3 Tips for Being a Better Web Designer
I’ve been making websites for close to 10 years, now, and I’ve made my fair share of 💩 websites—in addition to some amazing websites. What I have realized in reflecting on my website project experiences is that there is a simple formula that all of those amazing websites share.
Stefen’s Secret Formula for Success
1: Ask The Hard Questions
Before anything else, start by asking these 4 simple questions:
- Why: Why does this website/landing page/email need to exist?
- What: What problem is it solving?
- How: How is it solving that problem?
- Who: Who is the target audience?
Having clear answers for these questions is the foundation of everything you’ll be developing moving forward. These answers will influence everything from the look and feel of the website to its messaging and tone of voice. The good news is that you have access to smart marketers and strategists with answers to all of these questions! Lean on these people to make sure you fully understand all 4 questions.
2: Design Using Data and Reason
Once you have clear answers as to who the audience is, what the purpose of the website is, and problems the website solves, you can use these answers in the thought-process for everything in your design.
For example, if you’re designing a website that has a broad family audience, you would probably want to go with a playful look and use lots of colors and fun animations. Also, your content might be heavily visual—as opposed to text-heavy—with messaging that is simple and fun.
If you’re designing for an executive or corporate audience, then you’ll probably want to focus your design and content on showing how people in that audience group can solve their problems in the most accurate and quickest ways possible.
3: Develop with Current Best Practices
In the technology industry, if you’re not constantly learning, you’re falling behind.
This is a joke, obviously, but it’s funny because it rings true in many ways.
How to Stay Current with Best Practices
I stay current by subscribing to these blogs:
And also by following these designers/developers on Twitter:
- Daniel Burka – Google/Slack Designer
- Surma – Google Engineer
- Scott Jehl – Designer/Developer at Filament Group
- David Walsh – Developer at Mozilla
- Sara Soueidan – Freelance Front-end UI/UX Developer
- Sarah Drasner – Developer at Microsoft
- Wes Bos – Freelance Full Stack Developer
- Jake Archibald – Google Engineer
- Chris Coyier – Co-founder of CodePen
- Brad Frost – Freelance Web Designer
- Paul Irish – Google Chrome Engineer
Building a website with current best practices determines how long of a life that website will have. Performance and accessbility standards are changing and getting higher every year—it’s your job to stay at the top of that bar!