A web designer, in my opinion is no less than an artist or a painter, who uses his wild imagination, creativity and skills to create a masterpiece website. Creativity and skill are the most important qualities to look for in a web designer. Creativity comes through thought, but skills are mastered with time, experience and learning process. Appreciation and Criticism, both give a designer the strength to carry on with his work and learn from his mistakes. Being a successful web designer and also staying afloat in a tough and competitive market is a challenge in itself. Designing skills need to be polished and developed regularly with new advances in technology. The ultimate goal of a budding designer should be to create a name and space for himself in the industry, while staying cautious and avoiding common mistakes which he might make. After all it takes years to build a reputation and a minute to break it.
Let us discuss a few areas where a web designer could falter:
Anything in excess is bad, and enthusiasm is no exception. A web designer should not get carried away with an idea, but should take into account his Design and Skill limitations. Don’t bite more than you can chew. Indulging in an overambitious project can be an awful career decision. Another common mistake an over enthusiastic designer makes is that he starts to impose his ideas upon the client. This should be totally avoided as the client’s perspective is equally important. After all he is paying you for obtaining your services.
Your client could be a nagging one. Pleasing him seems difficult and he might criticize you more than often. But you have to remain cool and composed and take his criticism in a positive manner. Always remember that your critics are not your enemies, however negative they might sound, but their criticism shall help you in improving yourself at the end of the day.
Designing a website for someone means converting his idea into a reality. For this a designer should not only have good but excellent communication skills. Without a deep insight of the client’s viewpoint and understanding of his business, creating a good website is not possible. Having a nice and healthy discussion about the website over a cup of coffee is a nice idea to start with. Communication is also required from your side to put across your ideas to the client. Keep in mind that it always takes two to tango.
Numerous web designers have experienced it firsthand. Web designing is a service based industry; you provide a service to your client for which you are paid. You are not selling a physically existing product, so the need for paperwork and written mutual contract with the client becomes even more important. The terms and conditions of the contract should be mutually agreeable to you as well as the client. The contract should clearly state as to what the client will pay you, mode of payment, project details etc. In the absence of a written contract your client might stall the project mid way or refuse to pay you after the project finishes. With a written contract you can at least drag him to the court.
I know this is tough to decide and as a web designer, you may find it difficult to quote your right price, especially when there are no hard and fast rules fixed for charging or determining a price. Prevailing market trends and prices being charged by rival web designers can provide help in determining your price. But in my opinion although charging an exorbitant price might not be a good idea but demanding a much lower price is definitely a bad idea. This can send wrong signals to your client that you are charging less because you need work, or because your work quality is of a mediocre level. There is no harm in being up market and pricey. So always quote an above average price, after all they say that “Creativity is priceless”.
Once you have taken up a new web designing project and completed your paperwork to deliver the project on a fixed deadline, you will not have spare time to try or test new apps or technology. It is advisable to stick to what you know the best. Trial and error methods and fiddling with new technology can be time consuming, pushing you against the deadline. To give a fine example in this regard, Adobe Flash was used in every website, till recently, but with the arrival of HTML 5, it has become the secondary option. But if you are new to HTML 5, then you should leave it for later and stick to Adobe Flash.