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What Does a Web Designer Need to Know

By | First Published: | Last Updated: 18 November, 2023

Are you thinking of becoming a web designer but wondering what does a web designer need to know?

I’ve been designing websites for 15 years, and in my experience, there are many things you should know. But in this article, I’ll share 7 things you must know.

#1 Your Client’s Expectations

The easiest path to an unsatisfied client is to misunderstand what they want their website to look like. Ask them for examples of websites they like, and then ask them why they like those websites.

Also, ask them for an example of a website they don’t like and why.

#2 The Importance of Communication

Systematically keeping in touch with your clients is a must. Let them know what you have done and what you intend to do next. Also, ask them for feedback along the way.

Communication skills are critical for a web designer.

#3 Your Chosen CMSs

CMS stands for Content Management System. As the name suggests, a CMS makes it easier to manage content (words, media, pages, posts, products etc.) on a website.

I’ve chosen to specialize in WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS. But you could specialize in Wix, Shopify, Joomla, Drupal, or any combination of these.

Yet, before accepting clients, make sure you know your chosen CMS backwards.

#4 Visual Design Principles

Web design is an extension of visual design, so you need to have a good understanding of visual design principles.

Some key principles include the use of whitespace, visual hierarchy, colour theory, and grid-based layouts. At a nuts-and-bolts level, you need to make wise choices about fonts, colours, images and layouts.

Related: 14 Effective Website Design Principles

#5 UX or User Experience

An effective web design helps site visitors achieve their goals quickly and easily. This is known as a good  UX or user experience.

As a web designer, you need to understand why people would visit the website you are designing and then arrange it in ways that nurture a good UX.


HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is the coding language used to markup web pages. It does this by describing different elements. Example elements include paragraphs, headings, links, images and classes.

#7 CSS

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. It is a coding language used to style various HTML elements consistently. For example, you use CSS to specify the font, font size and font colour of paragraph text.

CSS is the main language web designers use to develop the look and feel of a website. However, as you will use CSS to style HTML elements, you need to have some understanding of HTML to use it.

What Does a Web Designer Need to Know In a Nutshell

In my experience, as a web designer, you must know:

  1. Your client’s expectations
  2. The importance of communication
  3. Your chosen CMSs
  4. Visual design principles
  5. About UX within web design
  6. HTML
  7. CSS

Drop me an email if you have an opinion you would like to share.

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Shaun Killian (me) is a small business owner, who is passionate about helping other small businesses succeed. He has been working with website design since 2008. He is also an expert in digital marketing, including SEO, content marketing and email marketing. In a former life, Shaun was a school teacher and principal before a heart transplant and bilateral leg amputation led him in other directions.