How to Become a Web Designer: 7 Things You Need to Learn

By: The Art Institutes Filed under: Visual Design

December 12, 2018

E-commerce keeps growing and faster, smarter technology is always around the corner. With these changes come new online marketing trends and opportunities to design online experiences that are increasingly interactive and useful to our daily lives. With the average adult spending nearly 6 hours a day with smartphones, computers, streaming devices, game consoles, and other connected media, the need for web designers is not going away anytime soon. If you’re interested in how to become a web designer creating engaging and immersive digital experiences, here are seven areas you’ll need to study.

How to Become a Web Designer

1. Visual Design

Before you become a web designer, you need to master the fundamentals of design, such as visual hierarchy, color theory, typography, and image editing. This should also include learning the creative process, from concept development to critical analysis and iteration. These basics will be the foundation from which you grow your knowledge and your career.

2. Coding

Web designers should be familiar with basic programming and scripting language for design, animation, and possibly data handling. HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript are three of the big ones to study. You’ll likely use these languages in your own work and understanding them also makes it easier to communicate with back-end developers. Additionally, knowing how to code means you can assess the effort required to implement your designs.

How to Become a Web Designer

3. Web Design Theory & Best Practices

Visual design skills are crucial but so is knowing the specialized requirements of designing for desktop and mobile devices. In order to learn how to become a web designer you’ll want to learn best practices for things like information architecture (how digital content and pages are organized), interface design, accessibility, loading speed, video, mobile apps, web pages, and more. In particular, established user experience (UX) principles and usability tests can help you design top-notch, intuitive experiences for users.

4. Industry Tools & Software
Web designers rely on a wide variety of software and tools for prototyping, designing assets, editing images, testing, animation, media authoring, publishing, and more. This may include using programs in the Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, and popular content management systems like WordPress. Learning these tools of the trade is a huge part of how to become a web designer.

How to Become a Web Designer

5. Soft Skills

When you become a web designer, demonstrating professionalism along with your design expertise can help you excel. You’ll need project and time management skills for balancing multiple demands and completing projects on time. You’ll also rely on communication skills to present your ideas to clients, share project updates, and collaborate with colleagues.

6. Marketing & E-Commerce Fundamentals

Employers and clients appreciate web designers who understand basic digital marketing and e-commerce practices. When you design sites to meet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) goals, you’ll create better performing sites and have more satisfied clients. When you understand site analytics, you can understand how your designs perform and identify areas to rethink and improve. Writing is another area to consider. As you design sites, you’ll want to leave appropriate spaces for web copy and you may even write placeholder headlines and other short text for the work you show clients.

7. Self-Promotion

Marketing yourself is another requirement in how to become a website designer. First, you’ll need your own site that demonstrates your creative and technical skills as well as displays examples of your work. You also need to know how to discuss your strengths and abilities, both in writing and in person for resumes, cover letters, interviews, and networking.

Becoming a Web Designer: Where to Start

Now that you know what’s needed to become a web designer, it’s time to decide whether you’ll commit to taking the next step. At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division , you can learn these areas and more from experienced faculty who’ve worked in the fields they teach.* We’ll push, challenge, and support you as you build new skills, create an impressive portfolio, and prepare for a career building websites that both clients and users love. Find the right program for you today.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty & instructors.

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By: The Art Institutes Filed under: Visual Design

December 12, 2018