Page 9

7

Designing for the Web ~ Getting Started

When Twitter first arrived, in 2006/07, I really didn’t get it. I had friends I’d keep in contact with via email, and I had a blog for my own expression. Why did I need to use a service like Twitter? For a long time, I didn’t use Twitter in favour of using services I was familiar with. Then something started to happen in bloggersphere — everyone went quiet. ‘Weird’, I thought. ‘Maybe they were all busy. That’s it.’ Then, over time, respected designers and developers were redesigning their blogs to incorporate postings from these web services and products: Twitter, Flickr, Delicious links, You Tube, Vimeo etc. The blog design became a reflection of the designers ‘lifestream’. And, I was missing out on a big discussion. The interesting thing to note that, recently, I’ve been working on projects for clients who also want to start incorporating these services. Design conventions are being born. Maturing online, and now business is starting to see the benefit. Now, if I wasn’t using these products or services, if I wasn’t a consumer of the web, I’d be blind to what was possible. It’s not enough to rest on your laurels. If you’re a web designer, you need to be a web consumer. I mentioned earlier that it’s difficult to keep up sometimes. A web designer’s role seems to encompass everything from information architecture, and user experience design, up to front—end development — such as CSS, HTML. Throw in a bit of Javascript, and a sprinkling of other scripting languages such as PHP, and you get an idea of how broad a web designer’s job could be. It wasn’t so long ago that every job advertisement for a web designer required most of what I mentioned. I think — well, I hope — that those days are behind us. Modern web design is just too broad a discipline to be moderately good at everything. In fact, I personally wouldn’t hire anyone who claimed to do it all — Jack of all trades, Master of none. The web design profession is now splintering into specialisms and this is

8

Web designers need to be specialists. Being specialist is difficult when you’re a freelancer, or work in a small company. Your boss may ask you to skill up in other fields and diversify. The desire to learn something new can take you spinning off into new directions. But, in the midst of all this, don’t lose sight of what your core offering as a designer should be. Mine, for example, could be layout. With my experience, traditional background and my leaning towards typographic design, clients come to me because of that. I have other skills on the periphery — such as knowing how to hand—write HTML and CSS, and project management — but my primary ‘selling point’ as a designer, would be my knowledge and practice of graphic design layout as applied to the modern web. To lose sight of that would be dangerous — both in terms of running a business, but also in my continued growth of a designer. A web designer has to be adaptable. Willing to learn, and ready to embrace change. A web designer has to be willing to shed previously high—held design sensibilities and start from scratch. They have to accept, challenge and manipulate the constraints of the web. They must do all of this whilst keeping one eye firmly on their own personal design journey; where they’ve come from, and where they’re going. All of that is why I love the web. If you give it chance, it’s an enriching design medium, and one from which many never return.

a very good thing.

licensed to Denis (1 user license)

Profile for anh7

Five simple steps designing for the web  

Designing for the web

Five simple steps designing for the web  

Designing for the web

Profile for anh7