Web design roles
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Web design is a popular career option for many designers, yet there are many specialized options including UX design and visual design. While you may be familiar with the rich, engaging online experiences, you may not know how many people are involved in bringing a concept for a site or app to life. Learn the roles if you are considering a career in web design or UX.
These professionals work with a number of different departments to ensure that the overall experience offered by a site or app is functional, intuitive and rewarding for the user. Blending several skills including visual design, Web analytics, market research and project management, UX designers are integral to many of the Web's most popular sites and applications. User experience (UX) designers use templating tools such as Balsamiq, Adobe Fireworks, and Photoshop to design how a site or app should be formatted. Then, they work with designers to ensure that aesthetics remain faithful to the project's original vision. These professionals are also closely involved with beta testing, taking the opinions of users into account to further refine the look, feel and functionality of the product.
Visual Designer or UI Designer
Once the UX designer and project manager have signed off on the aesthetics of the product, it's time for the visual designer to take over. These professionals work with software programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver to create the assets that will make up the user interface, or UI. This can include everything from custom typefaces and buttons to scrollbars and color palettes.
The visual designer is responsible for crafting the final aesthetic of the site or app, and in today's increasingly competitive digital media environment, the work of visual designers is more important than ever before.
After the visual designer has worked his or her magic, the information architect gets to work. These professionals are tasked with organizing the core data of which the site or app is comprised, and designing information systems to allow users to interact with the product quickly and efficiently.
Information architects combine skills from several fields, including computer and library science, in addition to specialized knowledge in areas such as cognitive behavior. Ensuring that users can access and interact with the core data of a site or app falls to the information architect, requiring a logical approach to problem solving, as well as creative flair for making large volumes of information accessible and intuitive to the user.
Information architects work with a number of tools, including Photoshop and Illustrator.
Of course, even the most minimally designed sites and apps often contain at least some text, and this is created by the copywriter. These professionals are responsible for the writing and editing of all copy that appears on a site, from step-by-step instructions to product descriptions. Although copywriters often work in a word processor during the initial stages of a project, all text to be included in a site or app must be formatted into HTML before going live, meaning that many copywriters can write code as well as prose.
With so many people involved in the creation of a site or app, it falls to the project manager to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that the product is delivered on-time and on-budget. Project managers are exceptional communicators, and are able to deal with several different departments with ease, whether discussing the technical specifications of an app with the development team or liaising with UX designers to ensure that the overall experience is satisfying to the user.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, educator and author based in Boston. She has worked in the field of user experience design for more than 15 years.She has designed websites, ecommerce sites, apps, and embedded systems. Jennifer designs solutions for mobile, desktop, and iOT devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors.She has served as a Designer in Residence at Microsoft, assisting third-party app developers to improve their design solutions and create successful user experiences. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern UX Design, and worked closely with major tech companies to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including XD, Sketch, Balsamiq, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Blend for Visual Studio. She also works extensively in the fields of presentation design and visual design.
Jennifer is also the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices. Jennifer holds the CPUX-F certification from the User Experience Qualification Board and assists others in attaining this designation in leading a UX certification course at American Graphics Institute. She is a candidate for a Master’s degree in Human Factors in Information Design.