Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Web Designer … Blurring the lines

Web Designer

… Blurring the lines

Web design has become a blended field.  It use to be, all you really needed to know was a little bit of HTML, how to create a link, maybe how to place an image on a page. If you picked up a program like Dreamweaver or GoLive, you were generally all set. Well, we face a much different landscape today. One in which there are so many processes and technologies involved, that it's not uncommon for web designers to specialize in a specific area or even in a specific technology.

Web design specialist
Web Designer | The Blurred Lines 
Let’s share some of those specializations so that you can have a better idea of some of the areas and a clearer picture of the amount of diversity involved in the field of web design. 

The Generalist:
A generalist is a designer that is strong in the core skills of web design, and is relatively well practiced in the entire process of creating sites. From planning and prototyping, all the way through building and testing. This is the individual that can build an entire site from scratch, usually without the help of others.
If specific challenges arise outside their area of expertise, they usually bring in another specialist or challenge themselves to add another skill.

Visual designers:
 These are designers that are primarily concerned with the visual design of sites and interfaces. Color, layout, topography and graphics are their typical area of focus. These tend to be individuals with strong design skills, and are often graphic designers who are transitioning towards web design. Visual designers typically have strong HTML and CSS skills, as well as skills in graphic design.

UX Designer:
UX stands for user experience. The label UX Designer has been overused a little bit in terms of web design. UX signifies the focus on the user experience. Meaning the designer attempts to create sites in applications that through their design foster the desired experience for the user. If you use that broad of a definition however, isn't almost every designer a UX Designer? I mean, aren't we all concerned with the experience of our users. So let’s clarify, a UX Designer isn't a visual designer that's decided just to use that term. A true UX Designer is someone who has studied human behavior and tendencies and then designs in accordance with them. Often a UX Designers have no web skills at all and are used as consultants to help sites create a user-focused experience.Regardless, make sure that you really understand what UX Design means.

Interactive designers:
They focus on building interfaces that create seamless interactions between users and sites. They're closely aligned with UX Designers, but they tend to be more focused on behavioral technologies like JavaScript. JavaScript allows them to modify static HTML interfaces into immersive interactive experiences.

Motion graphic designers:
Motion graphic designers focus on animation. In many cases these are traditional animators that have moved to the web as a means of distribution or are now working on web projects that require animation. These could also be web designers that are interested in animated content or designers that work in game development. Although Flash is still used for animation and games on the web, motion graphic designers are increasingly using JavaScript and HTML5 technologies.

Front end developer:
A front end developer is a designer that focuses more on the functionality of sites through client side scripting. The rise of JavaScript and powerful JavaScript libraries has led to an explosion of development that moves the processing of scripting from the server to being performed directly in the browser. This has led to a blurring of the lines between designers and developers. In the past, most designers would hire developers to control site logic and behavior through server side scripting. Now, much of that functionality can be performed through the use of JavaScript.

CMS specialist:
CMSs, like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress allow designers to rapidly build sites with powerful functionality. Many designers have decided to specialize in a specific CMS platform. Some specialize in building WordPress themes or extensions, while others might specialize in the development of Drupal or Joomla sites.

Very few web designers specialize in just one area. Most web designers start out with a specific skill set or focus and then over the course of their careers pick up new skills or blend in new specializations as they arise.

Steve Steinberger
web design

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