Category

Main Blog

Want to Become a Web Designer? Follow These 6 Tips

glasses in front of screen

Having an online presence is a necessity in today’s world. It’s a key way customers find and interact with businesses, and the ability to gather information and browse products through the web is something most modern consumers expect. 

For those interested in website design, the Pacific Northwest is a great place to be. Web design companies abound in Bellingham, making it easy to find someone to create your site for you. 

That being said, you don’t necessarily have to pay someone to design your site. Teaching yourself the basics doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort, and you don’t need to be an expert to use the web design programs available today. 

While there are courses available both online and in classrooms, it’s honestly faster to teach yourself—and there are plenty of resources available to help you. If you’re considering embarking on your own web design, here are some tips to get you started. 

Tip 1: Start with a blog

Blogging sites like Blogger, Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix do a lot of the backend design for you, letting you focus on the aesthetic aspects like the graphics and layout. Playing around with one of these services can increase your comfort level, letting you experiment with adding content and images without needing to write all the back-end code yourself.

As you’re designing your blog, take the time to look at the code. Some blogging programs have an option for seeing the HTML right in the designer. If yours doesn’t, you can inspect the code of the website. Most browsers have a hotkey to do this.

On Chrome, for example, you can hit Ctrl+Shift+I, while on Mozilla the hotkey is Ctrl+Shift+C. You might not understand just what you’re looking at, at first, but gaining that initial familiarity with the code will be helpful once you start learning it. 

Learn how to code

Tip 2: Learn how to craft quality content

Knowing how to write code lets you design a website, but what you put on that site is arguably more important when it comes to attracting and keeping readers. If your written communication skills aren’t great, improving them will do more for your website’s quality than even the most sophisticated code. 

Not sure how to write compelling content? Start reading it—and pay attention to the details. What tone do your favorite web articles use? How long is the typical post—and how do they keep you engaged the whole way through?

Pay attention to what you don’t like, along with what you do. If you find certain phrases or styles of content off-putting, you’re probably not the only one who feels that way. Once you’ve studied other people’s content, you can better write the kind of content you want to read. 

Learn how to write quality content

Tip 3: Hone your eye for design

People talk a lot about the technical aspects of web design but sometimes neglect the aesthetic component. You’ll need both to make a high-quality website. Artists, decorators, and other visual creatives have a leg up on this step, since they’re already used to thinking about things like color and proportion. Even so, you’ll want to study up on what makes websites specifically look appealing to visitors. 

There are free courses and tutorials all over the internet on improving your design skills. Both WikiHow and Medium.com have a wealth of web design content you can access for free. You may also find it helpful to join an online community, such as a designer subreddit or similar forum. Just like with generating quality content, you’ll find it very helpful to pay attention to the things you like and dislike about the design choices other website builders make. 

Tip 4: Learn how to write HTML

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the programming language at the heart of all web design. It’s one of the easiest programming languages to learn, too. The commands are fairly intuitive once you get used to them and it’s on the whole much more forgiving than other coding systems. 

You can learn HTML in a variety of ways. There are plenty of books on the subject, though you’ll want to be careful you’re getting the most recent information available (HTML5 is the one currently in widest use). You can also find an array of online tutorials for free, as well as websites that share coding tips and advice.

As with anything, practice makes perfect. Just studying HTML won’t be much help if you don’t figure out how to implement that knowledge. Many free blog programs let you write the HTML for the site if you so choose, so that can be a good playground for trying out your new skills. You can also go through a site like Codecademy that gives you an interface for typing and testing code in an array of different languages. 

Tip 5: Get familiar with CSS and JavaScript

Aside from HTML, these two coding systems are the most prevalent in web design. CSS is short for “cascading style sheets” and works in conjunction with HTML, letting you define the overarching layout and design of a page more quickly and efficiently.

Rather than writing the code to specify things like text size, heading definitions, and link colors in each individual page, you can create one CSS document and use it in all your pages. This saves you a lot of time when you want to make changes, too, since you won’t have to go in and rewrite each page individually. 

JavaScript is a programming language that allows you to make webpages interactive and dynamic. While it’s a bit more complex than HTML, it’s still a lot easier to write and understand than the majority of coding systems.

One good thing about JavaScript is that you don’t necessarily need to learn to code it from scratch. You can find a lot of websites that offer scripts for free to their readers, allowing you to simply copy and paste the script. The advantage of gaining some literacy with JavaScript is you’ll be able to tweak and customize these scripts you find, even if you don’t ever want to write your own. 

