An Insight into Life as a Web Designer
Ever wondered what a Web Designer gets up to every day? Whether you’re a client, a student or just a web enthusiast – let me give you a deeper insight into our daily life...
A 20-minute bike ride takes me to work every day or, alternatively and perhaps surprisingly, I enjoy being a tube commuter whilst listening to my favourite tunes. As soon as I get to my desk I check if any urgent emails need dealing with. If there’s nothing that needs immediate attention, I typically spend the first hour of the day browsing different sources of inspiration on the web such as blogs and CSS galleries. These often showcase talented designers and the latest trends in web design. I find this is a good opportunity to share my opinions, clear my doubts and generate new and creative ideas. It’s important to remember that anything that is useful for me may also be useful for my team. I store all interesting and relevant resources using Pocket – a great system for archiving and organising bookmarks and essentially acts as a warehouse for our creative inspiration.
Before long I will usually catch up with one of the Project Managers about what we have on that day. A big incentive to come into work at TWK every morning is the office atmosphere. We are a close-knit team who act collaboratively and strategically, meaning we always have a clear plan of what needs to be worked on during the day and what the priorities are for different tasks depending on client deadlines.
Boredom is never a worry for a web designer!
I personally love the variety of clients and sectors we work with. As a designer, you have to be ready for your imagination and creativity to lead you, as you never know what the next task will be. From Venture Capital companies to private schools and universities – the whole team loves getting stuck into a wide range of projects. We feel this variety directly benefits our clients and, as a web designer, our team’s UI and UX knowledge is certainly stronger than ever as a result of working on such a diverse selection of projects.
From my experience as a web designer at TWK, I have learnt that there are 2 key factors in producing great design work – Information and Communication.
I need to be sure the project manager provides me with all the information I need before starting a design proposal. As Cameron Moll says:
What separates design from art is that design is meant to be… functional.
That’s why I need to know as much as possible about the client and their needs. Building a website for a business can be a challenging endeavour. A functional website must reflect the company’s ethos and for me to be able to achieve this I have to gain a clear understanding of their brand, their target audience and their competitors amongst several other aspects. Luckily, at TWK we have an experienced team of project managers who are experts at gathering this information from our clients and relaying it back to the design team in a structured, purposeful way.
Once myself and the design team feel a design is ready for feedback, I meet with the project manager to ascertain whether they feel it has met the brief. The design may then need slight revisions or additions before the PM then meets with the client. For the PM to present my work in the best light, it is essential that they understand every decision I have made regarding the user interface, user experience, navigation and so on. The relationship between web designer and project manager is key to producing an excellent website, therefore we make a concerted effort to build and maintain an open dialogue throughout every project to ensure the best possible result.
Another benefit of working at TWK is having regular opportunities to receive critical and constructive feedback on my design work from colleagues and clients. Of course it is important to optimise your time as the process can become long and daunting, however it is a key process to go through both for the project itself and for my progression and improvement as a web designer.
New interactive tools help us designers to present our work to the Project Manager and then to the client. Here at TWK we use Invision – a flexible online space for us to simulate navigation and user interactions within the websites we design.
As a busy web design agency in central London, TWK is growing fast and this means we often have young people joining us for design internships and work experience. I enjoy getting involved and helping them by sharing my experience, suggesting design and functionality improvements and generally helping them integrate into the team and get into the swing of life as a web designer!
Last minute catch-ups after work are a common part of our week and it’s never too late for hanging out and enjoying a team beer in one of the local pubs – one of the many perks of working at a web design agency in central London!
Oh, and not to forget the most important daily task – making tea for the team. Although I have to say, as an Italian I would gladly replace it with a cup of coffee any day!