Web design is one of the fastest growing markets, especially as many companies have been moving to web-based applications. If you’re interested in website design (and becoming a senior web designer), there are certain skills that you’re going to have to boost… in addition to gaining experience. Here’s what you need to know.
What Does a Senior Web Designer Do?
A senior web designer generally has five to ten years of experience minimum in the area of web design. They will be responsible for the “big picture” of the website design, which means producing website mock-ups and design and art direction, and ensuring that the design and art direction meshes with the desired final product. A senior web designer will often work closely with user experience professionals and user interface professionals to make sure that the website design is both usable and attractive. They will also make sure that there is a consistency within their design approach across all platforms and types of media. A senior web designer may also work closely with a branding professional to ensure this.
- The principles of design. Unlike a developer (though there is some crossover), a web designer is mostly focused with design principles. This includes the use of color and shape in order to entice users and to guide them through the experience of utilizing the website. A designer is going to be an artistic individual who has an eye for design.
- User experience. Web designers are going to need to understand user experience across both desktop and mobile devices. They need to be able to craft websites that are not just pleasing to look at but also functional, which means they are going to have to have a detailed understanding of user behavior.
- SEO. Most senior web designers are also going to need to understand SEO. Though they may not be constructing the actual content for the site, they are going to need to understand how to arrange and display content for the maximum search and organic traffic benefits.
Should a Senior Web Designer Be a Developer?
Full stack developers are very common. Full stack developers are able to develop both front-end designs and back-end programming, but a senior web designer doesn’t necessarily have to be a web developer, nor does a web developer have to be a web designer. That being said, it is considered to be far more desirable, especially within competitive markets. Someone who is specialized solely in web design may need to be more experienced within web design than someone who is able to be full stack.
It’s important to remember that though a web designer may seem to have some aspects in common with a web developer, they actually work at radically different goals. Though senior web designers are being asked to be “full stack” developers more often, that doesn’t mean that a senior web designer necessarily has the skills for development, or vice versa. Every company is different. If you want to see what the current expectations are of a senior web designer, you can review the job listings at Software Specialists.