Being a beginner web designer is not as easy as so many think. There is this false belief that the web designer has a wonderful life and that complete freedom is available. This is definitely not the case and there is absolutely no good designer out there that will say such things.
Beginners need to be aware of the fact that rules change when creating designs that are meant to be presented on the internet. You cannot simply do anything that you think about on your computer. Make sure that you consider the following things and your success will be higher.
1. Designs Should Be Simple And Clean
Many beginners make the mistake of always wanting to showcase what they are capable of. This is not something bad but when referring to the internet, the design needs to be simple and clean. It is very important that usability is offered and visitors are not actually drawn in by the really complex designs that were popular in the past.
When you add many components and features to one page, you will distract the viewer and the site’s purpose will not be met. Only add the elements that are actually needed and think about the visitor. Work with the rest of the team so that the site’s purpose, message and goal can be showcased.
Keep in mind that this does not mean that you should not try to come up with unique interfaces or patterns. You just have to be sure that what you come up with is clean and intuitive.
2. Think About Page Load Times
In an attempt to come up with something special you can make the mistake of not optimizing the graphics used for the internet. Remember the fact that the internet user needs to see the pages load really fast. We still have individuals that use dial-up connections and even with broadband complicated designs can take a lot of time to load.
All images that include a solid color should be saved as GIFs or PNGs. The continuous color images have to be saved in JPG format. Keep in mind that there are various tools available for web designers to optimize images and end up with low file sizes. For instance, check out the list of compressors on Mashable. It is also smart to minimize image numbers in web design.
3. Keep Learning
What worked great in web design 5 years ago is no longer effective and should not even be considered. With this in mind, it is a huge shame to see the fact that there are still so many sites that use those principles. As a web designer, pro or novice, being connected to the market is highly important. You need to know everything that happens in the industry and you have to keep adapting.
Subscribe to all the web design blogs and sites that you find so that you are always connected with the information sources that you can use to improve. As a web designer you will learn many new things every single year.
4. Web Design Is All About Navigation
The site’s navigation scheme is considered by many as being the vital element that can make or break a good web design. That is definitely correct and you can come up with the best possible graphics and have a poor overall design if your navigation scheme is weak.
The most important step here is planning the navigation structure of the site that you work on. Some of the different facts that you have to think about are:
- CSS or Java?
- Technology used
Your navigation menu should be visible and easy to find from the first second the visitor looks at the site. All top level pages have to be easy to reach and remember that navigation’s main goal is to make it easier for the user to find the content that he/she wants.
5. Color Accessibility Is Vital
Color contrasts of foregrounds and backgrounds can easily make or break a website. You should always think about the users that have low-vision and readability becomes a huge concern as the internet is still based on text blocks. If you use black text on a white background, the contrast is high. Using orange on red would simply strain the visitor’s eyes and he/she will leave.
6. Web Designers Need To Know At Least Basic SEO
SEO basics should always be considered when the site is created. The easiest example to highlight this need is the structure of the web content that is presented. Texts that are important should be showcased with the use of headings and many other things can be mentioned.
Div elements are always better than the commonly used tables so that site content can be better represented and the search engines will also like this. CSS additions should be made to allow both the design and the on-page optimizations to be optimum.
7. Designs Have To Be Maintainable And Flexible
The really good web designer will be able to create designs that are really easy to modify or update when that is necessary. If that is not possible for you at the moment, you need to refer to the keep learning point mentioned above. Work has to be modular and style needs to be separated from structure at all times.
As already mentioned here and on many different websites, the entire internet industry is dynamic in the sense that changes often happen. That is why flexible web design is so important.
Tell Us Your Web Design Tips!
Many other things can be mentioned but we do see the elements highlighted above as being the most important at the moment. If you do have extra information that you want to share with the novice web designer, do so in the comment section. We can always help each other improve.