The Use of web designing skills: There are many views on the most efficient ways to use web designing, however, it is pretty simple to go forward with it, all you would need is to know the main notions so you can go ahead and take advantage of it in creating and improving your blog or online shop.
What is Web Design?
Web design refers to the design of websites that are displayed on the internet. It usually refers to the user experience aspects of website development rather than software development. Web design used to be focused on designing websites for desktop browsers; however, since the mid-2010s, design for mobile and tablet browsers has become ever-increasingly important.
A web designer works on the appearance, layout, and, in some cases, content of a website. Appearance, for instance, relates to the colors, font, and images used. Layout refers to how information is structured and categorized. A good web design is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and suits the user group and brand of the website.
Many web pages are designed with a focus on simplicity so that no extraneous information and functionality that might distract or confuse users appears. As the keystone of a web designer’s output is a site that wins and fosters the target audience’s trust, removing as many potential points of user frustration as possible is a critical consideration.
Two of the most common methods for designing websites that work well both on desktop and mobile are responsive and adaptive design. In responsive design, content moves dynamically depending on screen size; in adaptive design, the website content is fixed in layout sizes that match common screen sizes. Preserving a layout that is as consistent as possible between devices is crucial to maintaining user trust and engagement.
As responsive design can present difficulties in this regard, designers must be careful in relinquishing control of how their work will appear. If they are responsible for the content as well, while they may need to broaden their skill set, they will enjoy having the advantage of full control of the finished product.
Literature on Web Design
Here’s the entire UX literature on Web Design by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:Featured article
What is User Experience and User Experience Design?
To start with, let’s have a brief introduction to what we mean by “User Experience”. Products have users, and the user experience (UX) is simply the experience a user has from using that particular product. So far, so good?
UX design is the art of designing products so that they provide the optimum possible user experience. If this description sounds broad, it’s because the nature of UX design is pretty broad. Building the optimum UX encompasses an understanding of psychology, interaction design, user research, and many other disciplines, but on top of it all is an iterative problem solving process (but more on that later).
Broadly speaking, user experience can be broken down into 3 components: the look, feel, and usability.
The look of a product is about using visuals to create a sense of harmony with the user’s values, and that creates credibility and trust with the user. It’s about creating a product that not only looks nice, but looks right too.
The feel, then, involves making the experience of using a product as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. It’s built by crafting the interactions between the user and the product, as well as the reactions they have when (and after) using the product.
Lastly, usability underpins the user experience. Quite simply, if a product isn’t usable, no amount of good looks can salvage it, and the only feeling users are going to have is anger and frustration. Ideally, products should be personalized to user’s needs, and deliver functionality in a predictable way.
If you’re still not sure whether UX design appeals to you, we’ve got some articles that help introduce some of the important parts of UX as a career:
What Do Web Design and UX Design Have in Common?
The job title “Web Designer” has many definitions, and indeed, what a web designer does is largely dependent on what the client or project requires. Some web designers simply create visual designs and/or high fidelity interactive prototypes of the website, and leave the coding of the website to front-end and back-end developers.
The majority of web designers, however, do get involved with both the designing and (front-end) development of the website. Some web designers even regularly do user research and testing as part of their jobs (and if you’re one of them, you’re already almost ready for a job in UX design).
But no matter what your job as a web designer entails, here are some aspects of web design that can also be found in UX design.
Web designers look to solve problems for their clients; UX designers look to solve problems for their users. Web designers work with a problem solving process: first, they find out the problems their clients have, then design a web solution for them, and then proceed to develop and test the website before releasing it. And after a website is launched, web designers often are involved with further testing the site, collecting feedback from users, and then reiterating on the design.
This iterative problem solving process is similar to the UX design process (shown in the image below). UX designers begin with user research; it’s essential to get to know the potential users of a product and find out what their problems are, how to solve them and how to make users want and/or need that solution. User research is often done via user interviews, observations, demographic studies, drafting user stories and personas, etc.
