Web Designer: Necessary Skills

D. Keith Robinson posted about Web design skills of a successful Web designer.

His list:

  • General Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Problemsolving
  • Patience
  • Adaptibility
  • Information Architecture for the Web
  • Visual Design
  • Programming
  • Web Development
  • Writing
  • Project Management

I agree, for the most part, with his list. I wanted to take a crack at my own, from a slightly different angle and see what falls out.

Necessary skills are going to vary to a large degree based on context. A solo-act freelancer (which is a dangerous and difficult thing…) is going to need an entirely different set of skills than a web design lackey for a large institution (*ahem..* c’est moi…). I’m going to try to hit on skills that a good Web designer is going to need in most every circumstance, and in general, as a professional in their field, looking to advance.

As you will see, I am largely in aggreement with Mr. Robinson, though I would place them differently in terms of importance.

  1. Communication – The ability to clearly, efficiently and effectively express your ideas (and others’ ideas) in a variety of mediums (written, verbal, visual).
  2. Adaptability – Being willing and able to change methods, process, technologies, and approaches, based on the varying needs of different clients and projects.
  3. Learning/Research – The ability AND the discipline to do it. The Web is a changing medium. Useful new technologies are constantly being introduced. A good Web designer should be on top of them.
  4. Problem Solving – Indeed. This is what we do… all day.
  5. Ability to use the tools of the trade – This is a no brainer. Understanding HTML, XML, CSS, [insert favorite scripting language or four].
  6. Project Management – Weakness in this area will kill you every time. Unacceptable turnaround time, and bloated overhead do not make for repeat business.
  7. Information Architecture – I wanted to disagree with Keith on this one, but what else are we doing, if not arranging information so that is makes sense and can be used?
  8. Visual Design Fundamentals – A good Web designer need not be an artist (raises hand), but does need to understand some basics.
  9. Programming Theory – The general how to’s and best practices of putting together an application in ANY language…

But then, what do I know. :)






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