Ever wondered what it’s like to be a web designer in a professional web design agency? Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of their job scope and responsibilities.
- A typical web designer’s responsibilities include meeting with the clients alongside the project manager to layout specifics of the site design and functions.
- Part of the design stage includes a simulation or mock up of the site, which the web designer will utilise Adobe softwares for. Commonly used professional softwares include Adobe illustrator for design layouts and for interactive mockups, Adobe XD.
- Strategizing user flow to ensure that it is functional and fulfills the client’s objective.
- Re-editing drafts of the site after input of feedback from client.
Hear from Lemonade’s in-house web-designer, Hui Fen
• As a web designer, I am responsible for creating the overall design & layout of a website according to the brief. I will outline the problems/needs of each client and implement design layouts on the design platforms such as Adobe Illustrator. I am also in-charge of designing the layout in an interactive mockup format on Adobe XD.
2. What is a day in your life as a web designer like?
• A full day involves working on various projects for clients including front-end website design, project development, and strategizing a user’s flow to help fulfill the client’s needs & objectives towards their target audience.
3. What is one thing you wish clients would understand about the design process?
• The different elements required for a successful user interface experience.
4. What is the trickiest part of the job?
• Translating design elements to clients and for them to be able to articulate the aesthetic of the site enough for me to successfully capture that.
5. Did you have any pre-requisite knowledge of web design before joining Lemonade?
Yes, I did. I used a software called “Brackets” which churns out HTML coding that transforms it into a responsive website using a format called ‘Bootstrap’.
I also picked up a WordPress Hosting Solutions called “MAMP Pro”, where it creates and manages multiple hosts each time. Each host can be configured individually and adapts exactly to the target system.
6. What is the most satisfying part of your job?
• To be able to see my own design go live.
What are the distinct differences between hiring a freelance web designer and a web designer from an agency?
On the other hand, an impressive freelancer would also be able to take on such a project at a lower costs, but they usually consist of a one-man team and would take a longer time, so the client would have to adjust timeline expectations accordingly. If the client doesn’t mind the hassle, to build a site with a freelancer usually consists of approaching one UI and one UX designer, as the freelancer is either a well-versed user-experience or user interface designer, rarely both.
The skills a web-designer are required to have
Typically, most clients would have the impression that web-designers only require a good eye when it comes to visual aesthetics, but that is merely the tip of the iceberg. With design apps such as Pinterest, We Heart It, and even Canva available at our fingertips, it is not hard to conceptualise a good vision board.
A good vision board can help realize a professional-looking website that is also on-brand for the business. Do not be mistaken, a professional web-agency would definitely employ a web-designer with a good sense of design, but it forms roughly 10% of the grunt work that goes into building a site.
More importantly, a great web designer in a professional agency should have the required technical skills to build the mock-ups required.
Web designers should be well-equipped with basic coding languages like HTML, CSS and Java. Efficiency with softwares such as Adobe Illustrator and XD are also appreciated as they help speed up the design process.
The main difference between a UI and UX designer?
A UI designer or commonly known as user interface designer is responsible for how the interface looks and function, this term is strictly digital and only applies to job functions within web design. On the other hand, user interface is applicable to a wider range of industries.
For UI designers, many would interpret the profession to be similar to that of a graphic designer or Adobe Illustrator artist. In reality, their responsibilities revolve around elements of design and consumer psychology. For web designers, their objective is to make online features feel as intuitive as possible in order to get consumers to interact with the site. Is it easy for the user to check out their shopping cart? How does one get more views on a specific category of products if the business is attempting to upsell?
These are some of the common considerations a web designer has to take into account. In order to execute their objectives, they have to finesse using design functions to make all of that happen intuitively to the viewer/consumer. To top it off, not only do they ensure the site is functional, they make it aesthetically-pleasing as well.
For UX designers, their main objective is slightly self-explanatory. They craft a user’s experience as the viewer navigates the site and gather information about the business or a certain product. A huge aspect of their responsibilities involve troubleshooting during the site development process and as they layout the skeleton of the project, it becomes easier to identify any problems that might impede a pleasant user experience. This is particularly crucial in assisting brands to tell their story and hopefully a convincing one that is enough to churn sales from the site.
Conceptualising a site
This is the part where some trade-offs would need to be made in order to prioritise other needs. Almost every project comes with a quirky function or a feature customised for the brand and this helps the reader to remember the business’s USP.
Building a site
The mid-cycle of the site includes putting up of content and graphics sent over by clients. There will be plenty of drafts to be reverted back for edits at this stage and client feedback is essential before the site is launched. Just before launch, the site will have to undergo rigorous testing and debugging in order for it to be launched smoothly.
Optimising a site for marketing
Optimising a site is important for the client’s return of investment, most businesses expect the site to assist them with their KPIs and generate sales. It is easy to undermine this stage but it is crucial not to do so.
In recent years, online marketing has become a collaborative effort, with brands plugging their social media pages on their main sites or advertisers featuring businesses with homogenous products to draw in clicks. These little acts can actually generate a high conversion rate and meet sales targets or KPIs.
Optimising the site and its content also includes SEO optimisation, this is where the content has to be Google search friendly in order for the site to rank highly on any major search engines. This is typically not under the responsibility of the web designer, but the location in which the content is placed would be under the user interface stage.