Thereafter, UX designers would create a design solution that solves the user’s key needs, and often bring the prototype back to users to test its validity or usability. After the product is launched, UX designers collect more user feedback, which feeds into a new round of user research, thereby starting the process again.
If you’ve done user research before as part of your web designer job, you will find it a great advantage when making the switch to UX design. If not, don’t worry—you’ll have many opportunities to learn the best ways to conduct user research (read on to find out more).
When designing websites, web designers often make use of typography, color and layout to shape the emotions of users. A sense of credibility could be established, for instance, by using darker colors and serif fonts; similarly, a sense of fun could be created using colorful imagery and playful typography. Web designers are familiar with emotional design; that is, creating designs that elicit emotions from users.
UX designers are also concerned with emotional design, but on a larger scale—they are concerned with eliciting emotions from users throughout their entire experience of using a product.
To do that, UX designers work with not only typography and color, but also psychology, motion design, content curation and information architecture. Web designers making the change would innately understand what emotional design in UX entails; they simply need to pick up new knowledge in other areas to augment their ability to do so on a bigger picture.
UX designers need to make use of knowledge from the areas of psychology, user research, visual design, and even business to create the best UX for their products.
The Differences between Web Design and UX Design
User-focused vs technology-focused
A large part of your job as a web designer is spent on catching up on the latest developments in HTML, CSS and other coding languages—all of which change and improve at a dizzying pace. Which browsers support what versions of CSS? Would CSS animations work in Safari on a Mac? Don’t even get me started on Internet Explorer! These might be a few questions (and frustrations) that are constantly on your mind as a web designer.
But UX design isn’t concerned with technology. Instead, its focus is centered squarely on users—technology is only a means for users to get what they need. Only by focusing on users can UX designers create solutions that cater to the specific needs they have, and ultimately, that users will be willing to pay for. UX designers do extensive user research to find out the most they can about their users, most of which the majority of web designers wouldn’t have had the chance to perform.
UX is more than the web
UX design is platform independent. Its principles and processes are applied to many diverse areas outside of web browsers: on mobile apps, desktop software, and even hardware products and retail spaces. On the other hand, the domain of web design is strictly tied to web browsers.
This means that UX designers are able to find job opportunities not only in up-and-rising fields like tech startups, but also in mature and stable industries like car manufacturers. As long as there’s a product, there’s a need for UX—and this really opens up your world of opportunities.
The Big Benefit of Web Design Experience when Moving to UX Design
Relevance of web design background
The biggest benefit of moving from web design to UX design is the amount of overlap between the two fields of design. While it’s true that UX design covers more platforms than the web browser, a sizeable portion of UX design work is still done on products that are at least partially web-based (think of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, web apps like Dropbox, and services like Google).
The overlap between web design and UX design is greater if you’ve done some form of user research or iterative process of continually improving a website with user data.
Being fluent in design and website coding terminologies will also give you a boost that cannot be ignored; after all, UX design is a collaborative process where communication is crucial. Being able to use industry terms while talking to your colleagues will definitely put you in a better place than someone who came from a non-design background.
Your ability to create beautiful aesthetics as a web designer will also come in handy when making the switch to UX design. Firstly, aesthetics is a great tool to augment your communications with internal stakeholders.
As a UX designer, you have to constantly present your findings and recommendations to internal stakeholders (such as the CEO or product manager), and your ability to create visually pleasing reports and presentations will maximize the absorption of your key points.
Secondly, aesthetics plays a vital role in UX design. A common myth of UX design is that great usability trumps aesthetics—but that is far from true. In fact, a study of more than 2,500 participants by the Stanford Credibility Project showed that nearly half of them assessed the credibility of websites based on their visual appeal(5). This goes to show how aesthetics works hand in hand with other factors like usability to bring about the optimum user experience of using a product.
How to Enhance Your Skills to Make the Jump from Web Design to UX Design
Moving from web design to UX design can sometimes be quite straightforward, especially if you’ve done some aspects of user research in your job as a web designer. For other web designers, however, there is no cause for concern. You’ll be able to make the leap if you’ve spent some time studying UX, practicing some UX skills during your web design work, and constructing a CV which shows your understanding of UX design. If you’re wondering where to learn, there are plenty of options available to you, and we’ve highlighted some of the best below.
