50 Things I Learned in Web Design
It wasn’t easy coming up with a blog entry for this auspicious day. I had several ideas listed down from 50 reasons to start blogging, 50 ways to monetize your blog, 50 tips to improve your website today to 50 things I want to achieve by 50.
There were a couple of other 50s topics but I thought it wouldn’t be suitable for this blog. In the end, after pondering over 5 different topics I decided I should share with everyone the 50 things I learned in web design.
I took web design upon myself at the tender age of 13 years old. I’m not ashamed to share this year; 2007, I’m now 24. The following 11 years of my life through secondary school, college and university have been average. I started freelancing under the brand of Websites Made Simple which coincidentally is my blog today. I’m now managing a small web design and development team with my partner in Simpleet Solutions.
My burning passion for web design these 11 years saw me through a lot of lessons, trial and errors, bad moments and memorable experiences. I’d like to share the 50 things I learned in web design to this date. Maybe it’ll give you a better head start if you’re into the web design industry.
- Start with a book.
- If you don’t know how, don’t be shy to ask. But don’t bug them.
- Find friends who share your passion.
- Start Internet surfing more, get exposed.
- HTML and XHTML
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Macromedia Flash (before Adobe bought them)
- Macromedia Dreamweaver
- Web standards compliancy by World Wide Consortium (W3C)
- MovableType blog publishing system
- WordPress blog publishing system
- Always have a project agreement or job contract signed.
- Microsoft Frontpage (yes, I did use it before Dreamweaver.)
- Create an online portfolio (get exposure).
- Start blogging about your passion or life.
- Keep a mini notebook close at all times to jot down ideas.
- Never stop brainstorming.
- Web design is not graphic design.
- Know everything but specialize in one. Don’t be a jack of all multimedia.
- Start freelancing early – school holidays or during college.
- Pay attention during lectures.
- If you don’t understand a point, ask the lecturer. Don’t be afraid.
- Listen and respect your college seniors. They may have a pointer or two.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new without affecting the experience entirely.
- Recognize Jeffrey Zeldman and Jakob Nielsen. (No harm knowing others as well.)
- Buy new books on web design, web development, user experience and etc.
- Don’t throw away ALL your previous books. (Some could be used as long time references.)
- Buy (or collect) design magazines.
- Never stop sketching especially website skeletons before designing.
- Get a permanent job (as a Creative Designer or Web Designer) to at least know what the industry feels like.
- Never give up. If it’s your passion, you won’t need to worry about this.
- Keep a hard copy of your portfolio. Useful if you don’t have a laptop.
- Listen, reply, and learn from comments by others. Handle constructive criticism well.
- Know who are your competitors; designers or agencies.
- Learn more about business and marketing.
- A website always has an objective, aim and strategy to get there.
- Life is not a job. (Borrowed from Giordano )
- A returning customer can bring you more business than a new one.
- Join a community forum like Low Yat forum. (Design focus or not…doesn’t really matter.)
- Subscribe to good content RSS feeds or newsletters.
- User experience design is equally as important as web design.
- Never be afraid to ask, “Are there any plans to redesign your website?”
- Dump Internet Explorer. Use Mozilla Firefox – it is still faster and more reliable!
- Monitor real estate is crucial as standard resolutions are migrating to 1024 x 768.
- Tell your clients the truth. If you can’t do it, say you can’t but you can work with someone to achieve it.
- Always have your business cards with you. Even bloggers have business cards.
- Don’t overwork yourself. Tiredness kills your ‘design’ brain cells and leaves keyboard marks on your forehead.
- And lastly, get some sun! Don’t be a mole. Don’t force yourself to get glasses.
Question of the day:
Anything additional you’ve learnt besides the list above?
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