Which technology is best for web design

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Origin and development

The web designer profession developed in the 1990s when the Internet became increasingly commercially used. It was recognized that the appearance - the so-called "look and feel" - of a website or e-commerce application is particularly important for business success. Thanks to new technologies, the possibilities of influencing the design, layout and operation of a website increased. While at the beginning of the 1990s one was limited to the use of HTML tags and embedded graphics, the scope for design was expanded considerably with the introduction of Cascading Style Sheets / CSS (1995) and Macromedia Flash (1997). Using these different design elements correctly, however, required specialists: Basic knowledge of HTML and image processing was no longer sufficient. From the beginning, the basis for this profession was the combination of both artistic-aesthetic and technical-analytical knowledge and skills.

In principle, little has changed about that to this day. However, there are now much more technical options for designing the appearance and user-friendliness of a website. In addition, today's intensive use of mobile devices places new demands on web design: websites must be readable, attractively designed and operated with touchscreen, even on smaller screens. Web designers therefore also have to deal with modern concepts and technologies such as B. Know about Responsive Design, Parallax Scrolling, One Pager, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and know how to optimally design websites for both desktop and mobile use. The area of ​​responsibility has become much more extensive and demanding. Accordingly, in addition to the "classics" HTML and CSS, today's web designer has many other tools such as B. PHP, JavaScript and other scripting languages, frameworks and libraries for the creation and design of cross-device web applications are available.

The design of aesthetically appealing and intuitive user interfaces for web applications of all kinds today requires broad technical know-how as well as a lot of artistic creativity and ingenuity, even more than in the past. At the same time, however, it is also important that a web designer includes the requirements of company-specific target groups as well as search engines in his concepts. This complexity and versatility is what makes this specialized job description of the web designer so attractive.

Demand for web designers

Web designers were already being sought on the German job market at the beginning of the last decade, because this job description had already developed a few years earlier. In 2016, the demand for relevant specialists reached a temporary high - in the following years it returned to the previous level. One reason for this is that from 2016/2017, more and more web developers were sought (see Fig. 1 in the job description of web developers) and took on these subtasks of web design, such as layout design with cascading style sheets (CSS). Before that, more complex layouts and designs often had to be created with image processing programs, whereby the professional handling of them was usually reserved for web designers. Because of the considerable progress in the area of ​​layout and design programming, the professional profiles of web designer and web developer have been mixing more and more since then, with web designers continuing to be experts in corporate design and user-friendly web interfaces .

Demand for expertise in web design

Web design expertise was and is also in demand in other professions such as web developer, graphic designer or online marketing manager: Corresponding skill mentions in job advertisements were mentioned very often, especially in the first half of the last decade, with the second Only a slight decrease was recorded.

Demand for expertise in bootstrap and SASS

The fact that web designs and layouts have increasingly been implemented with the free front-end CSS framework Bootstrap and the stylesheet language SASS in recent years is reflected in the demand on the labor market for appropriate skills in recent years. Web designers these days should also master these two tools.

use

Web designer is not a legally protected professional title in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This means that every person can legally use the term as a job title and is often used in job advertisements, for example.

However, anyone who uses the term in professional life (e.g. for applications or concluding contracts) without having the appropriate qualifications may violate certain laws, in Germany e.g. against the Unfair Competition Act (UWG) in the sense of misleading advertising. Under certain circumstances, the use of the professional title "web designer" can also constitute a criminal offense of fraud (in Germany according to § 263 StGB), e.g. in the form of employment fraud.

Web designers deal with the conception, graphic design and user guidance of websites and interfaces for web applications as well as the implementation of corporate design and corporate identity on the web. You have extensive training in the field of design. Most of their work also has an artistic aspect. However, web designers are increasingly acquiring knowledge of programming and scripting languages ​​for creating websites. Additional qualifications in the areas of search engine optimization (SEO), usability and conversion rate optimization (CRO) are also not uncommon, because the requirements for web designers are increasingly moving towards holistic website concepts, where it is important to combine the different criteria of the various disciplines bring to.

The designation Web designer is widespread internationally and has found its way into the linguistic usage of many nations. In Germany, too, this has been the standard designation for this profession for many years. Sometimes the term "media designer" or "media designer" is used synonymously or in combination in job advertisements, although this job title originally refers primarily to the design of print media and thus the focus is on the offline area. However, the ongoing digitization and merging of print and online media mean that designers are increasingly being sought who have knowledge of both classic media design in offline printing and modern web design in the online area and who are at home in both worlds, so to speak are.

Fields of work and activity

Web designers work as employees, self-employed or freelancers in or for

  • Graphics, advertising, web, multimedia, online marketing or full-service agencies
  • Public service institutions
  • Associations and associations
  • IT, PR or graphics departments of companies in every industry who administer or organize their websites themselves

You are usually part of a larger team of various experts (web developer, administrator, art director, online marketing manager, etc.).

Web designers do not only have to do with the public Internet, but also work, especially in larger organizations, for the closed company intranet, which is used purely for internal communication.

