What Is Web Design?
Web design encompasses a variety of disciplines and skills in the creation and maintenance of sites on the World Wide Web. The various disciplines of web design include web graphics design; user interface (ui) design; content management; authoring, which includes proprietary and standardised software; and search engine optimisation. Most website design professionals will be expected to have knowledge in some combination of these disciplines. The use of multimedia and other interactive features are increasing in all areas of website design. This increasing use of multimedia in design is also increasing the requirement for website designers who have knowledge of technologies such as Flash and HTML, and possibly other things as well.
The use of templates in web design and web development is becoming more common. Templates are pre-designed elements or pages which can be used as a means of providing designers with a preview of their website. Often this is combined with the use of graphics to provide a more visual representation of the website. Web developers use graphics in web development to ensure that the final website will be unique and will appeal to a larger audience than would be possible if the website were designed using templates alone.
User experience design is an important discipline in web design and web development. User experience designers work with customers to create the user experience, or how a customer will experience using a product. This may involve creating an interface or navigation system, or simply providing clear instructions. User experience designers often take a functional approach and will focus on the functionality of a website rather than its appearance. Their role is very much intertwined with the visual aspect of web development as they will often collaborate with graphic designers to create a visually appealing website.
Problem solving is a key concept in website design and web development. A problem solving process should incorporate both technical and creative aspects. The web designer should be able to identify problems in the website and determine how to solve them. This is a crucial part of the web design and web development process and many web designers and web developers spend a lot of time developing websites that are not usable. Web designers and developers must first have a clearly defined problem solving process before they can start developing a website.
An interactive design refers to web designers often creating an environment that is user friendly for the website visitors. This is very different from “abstract” or “static” design, in that it involves a significant level of interaction with the website or web application. Many web designers often make the mistake of designing websites that are too complex and difficult to use, but when done correctly, can be extremely rewarding and a lot of fun to use. A good example of an interactive website is one that combines a puzzle with a photo puzzle and then combines these two elements with some basic text, to make a fun photo experience.
User research is a vital component of web design and is often a very difficult aspect to master. Many web designers do not take user research seriously and as a result, the end product websites often do not satisfy the users. When researching a potential web designer, ask questions about their previous projects and what kind of recommendations they received from their clients. Also, see if they have any references such as Google profiles that you can peruse to get a feel for their personality. Once you understand the basics of web design work, you can then start choosing which features you want your website to have and choose web designers that have the skills and experience to accommodate your needs.