Have you ever seen those commercials that about technical schools? If yes, then you already know that careers like web design are currently in high demand. The world is going digital, and career relevance reflects this.
While the increase in demand for web designers is something many are aware of, what a lot probably don't know is that it is not necessary to take special classes or courses to become well versed in web design. These useful bits of advice will help you on your way.
One thing a lot of young web designers don't know, is 'mystery meat navigation' is your enemy. This is when you use unlabeled images or other elements as clickable objects for the site's navigation. A lot of people do this, in many cases making it so that the visitor needs to mouse over the object to get a popup description of what they do. This can be an exhausting and confusing process for your visitors who might be lost and not know what to click to show them where to go. Page navigation is better kept simple and easy to understand. Using text links will help. For example, when designing therapy websites offering online counselling services, you would want to have text links leading to different parts of the site, like 'online marriage counselling' and 'talk to a therapist online' or 'online therapy chat' not images or symbols. Or clickable text saying 'online therapists', instead of simply putting a row of clickable pictures of the the people when you want to direct the visitor to a page where the online therapy experts they will be working with are introduced, this is very important as that way when people click on it they know exactly where they are headed on the site.
Another important thing is to always make sure you are giving meaningful feedback. Feedback is the communication between a website and it's visitors. A good example is in the case of an action taken by a visitor resulting in an error. It is not enough to simply display an "error occurred' message across the visitor's screen, Instead, set it to display a message that explains what went wrong and how the visitor can correct the error. If you fail to do this, you could have visitors leaving your site in frustration.
Also, do not use images for your background. Think about it, how many of the big websites on the Internet use images as backgrounds? Think Google, Facebook, Microsoft. None have pictures as backgrounds. Using images as backgrounds represents you to the public as an amateur web designer. While images can make your page look less mature, it can also make your site pages load slower, which can frustrate your site visitors.
One other crucial thing, is to learn to test your site on multiple browsers, (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc) operating systems, (Windows, Linux, Mac Os X etc) and devices (PC, cellphones, tablets,etc). Systems, devices,, and browsers interpret sites in their own way, and this can lead to huge differences in the way your site is seen, and this affects not just the aesthetics of the site but also the functionality. Do some research and beta-test your site on as many different devices, browsers and platforms as you can get your hands on.
You should also have your important links in prominent places. You don't want your 'call to action' button hidden inconspicuously in a corner, you want it out in the open where it can easily be seen and clicked, otherwise you are sure to lose a few visitors.
You also absolutely don't want to put a website counter at the bottom of your page. A lot of young web designers feel like this is a worthwhile addition to a site, but it is not something that visitors want to see. In fact it is a plain turnoff. Find another method to track traffic.
"The Internet is your friend". In web design the Internet will be of great use to you. It contains an inexhaustible supply of website design examples. You can go through different websites to get a feel of what's 'in' and what people are doing. This can motivate or inspire you. Find a website you like and figure out what about it appeals to you, then find out if it is something you can incorporate and improve on for your own site.
Another friend you're going to want to keep close is the Forum. Forums provide a lot of information, giving you the ability to garner vast amounts of knowledge from people all over the world, so checking out websites and forums on the topic can really help you a long way on your journey as a web designer.
Now, while there's no way you could possibly find every tip under the sun in one article as no article is that long, you should be able to get the hang of web design through these tips.
Mastery of these techniques will help you to seem more professional as well as improve the quality of your designs to match.