10 Tips For New Web Designers: A Guide For Beginners

Web design isn’t the wild field it used to be. Today, most websites follow a largely-standardized format, with simple sites created using a builder rather than coded by hand. Here are ten things that you should know if you want to become a web designer now.

Design protection exists

Design protection is a relatively new system, allowing you (or your client) to get additional protection against unauthorized duplication of your intellectual property. This protection is vital for web design because copycats may attempt to undermine anything unique or valuable you create.

However, clients aren’t as familiar with monitoring systems yet. If you’re working to contract, you can include design protection as a unique value proposition to help you stand out from other web designers. If you’re looking for a permanent position, you can leverage it as a reason to hire you full-time.

Start small

While it can be tempting to try and create an incredible website the first time you code something from scratch, the truth is it’s probably not going to be very good if you try that. Don’t get discouraged, though. Everyone starts somewhere, and it’s normal for your first website to be somewhat janky.

Instead, start small and focus on making a simple site like a blog. You’re more likely to finish it, and once you do, you’ll begin gaining confidence from success in this field.

Get inspiration elsewhere

Most websites follow a standard design these days. Navigation is in the top left or top right, and shopping carts are in the top right, links to primary pages are at the bottom, and so on. However, some creative websites still mix things up.

Getting inspiration from other sites is an excellent way to expand your horizons. Most web designers can only code what they know, so the more ideas you have, the bigger your toolkit.

Similarly, make sure you look for inspiration offline occasionally. While other websites can teach you a lot, there may be times when you want to make websites modeled after photographs, natural landmarks, or other offline things.

Take courses

You can teach yourself if you have to, but it’s better to take web design courses. Great classes will teach you specific web design elements and help you improve your skills rapidly. Best of all, many coding courses are cheap or free, depending on where you look, so this doesn’t have to be a financial investment.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to research specific things as you need them. The truth is that most coders are constantly researching online. They don’t know every coding system perfectly, but they know how to find answers. Learning as you work on a project is expected.

Have content ready

Content is the meat of web design that goes in after you set up the skeletal structure to serve as a framework. However, knowing what kind of content you will work with is essential before you start designing your site. Otherwise, there may be a mismatch.

You don’t necessarily need every bit of content (Lorem Ipsum can suffice as a placeholder), but having content ready makes a huge difference.

Remember, content is king online. People are visiting a website for its content, and it’s your job to present the material well. If you need to make changes to show content better, you should.

Keep things intuitive

Keep your website designs as simple as possible. While some need to educate them on using the site may be necessary, it’s always better to limit it. If users have to spend too much time learning your site, they may leave instead.

Similarly, use common symbols for your site, such as three horizontal lines for accessing a menu. Users won’t know what unusual symbols are for.

Learning is an ongoing process

Web design is a field where there’s always something new to learn. You will fall far behind your peers if you study a few basic principles and lead it at that. Instead, learn new things regularly to expand your skills.

Similarly, know your tools. You can make a solid website without having to code. That can be a great way to get a framework you can adjust later.

Get comfortable with typography

Typography is an essential part of web design. The size, font, and color of text on your website convey a lot about its content and what people can expect from it. Done correctly, typography will enhance your website. Done poorly, people will feel like it clashes and wonder why you made such a poor decision.

Accept feedback

If someone says your website has a problem, they’re probably right. Don’t take this as an insult or a personal attack. Instead, listen to what they’re saying and try to judge the comments on the merits, not the delivery. There’s always room to grow in web design; accepting this from the start gives you more flexibility.

Accepting feedback can also help you avoid getting overconfident. Humility is a good trait in web design because your ultimate goal is to create something that other people like. That’s your success metric, not whether you like the design. Value other people’s opinions, and you’ll be in a better position.

Avoid too many small changes

As you gain experience in web design, you may find that clients ask for a lot of small changes to the site. However, these can add up to distort the design of the site and throw things out of harmony.

Accepting a client’s feedback is essential, but you should also learn when and why to say no. If a client asks for too many changes, there’s a problem with the core site design, and it’s better to redesign the entire thing. Make sure to put your terms for this into your contract, which will help you avoid arguments.

Final thoughts

Web design is an integral part of the modern economy, and there’s always more work. Whether you’re interested in casual coding or looking to launch a career, following the tips above will lead you to success.