The Boom in Web Design
The demand for web developer talent and UI/UX skills is now global. Websites such as Adecco’s, a platform that helps connect developers with major innovative companies, are proof of that: there, you can find a curated selection of advertisements for experienced UI/UX professionals and even junior web designers in companies large and small.
The rise in e-commerce has helped to drive this demand for web developer skills in recent years but this is not the only reason. Web developer jobs are in greater abundance than ever before because so many traditional business models now rely on digitisation to perform tasks that would have once been handled manually.
The various lockdowns that were imposed as a result of the pandemic only sped up what was an ongoing trend. However, greater digitisation only truly works when the user experience is intuitive and operates seamlessly. This, above all else, accounts for the demand for UI/UX skills among web designers today. Let’s take a look at some core skills, CSS Frameworks, and general best practices to stay updated in the world of web development.
Create Immersive and Responsive Experiences
There can be little doubt that the more immersive the experience someone has when they visit a website or online platform, the better it will be. One way to do this is to make use of the physical and virtual realms and to blend them together to create something entirely new. Although virtual and augmented reality has been around for a while, it is still under-utilised by many web developers.
Importantly, these sorts of UI/UX skills are the sort of things that businesses are looking for. Companies that promote trendy brands or that have a cutting-edge image to maintain are looking to improve their interactivity with users so the AR or VR skills you develop must be put to use in a way that users can genuinely interact with. In some cases, an immersive experience is about allowing users to determine their own pathway through online interaction. In others, it will be more about the narrative you tell because storytelling remains one of the most powerful immersive experiences of all.
Many online experiences – whether they are from visiting a website or using an app – are about gaining information. Reading a blog, looking up some statistics or even researching something at an online encyclopedia all fall into this category.
However, what good UI/UX designers do is to create an interface for exchanging information that is so intuitive that users barely notice they are learning. Okay, good design is also about capturing visitor information, too, but what any skilled web developer should be doing is offering a reason for people to visit their site. The ‘offer’ is to provide information that relates to the commercial activity of the business, of course.
How it is presented is crucial, however. So, avoid long lists of information and text and go for data visualization techniques instead. Infographics are probably the best-known form of data visualization today. That said, there are many more at your disposal, such as word clouds, timelines, charts, and graphs. In addition, web designers should think about how maps can be used to convey information in an original way that is consistent with the overall data visualization strategy being employed.
Accessibility Is a Key UI/UX Skill
Some web designers focus on the look and feel of an online experience which is undoubtedly important. However, if this comes at the cost of web accessibility, then there will be a problem. All too often, web developers have superb screens that make websites look great. However, not all users will be able to see subtle colour changes and tones, especially if they are surfing a site on an old smartphone outside in strong sunlight. Always make web design accessible by assuming it is being viewed by someone with a low-quality kit and, perhaps, even poor eyesight.
Everything should be properly signposted to so that the site is easily navigable. This means clear, unique headlines for various bits of content. All your images should be accompanied by proper alt text, too, which makes the site more accessible to search engine bots as well as people. Focus on a clear design for web forms, too, since these often create user frustration when they are not intuitive to complete.
Engage Users With Personalised Recommendations
In good UI/UX design, a user will feel like they are an individual. Web designers and web developers who can create user experiences that feel like meeting up with an old friend are on to a winning combination, just the sort of thing potential employers want to see. To leverage personalisation on your web platform, use the data that is being collected from visitors wisely. In some cases, you might like to use locational data to offer geographically specific information.
There again, you might offer users the chance to switch languages based on where you detect they are. If you are designing a commercial site that showcases products user tracking data to show potential customers what they last browsed or offer buying recommendations based on the sort of products they’ve searched for previously.
Know the Main CSS Frameworks
Be a Real Web Designer: Avoid Stock Stuff!
Finally, good web developers will tend to agree that stock text and images are a no go for high-quality user experiences. Of course, using stock text that is repeated elsewhere can lead to search engine problems and even breaches of copyright, in some cases. However, freely available stock photos are even more problematic in many web designers’ eyes. Why?
The answer is that stock photos and videos often stick out like a sore thumb. In short, they look like stock images. There is a reason they are freely available, after all. Even worse, the use of stock filler text and pictures makes visitors think the website in question has been thrown together. As such, they won’t trust it and will rarely buy anything or even come back for a second visit. In short, keep it original every time.
Web development and design is an ever-evolving business, where creativity and innovation play a key role in taking clients’ ideas into the world of the web and smartphones. However, competition is fierce and hence you should always be looking for new techniques, frameworks, and approaches that make a difference for the user. Also, keep in mind to regularly check Adecco’s job search platform to not miss any opportunities: the company is in continuous dialogue with key players in the IT universe to help them reach innovative developers such as yourself.