5 Things to Do In 2015 to Make You A Better Web Designer
It takes talent, time and innovation to turn someone’s vision into something tangible, to take an idea down from the clouds and translate it into an experience. While practice will certainly make you a better web designer, there are things you can start doing right now that will immediately help you improve your designs.
1. Take out a pen and a pad of paper.
Web designers spend a lot of time building things in applications such as Dreamweaver and Photoshop, but sometimes the best way to hash out an idea is the good old-fashioned way. Don’t be afraid to write notes and organize information on paper beforehand so you have a better idea of how to approach the design later. Drawing or sketching your ideas can help you pull together concepts, layout ideas, and experiment with styles, all while simultaneously allowing you to see your designs through the lens of a different medium. And if you use smart technology like the Creative Cloud connected notebook you can save time by importing your sketches directly into the program using an app.
2. Look for inspiration beyond design.
The world around you is full of inspiration. Next time you’re out and about, take a good hard look at your surroundings. Pay attention to architecture, urban design and patterns in nature and imagine mimicking that on the screen. If you’re stuck, there’s always sites like Behance and ffffound.com that may also help you to see things in new ways.
3. Pay attention to your competitors.
Knowing what’s trending in your industry will help you understand what your competitors are doing well and what they could be doing better. Look at how their components work together and pay attention to what users are saying about the designs—what do they like? What would they like to see differently? You can often get this information by scrolling through social media feeds. By incorporating this feedback into your own designs you can vastly improve your approach without making the same mistakes as your competitors.
4. Never stop educating yourself.
Reading articles, books and tutorials, looking at other people’s designs, and watching demos helps ensure you’re continuously developing and honing your skills. It keeps you ahead of the pack. When a new version of your favorite product comes out, take the time to learn and master the new features. Your designs will thank you for it.
5. Ask a lot of questions.
Every client has a vision, but it takes asking the right questions to fully understand what that vision is. Ask them what they mean when they want something to be “fun” or when they tell you to “go wild.” Ask them about similar projects ahead of time to discover what they like and don’t like about a design. By making things as clear as possible you can ensure you’re meeting their expectations and reflecting their vision in your design.
Becoming a better designer takes work, but every minute you invest into your professional development will translate into more beautiful and practical designs.