If HTML is the skeleton of your website, CSS and JavaScript are the flesh and muscle that let it come alive. About 94% of the websites out there today use JavaScript in some form, so it’s become a must-know skill if you’re looking to give your readers a more robust user experience.

Tip 6: Gain an understanding of SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is how you get your website into a form that search engines can read. It’s not just about putting keywords into your content that customers will be searching for. Designing the pages and elements in a clean way that Google can make sense of is also important to getting more page hits through search engines. 

Generally, the faster and cleaner your website is, the better it will do in search engines. The frequency of updates is something else search engines look at, which is one reason blogs tend to rank better than more static sites. The placement and quantity of keywords is a big part of it, too, and it’s not just about using as many as you can. Too many keywords can actually hurt you, triggering your site as spam according to Google’s metrics. 

SEO statistics you cant ignore

When Do You Need a Professional?

The first question you need to answer when you’re deciding whether to do your own site or hire a professional is exactly what services you want to offer. If you’ll mostly be using the site for marketing and giving your business an online face, it’s reasonable to do it yourself.

More complex and interactive sites will be trickier for a beginner to pull off. Writing scripts is significantly more difficult than coding basic HTML and can be very frustrating to learn. If you want those kinds of bells and whistles, you’re probably better off hiring someone to get you started.

You should also consider how much time you want to invest in the website. Business owners have plenty on their plates already without adding website updates to their list. If the site will be primarily static, or you just want a place to share occasional articles and news with your customers, doing it yourself won’t be a huge time investment once the site is up and running.

More frequent updates will mean spending more time on it, and you may find it’s ultimately more economical to hire someone than squeeze it into your own schedule. 

Security is something else you need to think about, especially if you plan to incorporate an online store. Professional web designers know how to avoid hackers and protect you and your customers’ data. Customers won’t shop on your online portal if they don’t trust you to keep their credit card information and other personal data safe. For any website that’s handling financial information or sensitive data, a professional will give you peace of mind.  

Advantages of Using a Web Design Bellingham Service

  • You’ll get a unique and high-quality site. It’s often easy to tell when someone’s used a free web design platform. Their included templates run the risk of giving your website a cookie-cutter look. Hiring a professional lets you break free from those limitations and create a site that’s totally your own. They also have the knowledge to give your page smoother navigation and better eye appeal.
  • It will get finished faster. Learning web design takes time and you have to practice a lot before you can do it quickly. There’s inevitably some troubleshooting that needs to happen, too, and locating and fixing programming errors can be a huge time-sink. Web designers have the experience to build a site quickly so you’ll be up and running in less time. 
  • You can take advantage of their expertise. Professional web designers stay on top of the latest trends and developments in technology. They can give you access to tools and options you might not have even known existed, and will be able to point out potential issues with your design vision that aren’t obvious to a first-time designer. Using a designer can often help drive more traffic to your site because they’re able to leverage their past experiences. 
  • The site can be more responsive. Beginning designers often don’t think about things like how the page will look on a mobile screen. Incorporating interactive elements like contact forms, comment sections, and user forums can be very difficult for a beginner, as well. A web design professional knows how to implement design elements that will make your site more dynamic. 

Advantages of Doing Your Own Web Design

  • It’s cheaper. This is the main reason people design their own sites. Professional web designers charge anywhere from $30 to $80 an hour, while developers often charge upwards of $100 an hour. That often means a total cost of somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000 for a business website—a pretty hefty expense that you can avoid by learning the skills yourself.
  • You have complete control. Web designers will follow your aesthetic vision in the design, but that doesn’t always guarantee you’ll get exactly what you were looking for. If you learn to do the design yourself, you’re in charge of the end result, with no risk of your vision being derailed by creative differences or miscommunications. 
  • You’ll learn valuable skills. With each passing year, more and more of our lives are happening online. Fluency in programming languages and skills in web design expand your ability to navigate the digital landscape. This can open opportunities beyond just building your own website. 

What’s the Bottom Line?

Building your own website can be fun and easy. While it’s not always the right choice for everyone, programming skills are a valuable tool to have in your back pocket no matter what industry you work in. We hope these tips have given you the confidence to explore your web design options. With the right resources and a bit of practice, anyone can become a web design whiz. 

The Difference Between Web Designers and UX Designers

Web Design Blog

Web design refers to the design of websites that are displayed on the internet. It usually refers to the user experience aspects of website development rather than software development. Web design used to be focused on designing websites for desktop browsers; however, since the mid-2010s, design for mobile and tablet browsers has become ever-increasingly important.