Core tasks:

Web interface design and (optionally) programming

  • Graphic conception and design of the web interface taking into account the target group (s)
  • Creation of scribbles and mockups
  • Development of desktop and mobile compatible website designs and concepts
  • Development of information and navigation architecture
  • At least basic knowledge of mobile app design and app development
  • Creation of websites and templates for content management systems, web applications and online shops based on HTML, CSS, template engines and script languages
  • Control and optimization of the source code of the websites for perfect display in various web browsers, including on mobile devices
  • Selection and, if necessary, digital capture of image material
  • Creation and preparation of audio and video content
  • In the case of the combination with media design, also the separate preparation of image material for web and print, thereby ensuring a uniform design and corporate identity
  • Editing of images and videos and optimization for display on the Internet
  • Creation of graphics (background images, infographics, etc.) with special graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop
  • Conception and implementation of multimedia elements, navigation and user interfaces based on HTML5, CSS3, SVG, JavaScript and AJAX, as well as various JavaScript frameworks (angularJS, jQuery, etc.)
  • Knowledge of frequently used content management and shop systems such as B. Wordpress, Joomla, Typo3, Drupal, Magento or Shopware with regard to template and theme creation or adaptation
  • Knowledge of special technologies such as B. Responsive Design, Parallax Scrolling Design, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Progressive Web Applications (PWA) and One Pager
  • Occasionally, knowledge of Flash and ActionScript and / or Microsoft Silverlight is also required

Web usability

  • Design and optimization of the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of websites or web applications for both desktop and mobile use.
  • Conception of the web interface and the process-oriented areas with a view to intuitive usability
  • Implementation of simple usability and user experience tests
  • Implementation of guidelines for accessible websites (accessibility)

Competencies

The skills profile of the web designer is characterized by the combination of artistic-creative and technical-analytical components. Web designers must have technical and methodological skills in all of the above-mentioned fields of activity. In order to survive in working life, however, various »soft skills« are required:

  • Communication skills: Web designers are often members of a larger project team that works on creating large-scale web applications. You must therefore be able to communicate efficiently with all other specialists involved in the project via all available channels (personal conversations, meetings, telephone calls, e-mails, video conferences, chats).
  • Social competence / ability to work in a team: Web designers must be able to work intensively with other experts and be open to the perspectives and requirements of sub-areas and other disciplines.
  • Willingness to lifelong learning: The advancement of technologies in the field of the WWW is proceeding rapidly. Web designers must therefore - like other professional groups in the online sector - be prepared to constantly learn and further educate themselves. It is important to carefully observe trends and the development of new technologies and, if necessary, to question your own preferences. For example, in terms of whether there are now new, better options for certain design requirements or problems.
  • Creativity: The planning and creation of aesthetically pleasing web interfaces is above all an artistic-creative process. Ingenuity and a sense of aesthetics are very much in demand.
  • A good self-organisation is required in practically all projects. Anyone who is constantly bogged down in teamwork with tight deadlines for web projects and regularly "delivers" too late makes themselves unpopular and will sooner or later lose their job.
  • Accuracy and budget responsibility: A web designer has a great opportunity to consider the most important requirements and criteria as early as the design phase. However, accuracy and care are important here, because if, after an online presence goes live, serious modifications or even relaunches are necessary during normal operation due to neglect, this leads to considerable additional costs.
  • Load capacity: Especially in the agency business, web designers often have to work under time pressure and still meet the high expectations of the customer and / or department or project manager. This means, if necessary, to create an early awareness among the parties involved that the development of a good web design takes time and that numerous aspects and requirements have to be taken into account.

requirements

People who want to train as a web designer should meet the following requirements:

School requirements

University entrance qualification, technical college entrance qualification or an intermediate educational qualification

English skills

Interested parties should have a good command of English and be able to understand simple to moderately difficult English texts from a technical environment.

PC and mobile skills

Interested parties should have several years of experience with PCs and be familiar with at least one graphical user interface (e.g. Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X). This also includes the safe use of the keyboard and mouse. But you should also use mobile devices such as B. be familiar with smartphones and tablets and the basic peculiarities and differences of mobile operating systems. They should also be familiar with standard software such as word processing and graphics programs as well as important developer tools.

Internet user skills

Interested parties should already know the Internet and various types of websites and online shops very well as users and use the common services and applications (e.g. WWW, e-mail, mobile apps, social media, etc.).

Creativity and artistic talent

Interested parties should have a high degree of creativity and artistic talent, since the development of unique, aesthetically sophisticated web interfaces is not only a technical, but above all a creative process. A corresponding talent z. B. what concerns the creation of sketches, drawings or other graphic drafts is a basic requirement for this profession.

Other requirements

Understanding of technical processes and autodidactic disposition.

Initial and continuing education

Professional skills for the job description of the web designer can be acquired as part of the training to become a media designer with an IHK degree, as part of various university courses (e.g. media informatics) or through further training at private educational institutes / academies.

The Webmasters Fernakademie Nürnberg offers the following distance learning course with certification as a web designer for this job description:

The Webmasters Fernakademie offers a state-approved distance learning course to become a certified web designer. The focus of this training lies in the area responsive web design with HTML5 and CSS3. The training is offered by the WE-authorized educational institutes in the form of face-to-face and / or virtual classroom lessons.

The “Certified Web Designer” degree includes, in addition to the above-mentioned core competencies of a web designer, additional knowledge in the areas of website design & project management as well as JavaScript programming. This advanced training takes about 6 months full-time, part-time or up to 18 months.

Career paths

Web designers can typically work in the following ranks:

  • As an assistant (young professional, »junior web designer«)
  • As a project or team leader (with professional experience, "senior web designer"
  • As a department head (web department)
  • As an art director
  • As managing director (self-employed)
  • As a freelance consultant, concept developer, web designer