Web designers use a combination of design and IT skills to produce web pages for the Internet. In order to create a website, a web designer starts with the end user in mind. The most successful sites allow people to travel around them with ease. There is an important balance between a creative design and ease of use. In addition, a web designer as with any commercial artist, designs a website to the satisfaction of the client. Therefore websites are designed in accordance with the specifications of the client and within a stipulated budget. This means that the designer works very closely with the customer, and often in conjunction with the public relations staff and software engineers.
The web pages are developed and designed through a combination of art and programming. Many designers make their websites as interactive as possible. This means that there is a two-way flow of information between the user and the website, that is, the computer responds to the user’s requests. The web page can range from a single page to a more complex maze of windows and links, each providing different types of information.
Web designers can use a number of different ways to communicate information. This includes the use of multimedia, for example, text, speech, graphics, animation or video pictures. Web designers may use HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) to present text and graphics; they may also use other programming languages such as Java, to add a level of interactivity to a website.
Web designers may be asked by the client to manage the sites they have created. Alternatively, they may be asked to create a site which enable the clients to make their own changes so that they are not reliant on the web designer. In both cases, websites need to be up-to-date and relevant.
Web page designers must ensure that users are able to do searches on the particular web page and extract the required information. The traditional services offered by the Internet are well known to most, but the explosion in growth of its use has sparked further demand for the design of service pages provided by the Information Superhighway (of which the Internet is only a part). These would include services in the following areas:
Business: telecommuting and electronic commerce, for example, company directories made available to the public via the Internet
Consumer: interactive television, video telephones, video-on-demand, information on demand and other on-line services such as electronic home shopping
Academic / Scientific: telemedicine, telerobotics and distance learning
It is vital that web designers stay up-to-date with developments and innovations in technology as well as in business market information.
Many entrants have a degree or a diploma in a computer-related subject. Entry is also possible with a non-IT degree, especially in art or design subjects. For some employers, however, experience and proof of your creative abilities (such as a personal website) are more important than academic qualifications.
Degree: BA Fine Art - most universities
Diploma: Web and Multimedia - TUT, various relevant diplomas - CUT, TUT, CPUT, UNISA, UJ
Certificate: at various TVET Colleges
Private institutions such as Boston, City Varsity, Damelin etc
National Arts Council
66 Margaret Mcingana Street (Cnr Gwigwi Mrwebi)
Tel: 087 700 0683
Artthrob Online magazine