Interaction Design Foundation
Don Norman, the cognitive scientist who coined the term “User Experience”, called the Interaction Design Foundation (yes, that’s us) a “goldmine of information on interaction design.” Forbes Magazine says that we offer “Ivy League level education in UX, Product Design or Human Computer Interaction.” Fortunately, that education isn’t at an Ivy League level of pricing.
As a non-profit organization, we charge a low annual fee and you get access not just to all of our online learning, but also to the largest specialist design community in the world. We also offer a free library of academic texts from the design industry’s top researchers.
You might also want to check out Coursera which is a great source of online learning. Their courses, like ours, are developed by leading experts in their field. Unlike us, however, they don’t specialize in UX and their courses aren’t always available, but when they are, they can either be accessed usually for a fee (on a per course basis).
Udemy offers a huge selection of courses in nearly every subject area you can imagine. Udemy isn’t really a training provider, but rather a broker of training created by people from around the world. As such, there’s not much in the way of quality control applied to their courses—while some are absolutely brilliant, many are not.
Nielsen Norman Group
If you want to examine classroom courses; we recommend sticking with the “big names” of the industry who provide reliable and high-quality learning experiences. One of those big names is the Nielsen Norman Group who are also one of the best known UX consultancies; they offer a range of classroom based training at various locations around the world. They’re not inexpensive, but if you prefer not to have online training, they’re a good alternative.
General Assembly is another option for bootcamp-styled campus learning. They have relatively short and intense courses that repeat regularly. However, they are at a high price point and are available only at select locations.
You can find out more about General Assembly here.
If you’ve got plenty of money and time, you could go ahead and get a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree at a university. There isn’t, as of yet, a “UX-only” degree course, and the majority of related degrees tend to focus on Human Computer Interaction.
University is not a low cost option, both in the sense of your time and money you’ll be spending on it. You’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons of a university course very carefully before you decide to go this route.
For instance, here’s how we break down the total costs of a 4-year university degree:
HSBC, as reported by Top Universities, found that the average US-based university education costs $36,564 a year(6). That includes tuition fees as well as living expenses. For a 4-year degree, this adds up to $146,256—and that’s not counting the costs (such as interest) of getting a loan for your studies.
Then there’s the opportunity cost of quitting work and spending four years at university. That is, the income you’ll forgo when studying full-time at a university. According to the United States Census, a non-graduate earns an average of $27,351 per year(7). Over 4 years, that amounts to $109,404 that could have been earned if you had been working.
Summing up the actual cost and opportunity cost gives you the total cost: a whopping $255,660!
If you think that all the options are confusing, you might want start by examining the return on investment from each type of learning. We’ve got an article here that examines the return on investment from each of the learning types mentioned above.
The best way to find work in any field is to use a little inside knowledge and get some help from those people already doing what you want to do. This used to be hard work, but today you can simply get online and get networking.
We’d recommend LinkedIn to anyone looking to do some professional networking; join UX groups and join the conversation. Don’t just jump in and ask for work—demonstrate your value first and help people, and look for work only after you’ve built relationships.
The Interaction Design Foundation also offers networking opportunities to both members and non-members. Our members are able to carry out highly specific networking through pre-designed forums that allow for collaboration between large groups of designers. Both members and non-members can also attend our local groups’ community events, which are completely free to attend. You can find out more about the local groups here.
You could also think about getting involved with the design community’s leadership by interacting with them on social media. We’ve provided a list of twenty great designers here that you can interact with online; you can expand that list as much as you like with a little Google work.
Mentoring and Feedback
We’ve found that you can make a career change more easily if you can find someone to mentor you and provide feedback on your efforts. You can, of course, source a mentor from your existing professional network if you know someone who is happy to take the role on. If you think that’s not going to work for you, members of the Interaction Design Foundation’s Design League have access our network of UX design experts and see a mentor from that network.
