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What does a web designer do?

Successful web design and development both require considering the client’s objectives for their website. This is especially important to understand about web designers, though.

While their focus may be on aesthetics, the look of a site has a big impact on whether or not it will meet the company’s goals for it.

 

Utilizing Information Architecture to Realize the Client’s Requirements

As web designers generally begin the process of creating a new site, they’re usually the first ones to sit down with the client and get a sense for what these goals are.

The importance of this initial step cannot be overstated. If it is not correctly carried out, the rest of the build will suffer and large swaths of it may even need to be redone.

Once the designer understands what the client wants from their site, they can begin implementing Information Architecture (IA) to guide the build that will follow. This includes setting the website’s information hierarchy, which refers to organizing and prioritizing the site’s content, so users can begin immediately using the site without requiring some time-consuming effort.

Creating a Wireframe

Next, the web designer creates a wireframe for the website. This is just a visual reference that shows what the website – broken down by page – will eventually look like.

While it serves as a helpful guide for all designers working on the site, it’s also provides a very vital frame of reference for the client. Once they see the wireframe, they can request whatever changes they need to achieve the result they have in mind.

Without an effective wireframe, only clients who had a background in web design would understand what their site would eventually look like and even then, there would most likely be unforeseen issues.

5 Examples of Common Design Principles

Depending on what the client wants from their website, the designer may use any number of principles to achieve their desired outcome.

For example, some principles work especially well for boosting conversions. Others are aimed at creating effective mobile sites.

Here are five examples of some of the most common principles most web designers rely on:

  • Balance – A balanced website design is one that effectively utilizes heavy colors (large and dark) and light colors (small and lighter) in the right proportions. Too much of one or the other would hurt its aesthetics and could even make it difficult for visitors to use.
  • Contrast – Contrasting colors can be used for similar reasons. Web designers will also utilize contrasting shapes, sizes, and textures to influence where the visitors’ attention is drawn on the site.
  • Emphasis – Any element of a website that is “highlighted” will automatically draw the eye. Of course, you can’t draw the eye to everything on a webpage, which is why an effective web designer is adept at understanding what matters most to their client.
  • Consistency – A consistent website is a user-friendly website. For example, imagine how difficult it would be to navigate a website if each page had a completely different layout.
  • Unity – The overall layout and composition of a website should be unified. Web designers rely on The Gestalt Principle to understand how the visuals they utilize affect the ways in which users understand them.

As we touched earlier – and as you may have noticed from reading that list – web designers do more than just make websites look nice. They also need to understand not just their clients’ objectives but a certain amount of human psychology.

For example, an About Us page and a blog post with an opt-in at the bottom have two completely different goals.

While they still need to be consistent and unified with the rest of the site, a good designer will know how to implement certain aesthetic elements to help each reach their respective aims.