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What is web design?

Updated on April 13, 2016

The Question

I was surprised to find that there are over ninety-thousand searches a month in South Africa for “what is web design”. When working in the web design industry, one often forgets that the Internet is a fairly new advent of our time and many people are only getting online recently. Thus, it is only natural that people would not know exactly what is involved with the creation of a quality website.

Breaking it down

Web Design is multi-faceted and the exact skills of a web designer vary depending on what technologies they choose to develop with, however, there are some basic points about web design that almost never change. To create a basic website from start-to-finish you will need at least three basic skills; Graphic Design, HTML Coding and CSS Styling. The latter two involve typing out code that is read and understood by web browsers (such as Firefox or Internet Explorer).

There are programs such as Adobe Dreamweaver that have a drag-and-drop interface for designing websites, but most professional website designers choose to rather type out their code manually for a number of reasons (which won’t be covered here).

If ‘web design’ is used as an umbrella term for the entire website creation process, further possible skills and tasks may involve:

  • Server-side Scripting (PHP, ASP...)
  • Client-side Scripting (Javascript)
  • Database technologies (MySQL, MSSQL...)
  • Market Research
  • Usability Testing
  • much, much more

Going Further

Of course, what I have stated in this article is a broad generalization, and does not cover interactive websites such as those powered by a Content Management System. Learning how to be a web designer takes, time, dedication and above all, passion.


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