Web Designer Job Description

Web Designer Job Description

Years ago if you were a web designer that meant that you knew how to arrange a page in HTML, change colors, and work on a little bit of javascript. With such modern advances with html5, jQuery, and AngularJS, the frontend of web development needs people who are better skilled at user interface logic and can architect massive projects. Although a company may have a specific stack or set of libraries for their front end logic, there are some skills that a good web designer needs to have and companies should look for individuals with these qualities. The web designer job description is slightly different than a typical software engineer because the web designer generally has to live within the constraints of a web browser. This does not make solving problems easier. In fact because each browser behaves differently this job can be seemingly more complex.

GOOD Web Designer Description

  • UNDERSTANDS NUANCES BETWEEN BROWSERS: This is where experience really counts. Each browser has its own javascript and css interpreters and this causes code to have to be written conditionally for each browser. With html5 and most new versions of browsers this has become more unified, but Internet Explorer for example is notorious for not even being backwards compatible with itself version to version.
  • UTILIZES HTML5: HTML5 has eliminated a lot of legacy design patterns. Nobody orders a webpage by tables and rows anymore, instead it is done with divs and appropriate css in order to better accommodate the vast differences in users
  • APPROPRIATELY ABSTRACTS CSS: There are many tools out there that help with css abstraction such as compass-style or sass. While these tools are useful, being able to just know various css properties and how to abstract classes is vital. Abstraction in css will make a web site easier to maintain and update to a newer look in the future.
  • CAN CODE PROFICIENTLY IN JAVASCRIPT: Several years ago javascript was viewed as awful and people were encouraged to turn off javascript in their browsers. Today most webpages use javascript in some form or another. One of the biggest benefits of using javascript is a user will download the page to their browser and all the computations happen on the individuals computer rather than the server. The only requests then go to the server to retrieve data or documents.
  • UNDERSTANDS ASYNCHRONOUS PROGRAMMING: This is probably one of the most important parts of a good web designer. Knowing javascript is good, but the requests are asynchronous. Normal programming paradigms fall apart here. A prime example is making http requests in javascript. A good web developer knows what a promise is and how to use callback functions to process multiple http requests that are dependent on happing in order.
  • KNOWS REST CONTRACTS: Projects that have large data or large number of users often abstract logic into front end and backend code. The front end logic will request data or documents from the server, and the server will query for them and return them in the form of json, xml, or other various serialized forms. Being able to know how to send requests and process response bodies is vital for a web designer. This also means knowing how to handle form submissions and normalizing data from a user that is acceptable to a server.
  • ABSTRACTS FRONT END CODE: Abstraction is a reoccurring theme in most software. User interface code is no exception. Angular has a good example of having a standard MVC (Model View Controller) style of abstraction. Each class or object has a purpose and it makes maintaining code much easier.
  • CAN SEARCH GOOGLE: Knowing what to search for is valuable. Sometimes websites have very weird errors that are not very explicit. Looking at a javascript stack trace may show where a line broke in some library, but not what line in your code broke it. Knowing what to search for to solve problems only comes with experience. The more projects a web designer has worked on the more exposure to the various problems that will occur will be more familiar.

BAD Web Designer Description

  • WEB DESIGNER IS NOT A UX DESIGNER: While having a web designer that can make a page look good, it is not his or her job to necessarily design all the functionality, layout of the page, or pick a color scheme. Web designers that freelance generally will do this, but when you start getting involved in a production software team having a UX designer to help facilitate colors and what layouts will attract users is different than the actual implementation of the user interface.
  • FALLS BEHIND WITH TECHNOLOGY: As this is true of any computer career, having a web designer that does not know how to make a webpage viewable by screens of different sizes, including mobile devices, can drastically impact the amount of visibility a website will receive. Google now calculates a website’s ranking in their search engine by being easily viewable through mobile devices.
  • LACKS SCALABILITY: Any person can write an html page and make several static html pages. When you start working on large projects making plain html pages does not scale well or fast. For example – if you make a recipe site, entering all the data as html is tedious and doesn’t promote involvement from other people.


As with most things in life you pay for what you get. If you want to offshore website development or find some high school free lancers, you can get a project started. If you need something that has a lot more involvement, such as producing graphs or using a html5 canvas, finding someone with more experience and a better sense of software abstraction and development will help make your project more successful, scalable, and generally better for the users that will interface with it.

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