Web design is an up-and-coming career choice, especially for people who are looking for jobs that aren’t likely to be outsourced to AI robots. But all the reasons that make web design so appealing to you also make it attractive to other newbie web designers.
Web design is a crowded field, like every fast-growing vertical, and it’s challenging to stand out in it when you’re only just beginning to climb the ladder. Good tools can help, like the Editor X website builder, plus you need to follow basic starter career advice like doing your best to exceed expectations, maintaining excellent communication, and never promising something you can’t deliver.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of web and digital design is predicted to grow 8% between 2019-2029, which is much faster than average. That’s great for your long-term future, but could mean that you’re competing with a lot of other starter web designers for an entry-level job and to advance further.
That’s why we gathered 5 great tactics that new web designers can take to help them stand out from the crowd.
1. Tell a compelling story
When it comes to web design, the medium is the message. Your designs can tell a story that captivates the user without them even realizing it, instead of simply serving as the framework within which a narrative exists, and that elevates them to an entirely new level of awesome.
When you build storytelling into design, it helps you to deliver better user experience (UX), communicate brand messaging and concepts, and express the core personality of your client. Create storyboards to help you plot your narrative and make it compelling, and focus on crafting designs that communicate goals, interests, motivations, and concerns, rather than tasks, products, or actions.
2. Unlock the power of emotion mapping
Emotion mapping means charting how the user feels at different touchpoints when interacting with your designs, whether that’s a website, an app, or a chatbot system. Users can feel a number of different emotions as they interact with your designs, so emotion maps can get quite complex.
Use your charts to identify when the user experiences an emotional low point, and look for ways to resolve them. Some will be beyond your control — you can’t help with hunger, for example — but others, like confusion, overwhelm, or uncertainty, can be addressed by better design.
Emotion mapping is an excellent way to make your case for specific design choices because it shows that you think deeply about the user experience.
3. Be end-user-centric
Top skills, flashy elements, and cutting-edge features look cool, but they aren’t what matters. What really grabs employers’ attention is proving that you can match your designs with their end users’ needs, and that takes more than just good design skills.
You need to work on your empathy and imagination to glean what the end-user really wants from the data you receive from your client. You’ll also need to learn how to present the reasons for your choices in a compelling way, like using emotional mapping and storytelling, for example.
4. Understand SEO
Technically speaking, SEO is not part of the remit for web designers, but today’s SEO has moved way beyond keywords. The latest Google search update rolled out Core Web Vitals, a new ranking system which encompasses the entire user experience, including page load speed, navigability around the site, and page responsiveness, all of which are affected by your design choices.
For example, knowing how to optimize images affects page load speed; creating clear hierarchies improves navigability; your selection of plugins, widgets, and coding affects how and how long it takes for a page to load, etc.
When you understand what affects SEO scores and Google SERP rankings, you’ll make design decisions that help SEO instead of hindering it, and that will endear you to CRO personnel, marketers, and UX people everywhere.
5. Be inclusive by default
There’s a growing awareness of and demand for accessibility and diversity in web experiences, and that gives you an opportunity to stand out. Companies are still catching up to this need, but consumers with disabilities are highly aware of which sites let them down and are increasingly willing to sue them for doing so, while consumers from minorities always notice when they do — or don’t — find representation online.
Design plays a large role in both accessibility and diversity of representation. Being conscious of accessibility and diversity needs, and building them into your design from the start, helps differentiate you from other, less-aware web designers. Make sure to articulate your choices and the reasons behind them to your customers so they’ll understand how valuable you are as an applicant.
Get set to climb the web design ladder
It’s never easy when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, but there’s no reason why you have to stay there. When you apply awesome storytelling capabilities, leverage emotion mapping, understand SEO, diversity, and accessibility best practices, and learn how to connect with end user needs, you’ll be ready to seize the opportunity and shine like the rockstar web designer you are.
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