Gone are the days when a purely functional web design is what clients want. Now, they want an amazing one that wows the audience at first glance, keeps them engaged, and hopefully interact with them. They want beautiful shapes, vibrant colors, the most stylish fonts, and interactive links that’ll make their site stand out and it’s up to web designers to give them that. Even companies want engaging landing pages for their main web page.
The design has always been part of human culture. From cave paintings to works of art by the masters, humans are hardwired to appreciate good design. In a way, it is one way that we express ourselves. Incorporating good design into web pages is not something new. Contrary to popular belief, there were early designers when the internet began. They created sites based on what they think others would find appealing. But design tastes are ever-evolving. What might seem trendy 10 years back will be viewed dated and obsolete now.
Sharping Your Tools
There are those that claim that having a good eye for design is inherent, and there are those that say it can be developed through practice. The truth of the matter is, both arguments come hand-in-hand instead of against each other. It pays to have inherent talent but pure talent is useless if there’s no hard work involved. With that in mind, there are a few tips for anyone wishing to improve their web design skills.
- Create a space for you to practice
There’s no better way to hone your skill in web design than to practice your craft until you get better at it. Sure, there are courses you can take to sharpen your design eye. But at the end of the day, it lies on your perseverance to become better at it.
A great way to practice web design without fear of any repercussions is to make a personal space where you have all the freedom to make as much mistake as you can and learn from it. The best way to do this is to create localhost. Simply put, a localhost is a hostname for your computer that you’re using. With localhost, your computer acts as a server and you alone have access to it. You’ll be able to view your designs as if it’s the real thing but no one else can.
- Be inspired by your surroundings
A good web design should be fresh, appealing, and engaging. The only way to create such a page would be to create something unique yet still familiar to a lot of people. Colors should be chosen wisely yet intently. Lines, shapes, font style, and font sizes also play a major role in how your site is perceived and accepted by your target audience.
To get fresh ideas of beautiful design, there’s no need to surround yourself with art by visiting museums or art galleries. Although that is always an option if you live near one. Design is all around you. For example, I take inspiration from buildings downtown, both modern and classical. For color, I don’t need to venture too far; I simply walk around the park and observe nature. It is the best, and free, color palette.
- Know the theories before you break them
There’s a huge difference between going against the norm and subverting it, fighting it versus using to create something unexpected and new. In order to do this, you must first realize what these norms are. In short, learn the theories first. Once you’ve mastered it, you can use it any which way you want. You can follow it, break it, or throw it away and make an entire theory all on your own.
As you practice your craft, don’t forget about the big names that first started the push for better web design. Come to think of it, don’t forget all the designers that went out there and created something that inspired others.
- Cliché is cliché for a reason
For me, having a design that looks like every other web page was the greatest insult. Then a colleague once said to me that there’s a reason why clichés exist. While everyone has their own preference for beauty and design, we all have a common idea about what looks nice and what doesn’t. That common denominator we all have is where cliché exists and we can use that to our advantage.
There’s no need to revamp a web site to pander to what the public wants to see but you can certainly incorporate it into some element of your design. Take for example font style. To make a site more attractive to visitors, you can use the latest font style in some of your texts to keep the readers engaged and interested.
- Practice good habits
The code you create is not permanent. At one point in the future, you or someone else is going to have to go through it to fix a problem or update it. You might be able to understand your controlled chaos of work but others won’t.
Also, developers are known to be masters of procrastination. They’ll keep pushing and pushing their work time until they have none left. If you said to yourself you’ll work for 4 hours straight, and then commit to it as early as now. It’s easier to form good habits early on than changing bad ones in the future.
- Don’t fear feedback
When it comes to feedback, it involves two parts:
- Getting feedback for your work
- Giving feedback for the work of others
It’s so easy to do the second part. It is the first part that most people find hard to do because it involves opening yourself up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. But feedbacks are part of growth. It’ll give you fresh eyes to how you view your work. In the end, accepting criticism, both good and bad, is how you become better at your craft.
- Join competition
This last tip relates to the previous one. Joining design competition is going to be very intimidating. You’re going to have to compare your work with that of others. And, in most cases, yours won’t compare to what they’ve created. But that’s fine. You have to start somewhere and surrounding yourself with better designers and developers and pushing your design skill to the limit is how you transform from being a good designer into a great one.
Sarah Brooks is a passionate blogger and frequent traveler who loves to write about digital marketing and IT issues and solutions. She is currently working with Sequentialnetworks, which is one of the leading uk based vps.