The Take Away
It isn’t difficult to move from web design to UX design. You can build on your existing skills through a process of education and choose the kind of education that suits you best. Thereafter, you can put that learning into practice as a web designer.
The good news is you already speak the language of design so once you have a little practice in UX, you’re going to be ready to transition your career into UX design and join the fastest-growing part of the design profession in the world today.
References & Where to Learn More
- Course: Web Design for Usability:
- Payscale’s research on Web Design salaries – http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Web_Designer/Salary
- Payscale’s research on UX Design salaries – http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=UX_Designer/Salary
- CNN reports 3.4 million UX designer job growth in the next 10 years – http://money.cnn.com/pf/best-jobs/2012/snapshots/43.html
- DMI’s analysis of design investment – http://www.dmi.org/blogpost/1093220/182956/Design-Driven-Companies-Outperform-S-P-by-228-Over-Ten-Years–The-DMI-Design-Value-Index
- UX Myths: Aesthetics are not important if you have good usability – http://uxmyths.com/post/1161244116/myth-25-aesthetics-are-not-important-if-you-have-good-us
- How much does it cost to study in the US – http://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/student-finance/how-much-does-it-cost-study-us
- Earnings by education: US Census Bureau – https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/earnings/call1usboth.html
Learn more about Web Design
Take a deep dive into Web Design with our course Gestalt Psychology and Web Design: The Ultimate Guide .
One of the key ingredients to a successful product is the creation of effective, efficient and visually pleasing displays. In order to produce such high-quality displays, whether they are graphical (e.g., websites) or tangible (e.g., remote controls), an understanding of human vision is required, along with the knowledge of visual perception. By observing, researching, and identifying examples of our perceptual abilities, we can design products according to these unifying qualities. In order to spread such skills within the world of interaction design, we have developed “Gestalt Psychology and Web Design: The Ultimate Guide.”
Gestalt psychology is a theory of mind which has been applied to a number of different aspects of human thought, action, and perception. In particular, Gestalt theorists and researchers attempt to understand visual perception in terms of the way in which underlying processes are organized and how they help us make sense of the world. The organization of these cognitive processes is important to our understanding of how we interpret the constant stream of visual information entering our eyes and how it becomes a cohesive, meaningful and usable representation of the world. Over the last twenty years, the work of Gestalt psychologists has been adopted by interaction designers and other professionals involved in the development of products for human users.
Within this course, we have compiled and consolidated some of the best resources currently available on the subject of Gestalt psychology and visual perception. To help you appreciate how you can apply Gestalt psychology to web design, we have provided many different examples from existing designs. These draw attention to the exact qualities, quirks, and features of visual perception. Moreover, they discuss how these have been accommodated and, on a number of occasions, exploited so as to support either the user’s intentions or those of the designer or client.
The application of Gestalt thinking to design provides us with insights and new ways of approaching problems and challenges. By cementing in our own minds the many ways we organize visual information, we can improve our designs for all users.
Why Is Web Design Important?
If only given 15 minutes to consume content, 66 percent of people would prefer to see something beautifully designed versus something plain and simple. Your website’s design is an important part of your online marketing presence. To build a better website for your business, you must understand the importance of web design.See Our Web Design Services
On this page, we’ll discuss why design is important and provide you with seven must-have design elements for your website. If you need help creating your dream website, call us today at 888-256-9448 to speak with a strategist.
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Why web design is important
As you look into redesigning your website, you may wonder the importance to website design. How does it impact your audience and your business? Let’s look at five reasons web design is important.
1. It sets the first impression
When your audience visits your website, it gives them their first impression of your business. They will judge your business within seconds. In these first few seconds, you want to make a positive impact on your audience.
If your website looks unappealing or outdated, your audience will immediately have a negative impression of your business. They won’t find your website appealing, which deters them from your page. You’ll miss out on leads because they’ll leave your page for a competitor’s page.
Web design is important because it impacts how your audience perceives your brand. The impression you make on them can either get them to remain on your page and learn about your business or leave your page and turn to a competitor. A good web design helps you keep your leads on your page.
