Web design is certainly an interesting career path to take, because it lets you tap into your creativity and produce unique, eye-catching websites for your clients according to your interpretation of their vision.
But, as with any other profession, there are good web designers and terrible ones. If you are planning to forge a new career as a web designer, and you want to be a kick-ass designer, here are some top tips to guide you onto the path of web design excellence!
Have the right computer for the job
Despite what your mate down the pub said, you can’t just use an iPad and a connection to the Internet to design some truly amazing websites for your customers!
There are two choices for the computer you want to use when designing websites – a Windows-based PC or an Apple Mac (Mac Mini or Mac Pro desktop systems, or MacBook Pro/Air laptops).
The computer you use is purely going to be down to personal choice and whatever feels “right” for you to use. In my case, after using Windows systems for many years I switched sides about two or three years ago and have not looked back!
One problem with the Windows operating system is that it is more prone to crashes and virus infections than Mac-based systems. In fact, you don’t even need an antivirus system on a Mac because most viruses and malware are only designed to attack Windows systems!
Of course, if the idea of using a mouse with no buttons on it confuses the hell out of you, or you can’t get your head around the OS X “dock”, you would do well to stick with Windows.
Use the best software available
Many new web designers feel that using just open-source software is all they need to design some awesome websites. But the issue with this approach is compatibility. For example, if your client sends you a PSD file, the only application that can 100% support it and correctly view its contents is Adobe Photoshop.
Back in the day, Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe applications used to cost a small fortune to purchase, but now the firm have moved to a monthly and annual subscription-based service. Adobe’s move to subscription services means that their software is now open to all people, rather than those with big bank balances!
As a web designer, you will also need to use an array of software to serve different purposes. FTP software, such as FileZilla, makes it possible to transfer files to and from web servers.
Geoff, a chap that works for a web design company in Perth, highly recommends using DropBox as a means of sharing documents and images with clients and other project stakeholders, rather than sending emails with large file attachments.
Focusing on the work at hand
If you intend to work from home, you should only consider this option if you can be certain that you won’t be disturbed by other occupants or pets in your home.
Some people (like me) find it difficult to concentrate and be creative when they are constantly interrupted throughout the day. If your home is not an option, consider working in a creative design space – this option is much cheaper than hiring a dedicated office.