April 15, 2010 5

5 Things a Modern Web Designer Must Know

By in Web Design

Sometimes we forget that web design is an incredibly new industry, only being a few decades old. With this comes fast changes in technology and the need to keep up. Constant learning is a must.

In this post we’ll look over 5 things a modern designer needs to know in order to be a successful professional. These are 5 things that were most likely not on a need-to-know level just a few years ago, but now are essential.

1. How to Create Mobile Versions of Web Pages

With rising technology in alternative browsing solutions, designing for mobile screens has come from a specialty to a knowledge requirement among web designers. Many clients require mobile versions along with their standard web pages if they’re looking for a new design. Otherwise, those who already have websites require their current websites to be transferred into mobile versions.

Many web designers seem to put off learning about mobile web design, however, it’s really quite simple. Today, many mobile websites can use a markup we as designers are familiar with — XHTML. So, there really aren’t any new technologies to learn, but rather just new practices. One must learn screen resolutions, common formats, and best practices for designing for a smaller screen.

Check out Designing for the Mobile Web on SitePoint for more example and further instruction.

2. How to Use a Grid-Based Layout Properly

Grid-based design has been around long before web design within the graphic design world. However, many older websites did not bother to use it. This is because grid based design is great for content heavy websites, or more accurately, when much content is needed on one page.

Grids can provide more accuracy to a design, more organization, and overall better visual appeal. In the backend, grids can also be incredibly helpful for the developer.

For more on the grid based approach, examples, and some grid platforms, check out Smashing Magazine’s Designing with a Grid-Based Approach.

3. CSS3 and HTML5

CSS3 and HTML5 are the newest versions of their languages, respectively. As a designer in a new and ever growing industry, one need to stay up to date. These, too, will of course update themselves in a matter of years, and the cycle will need to repeat. Keep up to date with new technologies like this, and of course keep in mind older browsers and how they work with newer technologies.

4. How to Be a Bloggerpreneur

One trend, that is perhaps a trend to stay, is blogging for marketing, and for business. One doesn’t need to start a huge blog magazine like Smashing Magazine, or even like the blog here on MyTemplatez, but blogs are usually needed for modern web designers to succeed.

Even if a web designer only updates their blog once a month, blogs can be great for getting one noticed, providing social proof, and of course, giving back to the design community. There is some debate on whether blogging is required as a web designer these days, so feel free to provide your own opinion in the comments below!

5. The Basics of WordPress

Many designers and developers choose their own niche and CMS to work by within their career. However, there is no doubt about it that WordPress is the king of all CMS’s right now, and will likely stay that way for some time. Of course, many designers and clients can benefit from other platforms, because WordPress is so widely used, it is nearly a requirement for designers to at least know the basics of using and designing for WordPress.

There is a fine line between developer and designer know when it comes to WordPress design, but in the very least, a web designer should know some common components to WordPress, so a blog design is possible. If need be, the designer can pass on the work to a developer, but still be able to make tweaks and work around the code.

About: Kayla Knight:
Hello, my name is Kayla Knight, and I am a web designer and developer based in Iowa, Usa. I focus on user-centric, beautiful, simple, and functional web design. You can check out my portfolio here: KaylaKnight.com.

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5 Responses to “5 Things a Modern Web Designer Must Know”

  1. Andrew says:

    great article as always! thanks for the sharing.

  2. mobile websites are already growing these days. pretty soon we would have tons of them.:;”

  3. Alex_se7en says:

    it was very interesting to read blog.mytemplatez.com
    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  4. tovpes says:

    I would like to exchange links with your site blog.mytemplatez.com
    Is this possible?

  5. mobile websites will surely grow in the following years~;~