Be it trendy interior or fashion design or dynamic web design, every career related to “design” is constantly evolving. As the parameters, trends, tools, and techniques evolve, the challenges that web designers face in their careers, do so as well.
A career in web design can be lucrative and even flexible sometimes, no doubt. Considering you are efficient, problem-solving, and more than that, creative. Regardless of how well-established or well-paid of a web designer you currently are, you must be on your toes every time to be market competitive.
Apart from being dynamically creative, as an accomplished web designer, you should cater to your client’s customers’ needs and preferences. You’d have probably read these as basics in your web design crash course, but it is easier said than done.
As a web designer, you’d face multiple challenges along the way. In this guide we will analyze in detail the obstacles and challenges you can face as a designer, guiding you to move past the barriers effectively.
Challenges Web Designers Face In Their Professional Career
In addition to the rising trends in web designing, a professional web design career presents its own set of challenges. You would constantly need to keep your stress and frustration under check that comes with the job. Constant stress about a project’s requirements, client demands, customers’ feedback, and overcoming strict deadlines, can drain your motivation and energy low.
There are five major challenges you need to address and look out for, to keep your stress level lower and your success rate high.
01. Unclear and Vague Instructions
Often in a meeting with the client or during a project briefing in a working environment, clients or bosses fail to communicate effectively with the designer. Clients, normally do not have any knowledge about web design or the metrics related to it, which leads to vague ideas about the task.
An unclear description of the task not only complicates your job as a designer but makes things equally harder for the client as well. As a web designer, you must get into your client’s mind to truly understand his vision, requirements, and expectations from the project.
Although you need to indulge creativity in your projects, there is one thing you should care about even more and that is client satisfaction. Healthy relationships with your client and boss are another thing that comes in handy in steering your professional web design career forward.
During your meeting with the client, prefer asking questions that illustrate their expectations about the job vividly. For instance, you should ask your client about their definition of an eye-catching website. Or you can ask them to list their top 5 websites and implore them about the top features they deem attractive in those web pages.
While these answers would help you analyze your clients’ preferences, they would also equip you with samples to go with and what graphic design tools you should opt for. Taking things a step further, you can also inquire about the things or features they dislike in a website. These instructions would give you an idea of what things to exclude while designing the website.
02. Shoestring Budgets
If you work as a freelance web designer, you’d know that clients with inadequate budgets are a common phenomenon. Most clients are looking to have a project done at a fraction of the cost it would actually take to complete it. This is why, every time you quote your price to the client, he/she would state it as exorbitantly high.
Therefore, whenever you try to determine the budget of your client, prefer offering them two or three packages to opt for. For instance, instead of stating your price, let’s say $3000, you should present your offer stating; which package seems reasonable according to your budget? $1000 – $2000, $2000 – $3000, $3000 – $4000.
This will enable your client to objectively describe their budget range allowing you to describe what services you offer in that price range. Once the project is done you can utilize advanced online invoicing software to get paid quickly and efficiently.
Nevertheless, there are cases where your client might even have a lower budget than your bottom quoted price. There’s no harm in rejecting the proposal right away but if you sense the client has the potential to stick with you for the long term, you should prefer accepting the project in wake of better returns in the future.
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03. Misleading Instructions
Before selling your skills and services on different platforms, make sure you have confidence in your knowledge and abilities. As a web designer, you have advanced knowledge about everything related to website design from coding to UX making you a professional in the field.
However, you will meet clients who claim they know more about the job than you do. They can showcase their basic knowledge by giving irrelevant suggestions that make no sense at all. For instance, if your client suggests you should use comic sans font for a professional website, there you have it – a red flag.
Even if you design a webpage based on what your client suggests, there is a high chance he/she would dislike it and ask for a revision. Therefore, put yourself first for everything design-related so you don’t have to keep making revisions.
Try educating your clients about what design would be appropriate for a particular niche and back it up with proof. Don’t forget to introduce them to a design size guide so they can make profound decisions regarding web design.
04. Unrealistic Deadlines
Website design takes time. From planning the layout to organizing content according to it, there’s a lot that goes into crafting a website design. While designers and informed clients know the drill, some clients do not know or recognize the effort used to design a website layout. They set unrealistically short deadlines one cannot fulfill without putting in sleepless nights.
