Secret rules of Professional Web Designers revealed
What separates a professional web designer from an amateur designer? Professional web designers follow some basic rules. There are seven basic rules that, if followed, will help a beginning or intermediate designer become a professional:
- Just because you can does not mean you should. Web technology offers many options and tools to build Web sites; however, just because the technology is there does not mean a designer should use that technology just for the sake of using it. Many times, adding technology can impede the performance of a site or irritate users into leaving the site. An example of this is using Flash to animate a logo of a site. While the company may want to show off its new logo, the user, most likely, probably does not care or want to see it move every time she hits a page. When using a new technology, the important question a designer should ask is, Does the technology add value to the site or is it being added strictly as a novelty?
- There is almost always an exception.There rarely are absolutes in Web design. A designer should be careful of ruling out a technology or design method simply because it did not work for another site. Take, for example, the rotating logo. While it’s not going to work for 99 percent of the world’s Web sites, a corporation that is running an extremely expensive global rebranding campaign may want to use animation to show off its new logo for a month or two. It may even elect to show the animation on the homepage, which probably is a better approach to showing the new image without forcing it on the user too frequently.
- Users are the ultimate judges.Opinions are never lacking when a site is in the design process. While an experienced designer may think a site should function or appear a certain way, the designers boss may think differently. The bottom line is that the users are the bottom line. The site needs to make sense to them, so the site should be designed with them in mind.
- Crossover experience is something a designer needs to always strive for.Professional Web design requires an understanding of the users needs, regardless of how the designer personally believes the aesthetic and technical aspects of the site should be designed. Whatever the issue may be, a designer benefits from a comprehensive understanding of the many technical aspects of the sites design. A perfect example is that of forms. While it is important to make a form easy to use and attractive, the designer must also take technical considerations into mind. One pitfall a non-technical designer can fall into is creating a form field that may be layered above a down menu when it is expanded.
- Humility is the best approach.Because there are so many intricacies of Web design, there are always going to be designers with more attractive sites, newer technology, or who use technology in a more creative way. If a designer does not let pride get in his way, learning from others can strengthen his skills.
- It is impossible to please everyone.Whether it is the estimated 1.7 billion Web users around the world or three people in the office, a design is never going to make everyone happy. Everyone has an opinion. However, there is a fine line between making the majority happy and attempting to create a site that will actually be effective in properly communicating. A designer sometimes should take a stand to maintain certain functional and aesthetic aspects of a design.
- Try to stay on top of specifications and standards.Web specifications and standards are constantly changing and will continue to do so.
The designer should have a basic understanding of the latest techniques, which will affect future work. CSS-driven Web design is one such example.