A web designer works on the appearance, layout, and, in some cases, content of a website. Appearance, for instance, relates to the colors, font, and images used. Layout refers to how information is structured and categorized. A good web design is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and suits the user group and brand of the website. Many webpages are designed with a focus on simplicity, so that no extraneous information and functionality that might distract or confuse users appears. As the keystone of a web designer’s output is a site that wins and fosters the trust of the target audience, removing as many potential points of user’s frustration as possible is a critical consideration.

Two of the most common methods for designing websites that work well both on desktop and mobile are responsive and adaptive design. In responsive design, content size; in adaptive design, the website content is fixed in layout sizes. Preserving a layout that is as consistent as possible between devices is crucial to maintaining users trust and engagement. As responsive design can present difficulties in this regard, designers must be careful in relinquishing control of how their work will appear. If they are responsible for the content as well, while they may need to broaden their skillset, they will enjoy having the advantage of full control of the finished product.

LITERATURE ON WEB DESIGN

Here’s the entire UX literature on Web design by the interaction Design Foundation, collated one place

Web Designer             UX Designer

 

HOW TO Change Your Career from Web Design

Changing careers isn’t as hard as it’s often made out to be, especially if you’ve got the right resources to help you make the change. For many web designers, now is the perfect time to make the switch into UX design .To start with, there’s the monetary boost that comes with the change in career. According to pay scale, Web designers in the US earn an average of $46,000 annually (1), while UX designers on the other hand earn a sizable $74,000(2) secondly, job opportunities for UX designers are booming: CNN reports that a total of 3,426,000 UX design jobs will be crated in the US alone within next 10 years (3)

Furthermore, UX design is a meaningful job, not only because you get to work on a product from the inside out, but also because –as DMI has shown- UX design makes a significant impact on business, with UX design-driven business, outperforming the S&P index by 228 %( 4). So, where do you find the right resources to help you make your career change? Why, you’re reading one right now.

To start with, let’s have a brief introduction to what we mean by “User Experience”. Product users, and the users experience (UX) is simply the experience a user has from using that particular product. So far, so good?

What is User Experience and User Experience Design?

UX design is the art of designing products so that they provide the optimum possible user experience. If this description sounds board, it’s because the nature UX design is pretty broad. Building the optimum UX encompasses an understanding of psychology, interaction designs, user research, and many other disciplines, but on the top of it all is an interactive problems solving process (but more on that later)

Broadly speaking, user experience can be broken down into 3 components

  • LOOK
  • FEEL
  • USABILITY     

The look of a product is about using visuals to create a sense of harmony with the user’s values, and that creates credibility and trust with the user. It’s about creating a product that no only looks nice, but looks right too.

The feel, then, involves making the experience of using a product as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. It’s built by crafting the interactions between the user and the product, as well as the reactions they have when (and after) suing the product.

Lastly, usability underpins the user experience. Quite simply, if a product isn’t usable, no amount of good looks salvage it, and the only feeling users are going to have is anger and frustration. Ideality, products should be personalized to user’s needs, and deliver functionality in a predictable way.

Web Design Sketch

What Do Web Design and UX Design have in Common?

The title “web designer” has many definitions, and indeed, what a web designer does is largely dependent on what the client or project requires. Some web designer simply create visual designs and or high fidelity interactive prototypes of the website, and leave the coding of the website to front-end back-end developers. The majority of web designers, however, do get involved with both the designing and (front-end) development of the website. Some web designers even regularly do users research and testing as part of their jobs(and if you’re  one of them, you’re already almost ready for a job in UX design) but no matter what your jobs as a web designer entails, here are some aspects of web design that can also be found in UX design

Problem Solving

Web designer’s look to solve problems for their clients; UX designers look to solve problems of their users. Web designer’s work with a problem solving process: first, they find out the problems their clients have, then design a web solution for them, and then proceed to develop and test the website before releasing it. This iterative problem solving process is similar to the UX design process .UX designer begin with users research; it’s essential to get to know the potential users of a product and find out what their problems are, how to solve them and how to make users want and need that solution. User research is often done via user interviews, observations, demographic studies, drafting user’s stories and personas, etc. if you’ve done user research before as part of you web designer job, you will find it a great advantage when making the switch to UX design.

Emotional Design

When designing websites, web designers often make use of typography, color and layout to shape the emotions of users. A sense of credibility could be established, for instance, by using darker colors and serif fonts: similarly, a sense of fun could be created using colorful imagery and playful typography. Wed designers are familiar with emotional design; that is, creating designs that elicit emotions from users UX designers are also concerned with emotional design, but on a large scale- they are concerned with eliciting emotions from users throughout their entire experience of using a product.

