What is a Web Designer, Anyway?

As a web designer, I get all kinds of requests for information other than web design, and as a web designer I'm not really suppose to be able to do things outside of the web design area. I believe there are a few misconceptions about what exactly a web designer does. In this article I am going to nail down exactly what a web designer is and what they should be able to do. First I'll touch of the differences between a web designer and a web developer. A web designer is someone who creates the visual design and layout of a web page. A web developer is someone who does the behind-the-scenes programming of a website. For example a web developer creates the code for database websites.

Web designer's definition:

They give business/organizations a web presence by building them a website. Web designers are professionals who organize information, create page layouts, while communicating the business's information/opinions in a website. Web designers create another medium for the business to expand into. Creating a website enables the business to attract new customers, showcase its services/products, and to do business across countries (as opposed to one location).

What things do web designer's do?

That's a really good question. It is definitely hard to nail down what every designer must do in order to call themselves a web designer. A good web designer should be able to do both the design and the development, unfortunately for you the consumer, it doesn't always work that way.

Your web designer must be able to perform the following:

* Understand and keep current will all new emerging technology

*Layout web pages using HTML, XHTML, XML , and other programming languages

*Program HTML (hand code), JavaScript and CSS

*Translate your ideas, needs and expectations into a web page

*Design navigation elements (such as navigation bars)

*Create graphics in Photoshop or any other professional imaging software

* Effectively participate in a web development team

* Have an understanding on how to create Flash (authoring software used to create animation programs)

*Understand and implement web standards

* Have an understanding of Search Engine Optimization

* Have a basic understanding of typography, graphics and color theory

* Understand needs of users and of usability testing

* Have ability to analyze a target market

* Understand cross browser problems and how to fix them

A great web designer also has knowledge of coding languages such as:

* C++

* Python

* Java

* JavaScript

* Cold fusion

* SQL

* PHP

Sometimes it might be difficult for a web designer to have all those different programming languages under their belt. It is like knowing English, French, Chinese and German. Quite complicated. The more languages they know the better. Well that should help you on your search for a good web designer!