What Does a Web Designer Do? (And How To Become One)
Updated July 10, 2023
If you want to work in a career that combines creativity and technical coding knowledge, you may consider pursuing a job as a web designer. A web designer creates the visual elements of a website and helps improve its usability. Learning about their duties can help you decide whether you want to pursue this career.
In this article, we explain what a web designer does and discuss other relevant job information, including the average salary, the steps on how to become one and a job description example.
What does a web designer do?
Web designers develop functional and appealing websites for individual clients, businesses and other organizations. They use knowledge of coding languages like HTML and CSS and graphic design to create websites that meet clients' needs. Web designers often complete the following tasks:
Attending meetings with clients
Most web designers begin each job by meeting with clients to assess their needs. They identify what kind of information clients want to convey online and how they want their website to appear. During this meeting, a web designer may evaluate a client's existing website to determine what elements are worth keeping and what elements they could benefit from refreshing.
Planning and researching project requirements
Once a web designer understands a client's needs, they can plan and research a project's technical requirements. They may consider their target audience and budget during this phase. They may also account for a project's resources, expected timeline, complexity and scope. To optimize the final product, they may research current web design trends and consider implementing them at various stages of a web design project.
Designing mockups for websites
Web designers create templates, prototypes and mockups to convey their ideas for a website's visual themes, layout and color usage. They're familiar with productivity platforms to create these plans, and they use their knowledge of basic coding skills, user interface, user experience and color theory to design them. Depending on the scope of their role, they may create individual web pages or design the overall appearance of a website.
Creating graphics for websites
A web designer works on creating graphics to incorporate into a website. For example, they can create animations, images, icons and logos that take up the appropriate amount of space and load within a reasonable amount of time.
Collaborating with other teams
Web designers often work on larger teams with graphic designers, media creators, web developers and computer programmers. They typically collaborate with team members to create more specialized elements, such as animations or e-commerce portals. They may also communicate with individuals on marketing teams to determine how certain search engine optimization (SEO) elements can influence their web design process.
Creating a consistent branding message across a website
After collaborating with their teams, web designers integrate all required elements into a cohesive website that aligns with a brand's style guide. They maintain consistency with certain web elements while still designing a creative website that provides users with an informative and useful experience.
Building easier website navigation features
A web designer helps ensure a website has simple navigation features that increase retention and conversions. They integrate clickable buttons, make website menus easy to browse and prioritize the placement of different pages depending on how frequently visitors click on them.
Ensuring a website's accessibility for all users
A web designer ensures a website complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act to help everyone have equal access to online information. For example, a web designer can incorporate elements like color contrast ratios, simple headings, consistent spacing and alternative text so individuals with different conditions can interpret information easily.
Providing clients with updates
A web designer maintains regular contact with clients to provide them with progress updates and alert them if they've experienced unexpected delays. They also deliver the final website and accept requests for edits and revisions as clients provide them.
Testing and debugging websites
A web designer can visit the websites they've helped create on different devices, including smartphones and tablets, to determine if they show up properly. They can perform simple debugging tasks themselves or request the assistance of a web developer or another employee to solve more complex issues.
Average salary for a web designer
The average salary for a web designer is $48,482 per year. The salary you earn as a web designer can vary depending on several factors, including your employer and experience level. The city in which you work and the complexity of the projects you complete may also affect the amount you earn.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.
How to become a web designer
Follow these five steps to pursue a career as a web designer:
1. Consider completing a college degree
While a formal education isn't necessary to become a web designer, you may consider earning an associate or bachelor's degree. An aspiring web designer may consider completing a university program in a subject like coding, graphic design or web design.
2. Practice web coding
Practice your web design skills on your own so you can perform the expected coding duties when you receive your first job. For example, you can read textbooks, view online videos or complete in-person or online classes. You may also find a mentor who can help you develop basic web coding techniques and a solid understanding of coding languages like HTML.
3. Refine skills that are relevant to a web designer's career
In addition to web coding, you can refine these soft and technical skills that are relevant to your career as a web designer:
Web server management
Attention to detail
4. Consider earning professional certifications
Web designers may pursue a variety of certifications independently or under the direction of their employer. Here are some common certifications to earn to improve your qualifications:
5. Build a work portfolio
Start building a work portfolio so you can show a potential employer the work you're capable of completing. If you haven't created a real website for a client yet, you can reference an example style guide and some web pages that follow the requirements in the guide you select. You can also show your process for pitching ideas to clients. Compile all of your work into an online portfolio that you can create using a website builder. This way, you can send your accomplishments to a hiring manager easily.
6. Create your resume
Create a resume that lists the education, skills and relevant experience you've acquired. Follow a standard resume format potential employers can understand easily. Include a link to your portfolio if you're submitting your resume digitally. If you're submitting a paper copy of your resume, you can consider offering directions on how a hiring manager can find your resume online.
7. Apply for entry-level positions
Apply for entry-level positions as a web designer. You may work for a nonprofit organization or a smaller business first so you can gain relevant experience. Try networking in local industry groups or scanning job boards for listings. To increase your chance of getting a job, follow up with potential employers after submitting your applications.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Web designer job description example
Here's an example of a job description for a web designer position:
ABC Design Firm seeks a creative and technically capable web designer with at least two years of experience in the field. The successful candidate is fluent in HTML and XML, knows how to use content management systems like WordPress and Shopify and can implement e-commerce applications effortlessly. If you understand the website development process from client meetings to application testing to performance monitoring, we want to hear from you.
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