5 Non-coding Skills every Web Designer must have-I thought Web Design was all about Coding? Uh no, you need actual Design skills. Those kind of matter. Obviously, HTML Code is important to Web Design, if you want to do it correctly and you want full control over things.
There are a lot of tools that don’t require you to code in order to build a website and those can be pretty cool. You got things like Wix, You got things like Adobe Muse. Squarespace.
And that’s all well and good, but what I really want to get into is some skills that you need, whether you’re coding or not, as a Web Designer, that actually matter a lot in the overall result and grand scheme of things, when it comes down to effective Web Design. So, let’s jump into it.
5 Non-coding Skills every Web Designer must have
I actually think having strong skills in Typography is more important than it’s ever been, for Web Design. For one thing, from a Design aesthetic standpoint, it’s important but then, from a user-experience standpoint it’s important because, one of the things I can’t stand is, you know what guys? I wear glasses, and I cannot stand when I have to deal with small or illegible type on a website.
It’s just really the most annoying thing in the world to me and the thing is, I shouldn’t always need to put these on in order to have a proper website experience. So, I think that Typography really matters when it comes to usability, legibility and it does matter when it comes down to a really great, consistent aesthetic for the brand. So, learn Typography, please.
2. Understand Color Theory & Psychology
I think that as a Web Designer, you should have some basic understanding of Color Theory and Color Psychology. I think you should really know what palettes go together. I think you should understand how to develop a color palette and why this is important for brand consistency.
I think you should be able to understand what branding guidelines are and utilize those, if they are presented to you, so that you’re matching the colors appropriately. These things don’t matter a lot to “technical people”.
They matter a lot to business owners. They matter a lot to end users. And it matters because we actually have Color Association and Color Psychology. And there are websites that, look, there is a reason that almost all these social media websites have similar color schemes, and tones and palettes. And there is a very nuanced reason behind that. understand Color Theory and Color Psychology. It makes a real difference.
No matter what type of Design you’re doing, it plays a role. I mean, one really specific example I can give is, if you have a brand that has an equal split, or a close-to-equal split, of an audience that’s male and female, you need to think about things like gender-neutral colors. That’s a real thing.
That matters. That’s why most of the social networks actually have gender-neutral colors and tone palettes because they want to have that even balance. They don’t necessarily want to alienate a group in any way, shape or form. You see the same thing with dating websites. A lot of them do the exact same thing. There are very few exceptions there.
3. Layout Design skills
I can’t stress this one enough. It seems obvious but it might not be. A lot of people that I’ve known, that are Web Designers, are actually really not Designers at all. They’re just Coders.
They actually are closer to just being Front-end Developers or being Web Developers outright. And I have absolutely nothing against those people, some of them are very good friends of mine.
My thing is that, if you are titling yourself as a Designer, having actual Layout Design skills matters because it’s going to play a role in the user experience that you’re creating for people.
It’s going to play a role in how information and how the buying process works, or whatever the website is designed to do, it’s going to be very important that the Layout Design of that is cohesive, and that it is well thought-out and it’s meticulous.
It actually is very similar to all the things that happen when you’re actually trying to layout a magazine for print. There are things you have to really take into consideration there.
Not to mention that in a world now, where Responsive Design is more important than it’s ever been, for us viewing these experiences on multiple devices. I think that Layout has a very important place and I think that it’s gotten a little intimidating for some people, so I would say that it matters and that it’s very important.
4. Gestalt Uniforming Principles
Let’s just wrap all the Gestalt Uniforming Principles into a singular thing here and say, learn that. I’m talking about understanding Repetition, Uniformity.
There are so many of these things, that we could just go into, that need their own video and I would just say that, having a firm understanding and a respect for the Gestalt Uniforming Principles will make you much better as a Web Designer.
It will make you better as a Designer. It will make you better as a creative professional, if you understand the Gestalt Uniforming Principles. I would expect that my friend, Shawn Berry, probably has some stuff on that.
5. Strong communication Skills
The Fifth Design skill that I would say you need as a Web Designer, that again, has nothing to do with the Web portion of things, nothing to do with the Coding but is a Design thing, is you probably need to be able to have really good Communication skills for non-Designers.
You need to be able to come up with creative briefs. You need to be able to explain a scope of work. I think that sometimes, a lot of bad execution or client relationships comes from overlooking this very important skill.
Understand that Design is visual communication. We have the visual part down but sometimes we really lack in the communication part and silo ourselves.
We get very into the creative in the process and yet we don’t communicate with the client or the stakeholder or the employer. And really, again, understanding and empathize with what their needs are.
We don’t articulate our position well to non-Designers. We beat them over the head with Design aesthetic and all of our Design rules but don’t give them a practical reason, in layman’s terms, why we’re doing something.
And I think that this creates a lot of unnecessary tension, a lot of unnecessary problems, and friction, and I think that, if we just become better communicators, that ultimately, will lead to better Design and better Design relationships.
Well, I hope this, “5 Non-coding Skills every Web Designer must have”, brings you some insight as a coder and makes you a better web designer.