2. It aids your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy
Many web design elements and practices influence how you publish content on your website, which in turn affects how search engine spiders crawl and index your website.
This is one thing you cannot afford to mess up. If your on-page SEO fundamentals are not up to snuff, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle for visibility from the start.
Aside from how content is published on your website, certain web design elements can directly affect SEO in and of themselves. Web design can be difficult to understand if you’re not familiar with how it works, but to put it simply, your code needs to be SEO-friendly.
The best way to ensure proper web design practices (and subsequent search engine visibility) is to partner up with a web design agency that knows what they’re doing.
3. It sets the impression for customer service
People can judge how you will treat them by looking at your website. Your design gives them insight as to how you view your audience. If you don’t put any effort into your website’s design, your audience knows that you won’t put effort into helping them.
Your website is like a customer service representative. If your website is bright, modern, and inviting, your audience will feel more welcome on your page. You’ll give the impression that you are open and welcoming to new people who visit your website.
On the other hand, an outdated and unappealing site makes your business appear cold and aloof. People don’t want to check out a business that doesn’t value them enough to make a good first impression.
Think of your web design as the digital face of your business. If someone walked into your physical location, wouldn’t you want a friendly face to greet them and make them feel welcome? An updated and modern web design is the equivalent to a friendly face greeting your new visitors.
4. It builds trust with your audience
People don’t trust poorly designed websites. If they see your poor design or the information looks outdated, they won’t trust your site. They may view your site as seedy or shady because you don’t have an updated web design.
Think about a person looking to place a bulk order with a manufacturing company. They’re spending a tremendous amount of money, which means if your manufacturing website design doesn’t convey trust, they’ll find another business to fulfill their order.
On the other hand, a professional site signals trust with your audience. They will trust your business and feel comfortable checking it out further.
It’s important to build trust with your audience so they remain on your site. When visitors remain on your site longer, you create more opportunities for your business to capture those leads.
5. Your competitors are doing it
If you need a reason for why web design is important, here’s a big one: Your competitors are already utilizing web design. If you want to remain in competition with them, you must use web design for your site.
You want your website to stand out from the competition. If you have an old, outdated, and low-quality website, your competitor’s will outrank you. Their well-designed website will perform better than your website.
This means you’ll lose leads to your competitors. They’ll attract more leads to their page because their page is more appealing.
Your website’s design is an opportunity for you to set your business apart from the competition. When you’re competing with other businesses, you generally have the same services and similar pricing. You need that one thing that will make your business stand out from the rest.
A well-designed website is an opportunity for your business to showcase your unique features. You can show your audience why they should choose your business over the competition.
6. It creates consistency
When you’re trying to get new leads for your business, you want to build up your brand. You want your audience to get familiar with your brand so they choose you when they’re ready to convert. Online web designs are important because they help create consistency across your page.
You need to have the same fonts, styles, and layouts across every page on your website. If you have a different design on every page, this will make your site look unprofessional. It also makes it more challenging to build brand recognition because your audience won’t know which colors to associate with your brand.
If your website is not consistent, people will bounce from yours to one that looks more professional. By building consistency, you keep leads on your page longer and get them familiar with your business. You’ll earn more leads and conversions down the line when you redesign your site for this key element.
7 important elements of quality web design
Now that you know the web design importance, it’s time to start looking at elements that make a quality design. Here are seven key elements you’ll want to incorporate into your web design.
1. Solid navigation
When users access your site, they want to access information quickly and easily. If you want leads to remain on your page, you must implement a navigation that is easy for your audience to use.
Your audience doesn’t want to struggle to find information. They want to access your navigation bar and easily be directed to the information they need. If your navigation is poor, you’ll discourage your audience from engaging on your page.
Visitors’ attention spans are short. If you want to keep them on your page, you must help them access information quickly. A properly designed navigation will help them get to the information they need.
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Your navigation should be simple and self-explanatory. Include broad headings that encompass numerous subtopics, so your audience can easily find the information they need. This is the easiest way for you to help your audience find information fast.
