The use of digital media constitutes a crucial component of daily life and is used for everything from socializing and shopping to information and enjoyment. And if you have the capacity to combine technical know-how with artistic vision, you might just possess what is necessary to develop websites and applications that draw users in.
The key competencies required to become a good freelance web designer will be covered in this essay. From understanding what UX (user experience) entails and how to incorporate responsive design and visual components into every project, we will go on to develop the project management and communication skills necessary to adhere to a brand’s guidelines and client requirements.
Both aesthetics and functionality are equally vital when developing websites and applications, and it is the duty of a web designer to offer both. This applies to both freelance web designers and web designers working in a firm. In a nutshell, they need to know how to guarantee that an online platform is both attractive and simple to use.
Now, this can be done in an easier way, which does not require a “schooled” web designer. There are pieces of software that assist people in building websites called website builders, some of which are even free giving users access to the most cutting-edge design tools, a bespoke domain, or adequate storage. Yet, sites created this way are perfect for niche newcomers who are attempting to expand their company given they do not give much freedom in terms of functionality and design; they come with pre-made templates. On the other hand, because constructing websites in this fashion needs web designers who know how to code and are able to create websites of various forms and sizes, there is web design. It functions most effectively for medium-to-large businesses that can afford to spend more. Here we talk about the second type of creating a website.
A freelance web designer begins by meeting with their client, whether they are a locally-based company or a large multinational brand, to go over the brief in order to accomplish this. Following these discussions, the next step is to create layouts, designs, color schemes, and fonts – in other words, all of the visual components of a website or app – that effectively communicate the client’s message and appeal to the target audience. They must think about usability elements like site navigation, load speeds, and mobile compatibility in addition to creating a look and feel that reflects the personality of the company or brand.
Web designers are frequently needed to provide continuous maintenance by routinely optimizing and upgrading the platform in order to give the greatest UX in addition to building new websites or revamping old ones. So, choosing to be a freelance web designer does not alleviate your duty to maintain the web page you created – unless you made a different kind of deal with a client.
Consider formal training, such as enrollment in a degree program or seminar that will instruct you on many of the principles of digital design, to jump-start your web design career.
You may also use an apprenticeship to supplement your education, regardless of whether you go to school or learn on your own. That can include working at a web design agency or with a mentor who has already established a lucrative freelancing career. The reality of customer briefings, design demonstrations, and the different steps required in building and distributing an app or a website in the actual world will thus be revealed to you.
It will be worthwhile to establish a website and a web design résumé as you progress toward this position. Consider it a graphic business card that presents your abilities right away.
A web designer, whether freelance or not, has to be rational and creative in their thinking, as well as proficient in a variety of technical abilities, such as UX design. These abilities could appear difficult at first, but with practice, they will become clear.
Similar to this, if you have a passion for design and want to build platforms that are aesthetically beautiful, you will continue to hone the soft skills necessary to be a web designer throughout the duration of your career.
Tech Skills for Freelance Web Designers
Gaining knowledge in these areas will set you solidly on the road to being a prosperous independent web designer.
Any web designer must possess technical proficiency in visual or graphic design. Based on the brand or company you are working with, the use cases for the platform, and the platform’s target market, you will be able to determine the most aesthetically acceptable design options for a website or app.
Learn how to use design tools like Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop to experiment with various visual design strategies, and stay current with design trends to make sure your work stands out.
A grasp of visual design is crucial since effective web design depends on creating and communicating a company’s or brand’s look and feel, or its “voice”, across digital communication channels.
After considering how important it is to design an aesthetically beautiful website or app, it is now time to consider how to make it functional, entertaining, and accessible. This necessitates emphasizing the user experience, or UX.
This technical ability calls for web designers to do research, gather data, and establish a strategy that prioritizes effectiveness and user-friendliness in order to comprehend what people desire.
During a UX audit, a site designer spots possible issues or usability issues and suggests fixes. They transform the user, company, and brand needs into valuable online experiences. For a smooth user experience, they also create wireframes, prototypes, and sitemaps.
Responsive design, which is closely related to UX design, focuses on delivering a uniform user experience across all devices and browsers. It is crucial to the web-building process because of this and, when done effectively, may significantly enhance a website’s SEO; however, we will cover that in greater depth later.
Soft Skills for Freelance Web Designers
Next, we examine the soft skills, sometimes known as people skills, that are crucial for managing client interactions and web design projects.
You should make an effort to communicate with customers in a way that fosters confidence, assures comprehension, and proves your capacity to finish their design assignment to brief and on schedule, whether it be through in-person meetings, video conferences, or emails. Give them an easy-to-understand explanation of the procedure for creating a website and walk them through each stage of the task so they will understand what to expect.
However, you do not have to talk all the time; being able to listen to a customer and comprehend their specific wants and requirements is essential if you want to provide a website or app that not merely meets but also surpasses their expectations. To ensure that you are on the optimal path, ask questions, make sure you have understood their responses accurately, and give frequent updates.
A freelance web designer may also need to collaborate with other online professionals, such as graphic designers and web developers, and communicate with outside firms. As a freelancer, you will be able to get the maximum out of these connections if you are clear about your job and look for opportunities to cooperate.
Speaking about meeting client expectations, constant follow-up is key in this expertise. It is crucial to offer technical assistance and training following the delivery of a finished website or app. It has a lot in common with project management, which entails segmenting the job into phases, creating realistic timeframes, and setting up catch-up schedules. In essence, the goal is for the job to move forward while making sure the customer is at ease and that their requirements are being addressed.
Remember that many web design companies will have a specific client or account manager to handle this task; thus, get in touch with these teams for any suggestions or project management tools they may utilize to simplify and expedite the process, such as Trello, Asana, and ClickUp.
There are a ton of little details that web designers need to take into account from the first brief to the final product, including the creation of a contract and the delivery of a fully operational app or website that is prepared for launch.
Making a style guide is one technique to make sure your work follows the client’s specifications and is in line with your vision. The aesthetic approach for the website and app will be documented here, along with guidelines for important components like color schemes, logo use, and typefaces. Your commitment to detail will not only maintain consistency but will also be a significant resource you can share with the client and colleagues to guarantee the continuation of their visual identity.
Avoid allowing deadlines to prevent you from examining the details; focus on correctness and readability, and make sure each component has a purpose. For the optimal user experience, keep testing and verifying your work, and be ready to make adjustments.
Realizing how an app or a website fits into a company’s or brand’s broader marketing plan can help you test your work more successfully and see any areas that may require improvement. Similarly, keeping up with current digital marketing trends may make your design more appealing to consumers and help you achieve the marketing equivalent of the proverbial “more engagement”.
You will spend a lot of time considering a site’s speed, layout, structure, and performance, all of which may assist in making sure that it is SEO-friendly (search engine optimization-friendly). However, there are other options. You may improve your site’s ranks by learning how to create and use meta titles and descriptions, keywords, URLs, and alt tags that are geared for search engines like Google.
You may quickly excel as a freelance web designer by fusing technical expertise with self-assurance while dealing with clients. And bear in mind that the only means by which to keep getting better is to always evaluate and improve your strategy.
Ask yourself, at the conclusion of each project, what went smoothly and what are those areas in which you might improve or expand your skill set?