficient but also creatively minded.

Initially, a web designer works with a client, discussing their requirements to find out exactly what they want their site to do. This could be anything from an interactive site for educational purposes to a commercial site selling consumer goods. It is important that designers gain a clear understanding of the target audience.

Consultations include decisions on how the site is to be organised, the size of text, text (font) style, colours and colour combinations, page backgrounds, and the style, size and positioning of command buttons and hyperlinks. Many sites also include sound, graphics, animation and video, as well as order forms, search facilities, surveys and security features.

Designers draw up a draft working version of the website using both general and specialised authoring software, and web coding and formatting techniques such as HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language), Dynamic HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and, increasingly, XML (Extensible Mark-up Language) for greater control over functionality and appearance. They continually discuss and test refinements with the client.

When a site has been completed, designers carry out checks to make sure the finished product is fully functional and meets all the requirements of the client. Once the client is satisfied, the site is uploaded to a server for 'live' publication on the internet.

Some designers continue to maintain a client's website once it is up and running.

What's the working environment like working as a Website Designer?

Website designers working for a company normally work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. They may have to work some evenings and/or weekends to meet deadlines or when problems arise. Self-employed designers work the hours necessary to complete assignments on time.

Designers work indoors in an office or home environment. They may be based at one site or travel to visit clients, in which case a driving licence may be helpful.

What does it take to become a Website Designer?

As a web designer, you should:

  • have a knowledge of internet programming and scripting languages
  • have a good working knowledge of the major design software
  • have a strong interest and ability in design
  • possess strong problem-solving skills, together with a logical and analytical approach to work
  • be capable of explaining technical matters to people who may have little knowledge of IT
  • be able to work to deadlines
  • understand national and international guidelines for website accessibility and standards
  • be prepared to keep up to date with changes in technology and software
  • have a working knowledge of peripherals such as scanners, digital audio, photo and video equipment.
Self- employed designers will need good business management and negotiating skills.

Website Designer Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Website Designer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

e-skills UK
1 Castle Lane
London
SW1E 6DR
www.e-skills.com

The British Computer Society
1 Sanford Street
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN1 1HJ
www.bcs.org.uk

UK Web Design Association
www.ukwda.org

Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
www.ciwcertified.com

World Wide Web Consortium (WC3)
www.w3.org

Facts and Stats:

  • There are 76.5m Internet users in the USA.
  • The Apple iMac holds the record for the shortest instruction manual, which amounts to only 36 words and 6 pictures.
  • Computer software and hardware are the items bought most often over the Internet, followed by books and CDs.