Web Design: 7 Skills You Need to Build an Effective Website

Geri Mileva on Marketing Design

Web DesignIntroduction

If you’re running a business venture right now, you know that a great deal of online presence is instrumental in bringing your brand to a broader market. For this to happen, you need an effective website that serves as the brand’s face on the Internet.

While you can hire a team of professionals who are skilled at building a website, it’s still better to equip yourself with the skills necessary to build and manage a website successfully.

If you are interested in knowing what it takes to have an excellent website, this article discusses the technical as well as practical life skills you will need.

Tech Skills

1. Programming

A key aspect of website building is studying the basics of programming. Programs lay the groundwork for running the webpages, applications, online databases, and other features in your website.

Since there are many languages, you may opt to learn at least those that are most widely used:

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

HTML is the most common standardized markup language used to create documents that will serve as your content on each webpage. This includes titles, headings, text, and links.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

CSS is the language used to set the webpage style, which includes the layout, colors, and fonts. This program improves content accessibility, enables multiple webpages to share formatting, and reduces complexity and repetition in structural content.

JavaScript

This is the programming language for enabling interactive elements in your webpages. A JavaScript program can be used to insert animated page elements, audio and video content, and games; validate input values of a Web form; and load new page content without reloading the page.

There are online resources to learn programming, with various options for paid and free lessons, as well as certified courses.

2. Design Sense

Building a good website entails not only web development skills (programming) but web design skills as well. Design, in terms of style and functionality, is important for a website simply because it is the deciding factor in whether online users will be engaged on your site.

Here are a few aspects of design that should be considered when creating a website:

Visual Complexity

Referred to as the level of detail or intricacy contained in a page, this can be determined by the amount of text, number of images, colorfulness of the interface, and other elements.

Research suggests that the higher the visual complexity, the lower the appeal of a webpage. Users prefer uncluttered websites with low to moderate levels of visual complexity as opposed to ones that are extremely colorful, text-heavy, and filled with images.

Contrast

Contrast in web design means there is enough difference between the lightness of the text and the background so that the text is readable and your buttons are more eye-catching.

Experts suggest that you can experiment with at least three colors on your web design: the background, base, and accent colors. The background and base act as support to the accent color, so it is recommended to keep these neutral.

Save the highly saturated colors for your accent. If overused, they can add to the visual complexity and cause eye strain.

Size

This pertains to the typographic visual weight of your content. Getting your font size right is important because it gives users an easier time digesting your content. After all, information would only be useful if users can make sense of it.

In terms of size, don’t worry about going big. Larger font sizes help users read faster, comprehend better, and even effectively evoke certain emotional responses from them. Readability is said to be optimal at 18 points.

Usability

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9241 defines usability as “the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.”

In the context of website design, usability encapsulates three aspects: that the site is accessible, that everything on it works, and that users can navigate it with ease.

So how do you achieve these? First, ensure your website’s fast loading time by investing in a good hosting plan. Next, make sure that all the links on your site are working.

Also take note of the principles of complexity, color, and size, as these determine whether or not the website’s look will be effective. Keep in mind that usability is never achieved in one go; the key to it is through continuously testing and refining your site.

3. Writing

Users certainly benefit from a well-designed and fully functional website, but ultimately, it is quality content that they are after. Quality content can bring site traffic, drive conversion and sales, and enable your site to be an important information resource.

Below are some writing fundamentals to consider when creating content for your website:

Headline

A website’s headline serves as a come-on for site visitors, so it must be interesting enough to make them want to continue further into your site.

When coming up with a headline, try to be brief but still interesting. Get the most interesting idea from that page’s content and use it as the basis for your headline.

Don’t go overboard and tell the entire story in your headline, though. The longer it is, the more boring it will seem.

Simplicity

Simplicity refers to concise and well-written content that your target users will benefit from reading. But simplicity also involves establishing hierarchy in your content. How? By breaking the copy into headings, subheadings, lists, and pull-out quotes.

This allows users to understand the overall content on a page by just scanning the titles, but they will still be able to delve further into the secondary content if they choose to do so.

Answer Questions

An effective website also addresses questions that visitors may have. Hence, make sure that your contact information, customer service policy, quick response details, and other feedback mechanisms are easily accessible.

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Life Skills

1. Problem Solving

If you ever come across an issue while building a website, you’ll have to do some problem-solving to stay on top of your goals.

Of course, the first step is to identify the problem, whether it’s the coding, site navigation, or breadth of content. Once a problem is identified, you can then form a full picture by observing and gathering evidence about the problem.

Afterwards, you can look for possible solutions based on what your capabilities can provide. Then, deciding on which solution to act on, followed by testing and feedback, complete the problem-solving cycle.

A great website is obviously not built overnight. It takes a long process of trial and error. Your best bet is to constantly communicate with your team, and just continue testing.

2. Time Management

Your website is essentially a project, and time management is a huge part of actualizing your targets. Time management will help you start off strong, stay on track midway, and finish successfully.

Some strategies to manage your time well include setting long-term and short-term goals, agreeing on detailed plans, doing difficult tasks right away, and having consistent work and rest hours.

3. Communication

Communication is a life skill that enables you to present ideas clearly, relay problems, assert your needs, recommend solutions, and overall, manage interpersonal relationships.

Yes, technical skills are a must in web design and development, but even the most technically savvy person could fail if they can’t work well with other people.

4. Resilience

Resilience relates to problem-solving skills: you won’t achieve perfection on your first try, so just have a go at it with the testing and trial and error, and you will eventually get there. Look at mistakes and problems as learning opportunities—things that will lead you to perfection.

Conclusion

These technical skills and life skills will help business owners and aspiring web developers navigate the sometimes confusing world of web design. As long as you take a tough, consistent approach and combine it with a willingness to learn technical processes, you’ll definitely enjoy being hands-on with your website.

 

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