If you are a newbie in the tech industry, you might find it a bit daunting to choose which path to take. Web development? Digital marketing, maybe? Every specialization has something to offer and a set of skills to require. Beginners in tech often find web design as a good jump-off point, probably because it requires a good mix and balance of one’s creative and analytical skills.
But, how do you start with web design?
What technical and soft skills do you need to begin with?
- Visual design
Web design falls under the larger umbrella of visual design. It helps to have the basic knowledge of design principles in typography, grid systems, color theory, and proportions, among others. Take time in creating mood boards and experimenting with font types and color palettes. After all, these elements are crucial in developing one’s brand identity. Your future clients will definitely appreciate your knowledge of visual design.
A few general tips on fonts and colors:
- Only use web-safe fonts, and use them consistently. Make sure that headings can be easily distinguished from paragraphs. Make use of white spaces, and tweak line height and font sizes to make your texts visually pleasant.
- Be mindful of the color contrast between your background and font colors, and the choice of colors in general, to make sure that your site is accessible to users with low vision and those with certain types of colorblindness.
- UX Design
UX or user experience, simply put, is how people who visit your website feel — frustrated, calm, bored, or confused. UX Design, then, is the approach in which you take the user’s perspective in designing your website. Learning the basics of UX design can help you map out how your website visitors navigate through your web pages.
For starters, keep in mind that it only takes a few seconds for a person to decide whether to stay on a webpage or jump on the next one. Users do not usually bother to scroll down to the bottom of the page if they don’t find the content at the top interesting. So, it’s worth noting that important elements must be presented at the top, where they are most visible.
- Maintenance and Security
The tech industry is very dynamic and fast-paced. Things change swiftly. Keep in mind that your design must be malleable enough to be updated and changed when needed. The websites you design must also be reachable from various browsers, and be able to load properly, even in older versions.
Familiarize yourself with proper security measures and features to protect the website you design from malware, hackers, and malicious apps.
- Time Management
Whether you decide to go freelance or work for an organization, staying on top of your deadlines, schedule, and projects is crucial to your success. Honing your time management means mastering the art of scheduling and prioritizing tasks, and finishing projects on time. Take advantage of productivity apps and project management tools to keep you on track at all times.
- SEO and Digital Marketing
Almost everyone sells on the Internet now, so it is important to familiarize yourself with search engine optimization, social media marketing, and digital marketing. This will help you through your web design journey. For example, knowing that important texts or keywords must be used in headings can make your website rank better in search engines.
- Business and Client Management
At the end of the day, you want to ensure that you have good cash flow and a solid client base. A good sense of your bottom line — your goals and your finances — can guide you towards a sustainable and profitable business, whether on your own or as part of a company.
Getting started in web design can be a very exciting part of your career or business. Bringing with you the technical and soft skills mentioned above can give you a head start on your web design journey. Just like in any industry or specialization, you get to learn more along the way. So, always keep an open mind, stay curious, and be on the lookout for new trends and industry updates.
Sophia Young is a content writer covering lifestyle and fashion topics. She’s actively participating as a guest blogger for various blogs and has been co-authoring some articles of her colleagues. She’s currently enrolled in a content marketing course hoping to expand her knowledge in digital marketing.