How to Become a Web Designer
Web Designer Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of Web Designers
Web Designer Salary
Influential Professional Web Designers
Leading Web Designer Organizations
Top Cities for Web Design Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
The relative affordability of the modern computer and wide-availability of design software, such as Adobe's Creative Suite, combined with any number of excellent books on web design, means it has never been easier or less expensive to learn advanced web design techniques. Of course, the contacts one makes as part of a structured training program, either as an apprentice or as an undergraduate, will likely prove crucial in establishing oneself in the profession. Nevertheless, one can certainly develop the pure skill and knowledge needed to be a successful web designer at home and with minimal financial investment.
As this suggests, in contemporary usage, the term "web designer" has come to be much more diverse than it was in the early days of the web. In the early 1990's, web design generally involved nothing more than marking up text and images with HTML and then uploading the files to one or more servers. Now, though, web designers routinely possess a range of skills, including the ability to code in server-side languages; knowledge of video and sound editing software for embedded videos and podcasts; the ability to operate audio/visual recording equipment, in order to produce a/v content, and the graphic and animation design software expertise necessary to create rich, dynamic designs.
Because of the important role the Internet plays in contemporary life, almost every organization, in both the public and private sector and many marquee individuals, such as celebrities and politicians, maintain websites. Therefore, web designers must work for a diverse range of employers, including media outlets, businesses, non-profits, public service organizations and individuals. They also frequently work as full-time or part-time freelancers and in partnership with other web, graphic and art designers at design firms and ad agencies of all sizes.
While most modern web designers possess many of the skills already outlined, at minimum they should have a working knowledge of HTML and CSS, Adobe's Dreamweaver and FTP clients, such as Fetch. They must also understand the fundamentals of web hosting and domain registration. Since a great deal of crossover exits between the fields of graphic design and web design, most web designers also find themselves conversant with other elements of Adobe's Creative Suite, including Photoshop and if animations are to be added to a project, Flash.
The two most important modern tools of web designers, namely Flash and Dreamweaver, developed independently of one another. Jonathan Gay and his partners at various software companies developed Flash in 1990's. Today, the program is the standard for web animation, while its multimedia and application player has become the standard for playing video and other media files on the web. First developed by Allaire Systems and then Macromedia, Adobe's Dreamweaver first appeared in the late 1990's and, as it and other HTML editors grew in popularity, liberated web designers from the hand coding of websites.
Now, after a series of mergers, Adobe stands as the preeminent developer of web design software, with its successful series of Creative Suites, which is now, as of late 2008, in its fourth edition.
Other professional organizations associated with web design, include IWA-HWG, the International Webmasters Association/HTML Writers Guild (http://www.w3.org/) and IMC, the Interactive Media Council (http://www.interactivemediacouncil.org/), a nonprofit "comprised of leaders and experts from various areas of web-related business and dedicated to elevating the standards of excellence on the Internet." The IMC governs the Interactive Media Awards (http://www.interactivemediaawards.com/), which honor "outstanding achievements in website design and development".
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