As users grow more tech savvy, and technologies become more advanced, the job of a web designer has also evolved and has come to mean something wildly different from what it meant a decade ago.
Being a web designer is not just about creating a fresh and eye catching design. It is also about ensuring that the design is rapidly created and assists in the faster development of the solution. With the device and platform fragmentation that we are seeing today, creating a single design that fits all is a major challenge, and web designers often have to work on multiple designs for the many devices that the solution will be running on. The focus is now on collaborating better instead of just working as a separate entity and doing just your end of the task.
The end users need to be presented with usable designs and products faster and a lot more frequently, and this essentially means figuring out a way to your job as a designer a lot more efficiently. What’s more, you need to learn how doing this without compromising on the basics, and without slipping up in any way.
The process has become a bigger part of the design cycle than it ever was, and a lot of web designers are finding themselves part of meeting discussing the development process when they could be finished or refining the design assigned to them. However, understanding what you are designing for is an important step in ensuring that your design offers the maximum value.
Know what is being expected of you
Before you can create any design, it is vital to first understand what exactly is the problem that you are trying to solve. You may be under a deadline and getting grilled by your superiors for faster results, but delivering a completed solution that does not address the client’s problem will only end up being a waste of everyone’s time and can potentially cause you a lot of harm. It is also important that you understand your role in the process. This role depends a lot on how rigid the hierarchy structure in your organization is, and how much creative freedom you are offered in your work.
Clarify each point before you begin the design work
Often a client will discuss with you an idea, and then make amendments midway. Discuss at great lengths what they want, and offer them all the ways in which it can be improved. Focus on the following points when having this discussion:
- What are the expectations of the client from the solution: Design plays a huge role in how the user perceives a service. Are you creating a free service that anyone can use, and will be monetized through advertisements? Are you being asked to create a design that will help the application get paid subscriptions? The use case will always affect the design, and it is best to have this information before you start
- Who is the solution being designed for: The target audience of a solution obviously has an impact on the final design. Are your primary focus kids, or will you be making a solution for senior business executives? Are the solutions meant to be fun and engaging, or should it be strictly professional? List out each question and note feedback for all of it.
- What kind of resources are being allocated to it: Will you be the sole designer for the project, or will you be getting a design team? Will the client bring in an outside design professional to work with you or assess the progress? Knowing this will tell you the amount of effort that will be involved on your part, and what you can expect as financial remuneration.
- Frequency of feedbacks and updates required from your end: Will you be expected to provide a report section wise or on a time duration basis? Knowing this allows you to allocate the time that you have been given more efficiently, and also ensure that the client is satisfied with our regular performance, and not just your final product.
Out of all the information that you need to acquire before you begin a project, the biggest no doubt are target demographic and client requirements. Creating a product that offers a set number of features is not a difficult task. Ensuring that the client is satisfied with the performance the solution delivers is a lot more harder, and considerably more important as well.
Time constraints is a constant challenges that you will need to get past. You will no doubt be given multiple milestones to reach, and a desired timeline for all of them. Make sure that these deadlines are realistic otherwise you will only end up stressing yourself overtly for a task that simply could not be done. As the professional who will be doing the work, if you are presented with goals that are not practical, you need to speak up and ensure that they are revised. You will also have to take care of the prioritisation of tasks, and ensure that the critical parts are attended to first.
Identify the limitations of the project, as well as your own personal limitations. It always helps to know what you realistically can or cannot do. Does the technology aspect of the project cause you problems, or perhaps your face issues with the business aspect of the project. Identifying the problem areas means that you can either delegate those responsibilities to a team member who is more skilled in that area, or place a request for additional support.
Creating a successful design requires careful planning and a highly refined work process. At the same time you need to work to get all the required details. As long as you ensure that you understand the requirements of the client, and the problem you are solving with your design, you will be able to secure a solution that meets all expectations and delivers all the features that were originally discussed at the starting of the project.
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