Good Web Designers

by mmyoji

3 min read


I've worked with several kinds of web desingers so far. Some are good, others are not.

Lately I experienced bad communication with a web designer. Then I've decided to write "what nature a good web designer has" (from my experience) in order to organize my thoughts and avoid such an issue in the future.

First of all, I AM NOT a web designer, but a web developer. The following ideas are just from a web developer's perspective. We, web developers, also should learn web design, too. We should suggest an idea or an advice which web designers don't have.

Learning tools to make work effective and/or learning design itself are omitted in this post because they're taken for granted.

IMO, there're 4 following natures that good web designers have:

  • Understanding web frontend constraints
  • Considering (edge) cases
  • Thinking logic thoroughly
  • Touching many web apps

Understanding web frontend constraints

Good web designers know web constraints very well: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Superior ones can also do frontend coding by themselves. Obtaining these knowledge will lead you to propose realistic and familiar design. You could reduce frustrations of web developers who work with you :)

Suppose your project goes like the following processes:

  1. A designer creates wireframe or prototype
  2. A frontend developer builds markup
  3. A frontend (and a backend) developer completes the page(s)

When a designer doesn't have enough web dev experience in such a situation, you might go like these:

  1. A frontend developer builds a prototype
  2. A frontend developer and a designer discuss design
  3. A frontend developer completes the page(s)

The way of process differs depending on both designers and developers skills.

In opposite, when you have enough experiences, understanding 1. what frontend libraries / frameworks are used and 2. developers skills in the project leads you to propose more suited design for the project effectively.

Considering (edge) cases

Most pages of a web app have variables. A user might set their name super long, other might sets many tags to their blog post. Designers' wireframes are, in contrast, static. They might set values as they wish. Good web designers consider many cases, even edge cases.

I guess latest web design tools have features help such issues. Or you can leave comments in the wireframes at least.

In addition, developers would be happy when you use consistent words during pages. If different words are used in page A and page B for the same item, it will cause a meaningless complexity (in most cases) in the app.

Thinking logic thoroughly

Good web designers do think they are NOT artists. Though idiots think "web design" is aesthetic, it's rather super logical. If you cannot explain "why I design like this" to others, it's nothing and you might want to change it later, several times.

Learning congnitive psychology and web design good practices would help you. You have to think the problems that users want to solve in the app and seek use cases. Taking those into your design, product managers and developers can tackle with the problem at the same level with you.

Touching many web apps as much as possible

This is very simple but very hard for some (like me). Good web designers I've ever met install many web apps and use them daily. Touching many apps, especially popular ones, provide you a lot of ingredients when you design. You could understand general and/or popular UI/UX from them.