To do that, UX designers work with not only typography and color, but also psychology, motion design, content curation and information architecture. Web design in UX entails; they simply need to pick up new knowledge in other areas to augment their ability to do so a bigger picture.

Multi-disciplinary

Web design is a multi-disciplinary job, where you’d need not only knowledge in design (typography, color theory) but also skills in developing a website (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript). Some web designers are also involved in interaction design when they code for animation and interactions using CSS and JavaScript psychology, user’s research, visual design, and even business to create the best UX for their products.

 

Difference between Web Design and UX design

User-focused vs technology- focused

A large part of your job as a web designer is spent on catching up on the latest developments in HTML, CSS and other coding language-all of which change and improve at a dizzying pace. Which browsers support what versions of CSS? Would CSS animation work in Safari on a Mac? Don’t even get me started on internet Explore! These might be a few questions (and frustration) that are constantly on your mind as a web designer. But UX design isn’t concerned with technology. Instead, its focus is centered squarely on users-technology is only a means for users to get what they need. Only by focusing on users can UX designers create solution that cater to the specific needs they have, and ultimately, that users will be willing to pay for. UX designers do extensive can about their users, most of which the majority of web designers wouldn’t have had the chance to perform

UX is more than the Web

UX design is platform independent. Its principles and process are applied to many diverse areas outside of web browsers: on mobile apps, desktop software, and even hardware products and retail spaces. On the other hand, domain of web design is strictly tied to web browsers. This means that UX designers are able to find job opportunities not only in up and rising field like tech startups, but also in mature and sable industries like  car manufacturers. As long as there’s a product, there’s a need for UX- and their really opens up your world of opportunities.

Difference Between UX and UI

BENEFITS

Relevance of web design background

The biggest benefit of moving from web design to UX design is the amount of overlap between the two fields of design. While it’s true that UX design covers more platforms than the web browsers, a sizeable portion of UX design work is the still done on products that are at least partially think social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, web apps like Dropbox, and services like Google.

Being fluent in design and website coding terminologies will also give you a boost that cannot be ignored; after all, UX design is a collaborative process where commination is crucial.

Aesthetics

Your ability to create beautiful aesthetics as a web designer will also come in handy when making the switch to UX design. Firstly, aesthetics is a great tool to augment your communication with internal stakeholder.

As a designer you have to constantly present your findings and recommendation to internal stakeholder and your ability to create visually pleasing reports and presentation will maximize the absorption of your key points

Secondly, aesthetics plays a vital role in design. A common myth of design is that great usability true. In fact, a study of more than 2,500 participants by the Stanford Credibility project showed the nearly half of them assessed the credibility of websites based on their visual appeal.

5 Reasons Why a Website is Vital For Your Business (Case Study)

Have you ever wondered how a website can impact your business? Look around you right now, most of the things you see are created by a company that has a website, and most likely the website is one of their biggest assets in making sales. In 2018 a website can give your business new life, opening your eyes on limitless technological possibility that we have today. You can reach billions of people by stepping into the online world, and if you do it right, those billions can end up in your bank account.

Before Modern Web Media 80 Day Stats:

2,125

Page views

4

Free week pass sign ups

0

Appointments booked

Before

After

After Modern Web Media, First 80 Day Stats:

16,514

Page views

206

Free week pass sign ups

102

Appointments booked

The gym had 97 more tours and 39 more members for the months of June, July and August compared to last year. The gym also just hired a whole new inexperienced sales staff. How much is one client worth? The most basic membership is $30, and the length of the contract is 2 years (if the plan is month to month then the rate is a lot higher). Thus, the lifetime worth of one member is $720

Profit made by the gym in the first three months of the new website launching: 

$28,080

How much money was spent on advertising or promoting? – $0

Do websites work? Absolutely !

As you may have noticed, the gym already had a website, but it just wasn’t selling itself. This is the perfect example of how much a website can transform a business. I really like to compare websites to cars; the industry, the gym, is in is a drag race, the car they are using is their website. When Bellingham Fitness arrives at the drag strip with their ‘ol site (the old Honda Civic) they are lined up against a modern web-developed Porsche! The winner is obvious. A website has the power to make or break your business. Before, people would come into the gym and complain on how difficult it was to sign up for the free week pass or even get in contact with them but after the website launch, the free week pass sign ups increased by 5050%. This is a true representation of what a good looking and functioning website can do for a business. The website achieved all the stats above with no advertising!