Everyone wants to throw around that they are a web designer these days. Even people who don’t claim to be designers think they can design!
I think the definition of “Web Design” has been misconstrued so much to a point where people think one or all of the following:
- It’s just drawing a bunch of pretty pictures.
- It’s easy, and anyone can do it, literally anyone.
- It doesn’t really matter, it just has to look good.
I can’t tell you how much this frustrates me. So here are 10 reasons why you are not a web designer OR 10 reasons why you are =)
Before I get into reason one, you need to know what web design is.
Design is the creation of a new solution to a problem. Web Design is the creation of communication to solve a problem. The better the communication, the better the design. – Ben Hunt
Embed that into your mind and understand what a web designer, a real web designer, actually does.
1. It’s not about being pretty
Being a web designer isn’t about making the site look as cool and awesome as possible. In fact, when it comes to conversion (you making money) a lot of times ugly websites out-perform pretty overdone sites. Why? Because web design is about communication. How clearly does your site communicate?
2. Drawing has nothing to do with anything.
Guess what, I’m a web designer and I can’t draw =D. When people say it’s just drawing a bunch of pretty pictures, I don’t really know what mindset they’re in. Web design has nothing to do with drawing. I mean, if you can draw, that’s awesome, but you don’t need that specific talent to be a web designer.
I would say it’s more on your layout and structure. How you use the colors, spacing, etc., all play a major role in successful web design.
3. Blue, Green, Yellow, Brown, just stop!
Sites have color schemes. These colors play a role in how the site works. Website conventions are there to keep things in an organized structure. For instance, if I highlight a link red, and throughout the entire site, it’s red. That tells the user that my CTA (call to action) is red. So when they see something like that, they can click it.
Derek Halpern has an awesome post on a CTA color: What’s the best color for high conversions?
When people say change this color to “x” with no logical explanation other than, they like the color, that’s when the flag should go up: “You’re Not A Web Designer!”
4. What’s the point?
Does your site have a goal? If it doesn’t it should. Your web design should push you towards achieving that goal. There should be a reason why one element stands out more than another? Certain elements are attention grabbers, others aren’t.
A web designer knows what they have to do to put the achievement of your goals in the best light.
5. How long have you been designing websites?
Real web designers design websites. That’s our calling, it’s what we do. As a web designer, I could never walk into a mechanic’s shop and tell them how to fix my car. It just wouldn’t work. That person is a mechanic, it’s what they know. We are designers, it’s what we know.
6. Not Everyone can do it!
The thing I see most is people visit those DIY (do it yourself) websites, create a website and they say “Why am I not getting any business”. Designing a website and making it live for everyone to see doesn’t mean that you will automatically get business.
Web Designers understand this. It’s more than just putting a few things that you like together. You should come up with a strategy to get traffic (marketing), and get that traffic to do business with you (conversion). Web designers see the bigger picture in your sites goal.
7. “Content Marketing”, it’s what the cool kids do.
I suck at grammar and spelling. But what I can do, is take what you’re trying to say, simplify it, and make it easier and more friendly to read for your users.
Yes, web designers should be familiar with copy. This doesn’t mean you have to write essays. It does mean that you should be able to take what a client gives you, and rework it to something that is more beneficial for that business.
8. Thinking out of the box
Creativity is a gift. It’s something you’re born with and then hone as the years go on. Some people just don’t have. Web Designers have it. We’re creative, it’s in our genes! Making a site look like your competitors or just saying to copy another site is a big no-no! Think outside the box and stand out from your competition.
9. “Make it POP”, “It doesn’t feel right”
What!? I’m not sure why people think that web design’s are like pieces of art by Picasso. I generally hear things like, “Can you make the site feel less corporate”, or “That looks to templatey”.
I understand that as a web designer, it’s my job to take what you’re trying to say and translate it into something that’s real. However, please be as descriptive as possible. Saying things like “to templatey” or “feel …” doesn’t offer good feedback. As a web designer, we’re trying to deliver a site that will work best for you, and real web designers are pretty good at it.
Audiences respond to color, images, and content. Bigger things stand out, heavier contrast of colors stands out, images show more than just a picture. For instance, you can take a design, add images of business people, and BAM, you have a site that appeals to corporate businesses. Take the same design, add images of nurses and doctors, and now it’s a completely different site that appeals to nurses and doctors!
The funny thing is, if you’re a doctor and I showed you the business version first, you may think that it won’t work because it’s to business centric. But that is rarely ever the case.
10. You don’t have to like it!
Guess what, just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. The problem with web design today is everyone is too opinionated on what they think they’re website should look like. People are way to focussed on the aesthetics of a site rather than the goal of the site.
If a 1px border on a widget is bothering you just because you don’t like it, try to think of the bigger picture. Is that 1px border going to detract visitors from taking an action?
Why are you stressing over a font size being 1px to large? Most of the things that people flip over won’t have any effect on the overall goal of the site, in fact, most users won’t even know the difference.
So those are the 10 reasons why you are possibly not a designer, why you should absolutely trust your web designer, and why you may be an amazing web designer.
If you have any other reasons to add, please do so in the comments.
And remember, Trust Your Designer! It’s takes a lot of time and practice to do what we do.