Designing can be fun and exciting, but at times it can be time-consuming, especially when you need to work on any complicated project. Moreover, designing a solution to any given problem of unknown territory can be challenging. And so, it becomes difficult for them to handle web design projects that takes more time and are overly complicated.
Wouldn’t it be better if you could repeat some steps for most of your web design projects? This can help you buy some time to experiment with design projects. After all, practice is what makes a person perfect. And, the more web design experiments you’ll perform, the more you’ll be able to broaden your design skills and encourage creativity.
But, discussing how you should experiment with your web designs is not our agenda in this post. Rather, we intend to put forth some tips and tricks that you must know as a web designer to save their time and accelerate their design workflow.
1. Become familiar with HTML
There has been a continuous debate going on over the web, regarding which programming language, web designers must know so as to work on any web design project. Considering the fact that HTML5 is the standard language used for creating web pages, it makes sense that web designers must have at least basic knowledge of HTML to make pretty nice designs.
Becoming familiar with HTML will help you create W3C validated designs – that is less likely to contain any bugs. Moreover, creating HTML based web designs will help you reach out to a wider user base – since HTML is the standard language for web browsers. This means that an HTML design can be accessed on all major browsers, thereby increasing your chances of reaching out to your target audience.
But, remember to learn about the latest HTML version (i.e. HTML5) to create modern style web designs. Below are a few key benefits you’ll get by having basic HTML knowledge:
- You will have an upper hand over web designers who are only good at designing.
- You can easily create demo sites based on your design.
- Crafting a site using your design will give you the freedom to make changes to it as per your needs. For instance, you can choose to add or remove some core elements from your website with ease.
2. Get to know about all web design elements.
Needless to say, every designers have different needs and accordingly plan on creating a web design. However, there are a few fixed core elements that are crucial to the overall success of a web design. Some of those elements are:
Navigation: A crowded navigation with too many menu items and text can make it hard for users to understand where they should head to next. Thus, make sure to create a navigation menu as simple as possible, so that it can help your users move throughout your site in a seamless manner.
White space: Most designers often underrate the need of adding white space in their designs. But, having enough white space can make a web design easy to scan. Most importantly, spacing help create a fine balance between the web design elements that helps make the text readable.
Color scheme: It’s a proven fact that colors have a profound impact on a human brain, and can influence our decisions. Likewise, the color scheme you are using in your web design can convince a user to stay or leave your site. As a rule of thumb, write text using dark color on a light background and vice versa.
Call to action: In most cases, your website helps encourage a user to take some desired action, whether it is related to making a purchase or subscribing to your service and so on. But, to ensure that your visitors will take an action as you want them to take, you’ll have to determine what they’re supposed to do.
For example, let’s say a user is interested in purchasing several items from your online store but cannot come to a decision. To avoid losing such a prospective client, you can help the user store his/her preferences, by providing a call-to-action button such as ‘add to Wishlist’ – that you might have seen in various e-commerce sites.
3. Learn how you can optimize your images.
Keep in mind that all your efforts in creating an aesthetically pleasing and highly functional web design will go in vain – if your design takes time to load. It’s no more a secret that web pages that take more than 3 seconds to load has a high abandonment rate.
Almost every web design comprises of images to heighten the visual appeal of the overall design. But, adding images can also make your website design loading time slow. However, optimizing your images can help them load faster. One of the best way to optimize images is to make use of the Smush.it tool. This tool help in reducing image file sizes, by removing unnecessary bytes from it.
There is another great tool that helps reduce image file size (of PNG format) significantly, called as pngquant. This is basically a command-line utility and also serve as a library that helps perform “lossy compression for PNG images.”
Using image optimization tools will help save your time, from going through the hassle of experimenting with the code to reduce size of your images.
4. Speed up your workflow by using shortcut keys.
Time is an important asset for all web designers. But sadly, designers hardly get enough time to experiment with their designs. But, you can save your time and expedite your workflow and can even boost productivity, by using keyboard shortcuts (also referred to as shortcut keys).
The majority of web designers uses Photoshop for editing their web designs. If you’re one of them, then learning the following keyboard shortcuts will help you work on your design using Photoshop in a relatively fast manner:
Zoom in and out: You can make any element in your web design zoom in using the shortcut key “[ Cmd + = ]” and zoom it out using “[ Cmd + – ]” as the shortcut key.
Merge layers: As a web designer, you’ll know that each design contains several layers. But, you may need to merge layers into one single layer. You can do so, by simply using the keyboard shortcut “ Command + Option + Shift + E”.
Choose a Specific Selection: Out from several web design elements, you can easily choose one using Alt/Option + Shift + Click together with a selection tool.
Switch to Foreground or Background Colors: You can easily switch between your selected colors for foreground and background using X command.
Reset the Changes You Made: When working on a web design, it’s quite normal to make a few changes that we might not like later. Or possibly, you may have made a few changes to your design accidentally. Whatever the reason may be, you can reset your preferences using any one of the below commands:
a) For Windows: Ctrl + Alt + Shift
b) For Mac: Command + Option + Shift
5. Must know how they can troubleshoot and fix errors.
Let’s face it, no matter how careful we tend to work, it’s pretty rare that it will run smoothly without any bugs when you’ll test your design for the first time. As a fact, only a few designers are able to create a web design free from errors.
In essence, to grow as a web designer it is important for you to know how you can troubleshoot to fix errors. You must know what resources you can use to make your web design work. A better strategy is to see what common mistakes other web designers make – be it in code or design.
Below are a few considerations you must take a look at, so as to become capable enough to troubleshoot and fix designing errors:
- Make sure to test your design in all major browsers and multiple mobile platforms.
- Validate your HTML and CSS.
- Write simple code that you can manage easily.
- Perform A/B split tests to see which one of your design version is well-liked by your target audience.
6. Listen to what your clients have to say.
The best way to save your time when working with a web design is to listen what your clients have to say. Doing so, will help you understand what exactly your clients want from your web design.
It’s good to know about your clients expectations, but avoid fulfilling their needs blindly. Rather simply listen to them carefully, and then give your own suggestions: if the requested changes can be made or not. Furthermore, listening can also help strengthen your bond with your clients.
As a web designer, when you’ll listen carefully to your clients, you can provide them with valuable suggestions more than as a service provider; this might even help you get some bonus in return for helping them out.
Creating a successful web design isn’t a cakewalk. There are several aspects that you need to consider to come up with a winning design solution. Moreover, oftentimes you might even find a web design project time-consuming and complex. In this post, I’ve covered some easy-to-follow tips and tricks that will help make web design process simple, and as efficient as possible.
Jack Calder is a viable professional working as PSD to HTML service provider in Markupcloud Ltd. Jack has shown here how you can improve the productivity of a web designer just by following some useful principles.