Shorter deadlines put high stress on the mental level of the designer steering him/her close to burnout. Not to mention, there’s no guarantee if the project quality would be as good as required and may cause you downrating.
If you feel the deadline set by the client is too short to deliver quality work, make sure to tell them firsthand. Communicate your working style and the time it would take for each portion of the website to design. This will prevent your client from setting unrealistic expectations and deadlines for you and other designers in the future.
05. No Clear Directions For Goals
Most of the time when a client wants to have their website renovated, they don’t know what they are aiming for. While many want to adopt advanced models of SEO for better conversions others just want to redesign because the previous one looks outdated.
Although the clients who are looking for an upgrade want to present a refined foothold for their audience, they don’t have a clear vision. When you take up a website redesign project make sure to hold extensive meetings with the clients to understand their goals and expectations.
Do they want to apply advanced SEO techniques to acquire more traffic and in turn higher conversion rate? OR do they simply want an attractive-looking UX design? Ascertain everything beforehand because you don’t want complaints up your profile if the client hits rock bottom.
Obstacles Web Designers Must Avoid To Excel
As everyone says; there is no straight path to success. The same goes for web designing as well, especially if you want growth on a personal and professional level. Failing to attract new clients, falling behind in terms of skillset, or being stuck at a low pay rate are some of the hassles you’d need to tackle on your way out.
No doubt, watching others move past you in terms of skills and heftier rewards would certainly make you feel demotivated. Nevertheless, the ship hasn’t sunk yet. Once you make up your mind for improvement, here are a few things you should pay keen attention to.
01. Staying Stagnant
Web design is one of the fields actively hit by changing trends in art and design. Not just that, new advancing technologies are revolutionizing the infrastructure of web design. Although outdated web designing tools and techniques can be used for building a website, they cannot compete with the advanced versions when it comes to crafting a design.
No matter how skilled and experienced you have become on a particular design tool, don’t limit yourself to that. Be on the lookout for better and updated design software that gets the job done not only better but faster too. For instance, instead of working on CMS that has stopped getting newer updates, opt for the one that constantly introduces newer and more efficient versions.
Moreover, as a logo creator, you should look for software that can enhance your skillset. It is vital that you keep yourself open to learning and improvement allowing you to keep yourself updated with the evolving market trends.
02. Accepting Dull Projects
Taking on projects that require less effort, research, and skills with an appropriate pay rate may look like easy money. However, it can take a toll on your efficiency and design skills in the longer run. Because with less demanding and partly similar projects, you don’t have the chance to learn newer things to enhance your skillset keep your growth stagnant.
There’s no denying that getting paid enough to get the bills covered is okay. But wouldn’t it be better if you start earning multiple times the original amount besides money can be a great motivator too. Not to mention you can learn and develop new skills that pay better.
You should start by looking for projects outside your comfort zone, projects that require you to put in a little extra effort. It may look demanding at first but who cares? When you are being paid better amounts too.
03. Low Revenue Generation
Almost every other web designer who works full time or as a freelance, finds himself stuck at a pay rate. They don’t seem to get past the barrier no matter how hard they work or how many additional hours they put in. Well, the problem does not lie in their hard work, but the type of work they are doing.
If the projects you are taking appear boring or too easy for you, there is a chance you are in the wrong niche and you should try your luck elsewhere. In most cases, the work you find boring is offered by cheaper clients that don’t require you to put in much effort.
You should either start by raising your quotation for the projects you do or look for ones that pay an extra penny. Although raising the price would repel some of your existing clients, you will find ones that respect your work.
There might be a chance you land on some high-paying design work such as company logo design. That pays enough many for a project you’d otherwise make by doing multiple tasks.
Removing Obstacles In Your Web Design Career
Experiencing ups and downs is part of a career, and even more so if your career falls on the creative end of the spectrum. Whether it is your inefficiency that keeps you from increasing your worth or ineffective communication with the client that has kept your growth stagnant, there are ways you can overcome your shortcomings.
Part of success starts when you stop being okay with what you have and start striving for better. If you are finding your professional web design career growth at a standstill, analyze the obstacles that are keeping you held up. Once you figure out your barriers, it is time to start expanding your skillset and versatility.
As a web designer, be confident enough that you don’t sell yourself short next time around. Make effective communications with your clients, clear their doubts about your skills with proof, understand their goals and visions, and build long-lasting relationships with them.