‘So, you’re a web designer….’

In my last post I wrote about my journey to feel like a legitimate web designer using Wordpress as my platform. Someone close to me then asked about non-technical skills. What are the non-technical skills that contribute to being a successful web designer?

I have given it some thought and here they are. My top 4 non-technical skills:

1. Communication

The first thing I want to do with all of my clients is to meet in a casual setting and have a chat over a cup of coffee. I love hearing the passion my clients have for their businesses and what their vision is. I listen, take notes and my mind starts ticking over. While a website is not my clients core business it is an important and sometimes essential extension of what they do and want to achieve. Getting a feel about my clients business helps me understand what they need out of their website. Once the project starts my preference is to continue to be in regular communication with my client, usually electronically. I want to know where they are at and receive feedback along the way. It is crucial in ensuring that we are on the same page.

2. Openness and Honesty

This brings me to the second skill set. I am very honest and open about what I can offer my clients and what I can’t. This includes my experience and the skills that I am continuing to develop. The last thing I want to do is to engage with a client whose requirements are beyond my ability. If I feel that I am not the right person for the project I am upfront about it. I would rather bring an end to a working relationship before it begins than attempt an impossible task, only to lose sleep over it. I don’t want that for myself and I certainly don’t wish that for my clients.

3. Creativity

While I have never considered myself creative in an ‘arty’ way I have discovered that I am very creative when working within a structure. I love the technical constraints that I have to work within and I also enjoy testing the boundaries of what can be achieved with a little bit of CSS coding. Working out the best way to format content and images is paramount to my work. I find that a logical thought process helps when working out the structure of a site. It is definitely possible to achieve a site that is both creative and stylish, as well as easy to navigate.

4. Having thick skin

This might sound like a funny skill to mention. Stay with me though. I adore the work I am doing. Are all the sites I have created to my personal taste? No – they are not. I am not saying that I don’t have pride in those sites. I do – incredible pride and satisfaction. While it might not have been what I would have chosen, it is what my client choose and after all, it is their business and their site. I encourage feedback and in doing so I know that I can’t take that feedback personally. As far as my personal taste goes – well – I have my own website for that!