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Every satisfied customer on every website starts in the hands of a experienced web designer. This professional has the ability to capture the client’s vision, bring the design elements to life, and ultimately create a website that appeals to consumers. This is not easy task since it involves both creative and technical abilities, so a top web designer is experienced in many different disciplines.
Likewise, an in-demand website designer will also have insights into the business and marketing worlds to understand how a website can meet a client’s needs, convey their brand, and help embrace new customers online. This knowledge is used to maximize things like lead generation and overall engagement levels.
Web designers must always begin by considering a client’s website objectives and then move on to an Information Architecture (IA) to set a website’s information hierarchy and help guide the design process. Next, web designers can start creating wireframes and finally move to the design stage. Web designers may use several basic design principles to achieve an aesthetically pleasing layout which also offers excellent user experience.
Balance – It’s important for web designers to create a balanced layout. In web design we refer to heavy (large and dark colors) and light (small and lighter colors) elements. Using the correct proportion of each is critical to achieving a balanced website design.
Contrast– In color theory, contrasting colors are ones placed opposite one another on the color wheel (see also complementary colors). Web design offers a few other areas where contrast is applicable. Designers look at contrasting sizes, textures and shapes to define and draw attention to certain sections of the website.
Emphasis– We touched on this a bit when discussing contrast. Emphasis is a design principles founded in the intentional “highlighting” of certain important elements of the website layout. It’s important to note that if you emphasize everything on the page you end up emphasizing nothing. Imagine a page in a book where 80% of the content is highlighted in yellow…does anything really stand out? This is the time to take a look at that Information Architecture for direction.
Consistency – Also called repetition or rhythm, consistency is a critical web design principle. For example, clean and consistent navigation provides the best user experience for your website visitors.
Unity – Unity is the relationship between the various parts of the website layout and the composition as a whole. Based in the Gestalt theory, unity deals with how the human brain visually organizes information by grouping elements into categories.
Web developers, sometimes called programmers, take the design created and build a fully functioning website. To put it (very) simply, think of the design as a non-interactive “picture” of a website. Developers take that design and break it up into it’s components. They then either use just HTML or a more dynamic approach incorporating programming languages such as PHP to develop the various website pages. More advanced web developers may choose to utilize a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla in order to streamline development and allow clients an easy way to maintain and update their website.
Web developers may convert a static layout into a dynamic website by using image and content sliders, active states for links and buttons, and other interactive elements.
It pays to do a little bit of homework before hiring a web designer since it can have a drastic effect on the overall price and the quality received. For example, a simple website without any large customizations can be launched with a pre-made theme at a minimal cost. This may not be suitable for websites anticipating lots of custom layouts and/or extensive traffic, so it’s good to know up front what type of designer will be required or if you’ll also need a developer.
Take a look at an example web design project description. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When attracting a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a requirement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.
ABC Company is looking for a web designer to create a custom theme for our e-commerce store. This project will be to create a responsive, mobile-friendly design.
Mock-ups for each page of e-commerce site (approximately 20 pages)
Custom navigation and HTML elements
Graphics integrated into two homepage carousels (12 images total)
Setup of online shopping basket
Deadline for deliverables:
All tasks must be completed by <date>.
This project requires the following skills:
Expertise working with <design software>, <mobile/responsive framework>, <Adobe Photoshop>, or <CMS template builder>
E-commerce experience is a plus
Understands responsive design
The work will also require a great view for detail and preliminary retail experience, preferably in the electronics/automation industry. We would like to begin this project no later than <date>, so we plan on hiring a candidate by the end of the week.
After posting a detailed, well-thought-out project description that defines what you’ll need from your web designer, it’s time to start analyzing proposals. How do you select the top talented designer for your project?
When it comes to finding the top talented web designer, start by reviewing for portfolio samples that match your requirement. Be sure to ask freelancers about their experience with other facets of design as well, and consider the overall goal for the website being built.
Finally, it’s important to verify that a web designer understands the brand in question and its overall goals online. A qualified professional will be able to give a list of any expected obstacles, plus estimate the amount of time the project will take and the total cost. Since complex website projects could require months to complete, a good working relationship is essential.
With the right freelance web designer, you can end up with a finished product that brings your vision to life. Just take the time to create a detailed project description, review each freelancer’s proposal and portfolio, and ask them a few web design interview questions to determine if they’re the right fit for the project.