2. Responsive design
With the growth in mobile devices, responsive design is more important than ever. Your audience will access your site from a multitude of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. If you want these leads to remain on your site, you must ensure that each person has a positive experience.
Responsive design ensures that your audience has a good experience on your site, regardless of the device they use. Your website will adapt to the device to ensure that your website is sized appropriately for their device. This is valuable for keeping leads engaged and interested in your site.
Responsive design keeps leads engaged on your page longer. If you want to have a successful website design, you must integrate responsive design.
3. Style guide
As we stated previously, one reason why web design is important is because it creates consistency across your entire website. Consistency helps your audience build brand recognition and keeps them engaged on your page longer. A style guide will help you keep a consistent brand image on your website.
Your style guide is the basis for how you want your website to look. You decide the color, format, typography, and more, for every page on your website. This ensures that every time someone adds an element to your site it is consistent with other pages.
You’ll help your team creates consistency across your website, too. They can reference your style guide anytime they add an element to your site. It makes it easier for different people to work on your website and add elements to it.
When you have a consistent design across your website, you create a more cohesive site. Your audience will engage on your site longer and build brand recognition. This will help you earn more conversions down the line.
4. Purposeful visuals
Companies are quick to integrate visual elements because they help improve engagement on a website. In fact, customers are 10 times more likely to interact with a video than text.
While visual elements are great for engagement and breaking up text, some businesses go overboard with the images. Their sites are crowded with photos and videos. It makes the site feel overwhelming and cluttered.
You may think that it’s great to integrate and abundance of photos and videos to increase engagement, but it can become overwhelming if there are too many. Too many images makes it difficult to read on the page.
If you want to see success with your site, you must create a balance between images and text on your page. Don’t add visual elements for the sake of trying to increase engagement as much as possible.
Use visual elements purposefully. If you have a block of text detailing your services, integrate a video below that text that explains your services further. This still gives your audience a point of interest to interact with and keeps them engaged.
When you know why web design is important, you make more tactful decisions about your site. As you build your dream website, it’s crucial that you don’t overload your site with too many visual elements.
5. Good copy
Your audience visits your website to obtain important information. It’s important that when you include information on your site, you write quality copy.
Writing good copy keeps your audience engaged on the page longer. They’ll read all your information and learn about your business. Your style of writing should align with the style of your website for consistency.
The content on your site matters just as much as the overall design, so it’s necessary for you to provide your audience with valuable information they need.
6. Call-to-action (CTA) buttons
Once you have leads on your site, you want to guide them towards converting. A key element of that is your call-to-action (CTA) button. Web design importance is evident when you’re trying to get your audience to act.
A well-designed CTA button will get your audience to proceed to the next step. These buttons fit into your design but stand out on the page. Your audience’s eye immediately goes to these buttons.
If you had a color scheme of black, white, gray, and yellow, a yellow CTA button would stand out on the page compared to these other colors. It still fits with the scheme, but people will automatically be drawn towards a bright yellow button.
By integrating CTA buttons into your website’s design, you’ll help drive better results on your page.
7. Page speed
You can have an awesome website design, but it won’t matter if your audience never gets to see it. Page speed is an important element of web design. It ensures that your page loads quickly, so your audience can access information fast.
Your audience hates to wait for slow loading pages. If your page takes too long to load, your audience will lose interest. They will return to the search results and select a competitor’s page instead.
You can check your page’s speed by using Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool allows you to see how quickly your site currently loads and where you can make improvements. You must make these improvements on your own.
The other option is to rely on page speed services from a digital marketing company. This allows you to reap the benefits of a fast loading page, while focusing on running your business.
WebFX will help you create the website of your dreams
Your website’s design plays a vital role in your online marketing campaign’s success. If you want to drive the best results for your business, you must invest in designing a website that drives people to learn more about your business. At WebFX, we have over 20 years of experience designing websites.
We’re a full-service digital marketing company that specializes in customized website design. Our team of experts will bring their knowledge and expertise to your campaign. We know the importance of web design and can help you create a website you’ll love.
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