So You Want to Be a Web Designer?
In specialised forums and in social network like Orkut and Facebook, those working with web design are in the communities and pages related a place to ask questions, share experiences and disseminate their work. The same thing happened with those who do not yet is in the profession, but you want to.
But, in the midst of so many people, we can realize the unpreparedness of the vast majority. Many courses in web design will teach you the tools, but do not teach fundamental concepts; there arise the questions, many times silly in the eyes of those already in the industry.
The biggest difficulty I have noticed is time for you to start the career. How to publish your first website, how to assemble a portfolio, how much to charge a client… All schools should teach, but that we end up having to learn on the basis of trial and error.
So, I decided to write this article, based on my experiences personal and the opinions of professionals in the area, to help those who wish to work with web design.
Five things you should know before you start
Learn HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
Your sites will get more light, without the code unnecessary of the editing programs. In addition, you will have much easier to program on mastering the tags of the HTML, and will be much easier to understand how to work the new technologies, such as XHTML, XML, and more recently HTML 5.
Invest in your own domain and a paid hosting
In addition to avoiding advertisements unpleasant, that take your the layout of the place, and can even bring malwares to the the user’s computer, the hosts paid offer much more tools to improve your site. In addition, your own domain shows very more professionalism (see more in the topic about portfolio).
Learn color theory, usability, and typography
The basic of the basic. So, you ensure that your sites will be visually pleasing, the navigation will be more easy for the user and the reading of the texts will not be tiring.
Take care of the accessibility
Is not the user who has to adapt your computer to the your site, and yes otherwise. So, forget the “this site it is best viewed at 800×600” and prepare their sites for all the types of users, resolutions, browsers, and, preferably, possible devices.
Study, study, study
It is not because you concluded that super course web design that is free from learning. The Web is in constant change, so get to know all the new technologies, concepts and tools emerging every day. Do not deepen only in that you like the most: try to have a notion overview of each one of them, because you never know when you might arise a job that needs precisely what you have not mastered.
All this knowledge is increasingly at your fingertips. To begin with use Google, the best place to find tips and tutorials. Only remember that learning English, your chances of find the that looks are infinitely greater.
Assembling your portfolio
Your portfolio is the gathering of all his works, a showcase of your ability and imagination, and especially the the first impression about your professionalism. For this, you need to take great care with the small details, so as not to tarnish his image right off the bat:
If you want to invest in your career, consider even the possibility to purchase a domain .with.br, .with or .net, in addition to a good hosting plan. Addresses as the .cjb.net show lack of professionalism – “if this work is not worth the investment of an address paid, why should I hire you?”. In addition, free hosts get out of the air much longer than they should – and if your portfolio not open, there are others in the queue waiting for their place.
Beware of the Portuguese. It gets to be unnecessary to say this, but please review your text, ask a friend to read and search for the errors that you may have overlooked, or even use an editor such as Microsoft Word to correct the spelling of the words. Nothing, nothing burning more to your movie than a serious error.
Don’t even think about start without any work to show. Go to the computer and create a website about any subject that you like – exercise all of its capacity, abuse of the new tools, test new concepts. It is the time when you are free, without depend on the opinion of who is paying you to work, and showing all that you are able to do. Nothing more amateur what they find in the portfolio a message “coming soon: my jobs”.
And if you still don’t have a lot of work to show, don’t even think about in make volume filling your site texts. No one has the patience to read, and the client is not concerned with your methodology work or with that portion of your booklet of the prep that says that “the Internet is an expanding market bla bla bla”. And never, ever, under any circumstances say that your price is lower, for any reason that pass through your head. This sounds “I’m desperate, so the top of everything.”
If you want to list your skills in programs and features of the area, mount a mini-curriculum. Thus, this information you will be directed to a possible recipient, while the user common and potential customer does not receive information unnecessary (if he wants to know of your skills, you know where to find them). But do not forget that the Windows, Office and the Internet you have the obligation to know, not it is no merit.
And when the despair for lack of work hits, we will have quit making sites for free, just to exercise and have the that show, is not the same? No, it is not. Accept a web site for a price much below the market is wrong – many beginners have done this without worrying about the consequences what this brings to the career. If you want a client and it does not can you pay, make a swap: you build a website and it gives you five lessons in self-school, four dinners in the restaurant or what you can offer. It is much more ethical and beneficial for the two sides.
On the other hand, there are non-profit institutions who would love to count on a volunteer to build your site. Search the entity closer to you and give your job – if is to work for free, that is for a noble cause.
If all your sites should work in all resolutions of the screen, as I said earlier, imagine your portfolio! A”choose your resolution” logo on the face of the site shows that you have no flexibility; some people do not even know what that means! It is you who has that adapt to the user’s computer, and not the other way around. The same goes for the amount of colors on the screen, browser or operating system.
When speaking of the browser, a lot of people think that if 95% of people who access a site use Internet Explorer, is to this majority that the site should work. This is a big mistake – and in the middle of the other 5% is just that person who enters your portfolio wanting you to hire? If the your website does not work, you missed your chance. So, test all of your sites at least in the popular browsers in various resolutions, operating systems and processors different. To avoid unpleasant surprises.
How to enter the job market and how much to charge
One of the big questions for anyone who is hired to develop a web site is how much to charge for the work. Some professionals usually set a price per page, but today in the day this calculation method is falling into disuse.
The easiest way is to calculate how much time you do you think it will take to assemble the site. To do this, of course, you you should have developed some web sites, whether in the course who did or learning by yourself with tutorials – if you have not yet developed at least a half-dozen full-service web sites, you are probably still do not have sufficient knowledge to charge for that.
Calculated the approximate time, to stipulate for a price this time. For example, if you think that in five days working-four hours per day the work will be done, as these twenty hours of your time worth? Of course, the less experience you have, the less you will charge and the more experience you have, the faster will develop a website, but it will make it better.
And beware of the extremes – don’t go overboard on price, you is still starting out, but also does not cover any “troquinho” only to get the client: this practice is wrong, and later I’ll explain why.
Hardly anyone will tell you how much to charge for your site, for your client, because no one can determine your level of knowledge, their facility to develop a project. You are the one who can best determine how much is your work and your time.
But the life of a freelancer is not only glamour, as it seems. It is necessary to consider the advantages and also the disadvantages that a professional of this type can have.
Another way of entering the labour market, which is without a doubt no will bring much more benefits for those who are in the beginning of his career, is the internship in an agency or producer sites.
You will mingle with professionals, learn about how the area it really works, and learn tips and tricks that only the daily life will teach you.
Even if you are still studying, you’ll be able to reconcile the studies and internship, part-time. If in the newspaper of his city there is not much option, make a curriculum fancy and send it to the employment agencies of the region. But beware: unless the attachment is a requirement of the company, always send your resume in the body of the e-mail!
In some agencies you can do the registration by means of the Internet, which ensures that your resume will be in the database for at least 6 months. You can also use job-posting sites, where you can search for vacancies and offer your resume (and some are free).
Or, you can search in Google and in Twitter, for example, the agencies and producers near you and see if they have a registration own curricula. Note, however, some companies do not have this registration because they do not like to receive resumes by e-mail or because we only hire staff through agencies of employment, so be careful to not be inconvenient – in this case it is better not to send your resume, or send an email before asking if we could do it.