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what is the Designing

Designing for the web is different than designing for any other medium. The breadth of skills required is sometimes daunting. The depth of experience required, seemingly unobtainable. Yet, the medium attracts designers from all spheres of design practice: from engineering and architecture to product and graphic design. Graphic Design provides a snapshot of the current state of the medium and our role as practitioners working within it. I regularly receive emails from students and budding designers asking for my opinions and advice on how they can get started in this industry.' How can I get my first job?', 'What skills do you think I need to land my dream job?', 'If I want to be a web designer, what should I study at school?'. Where do you start? Maybe you're a developer who needs to improve the quality of your design. Maybe you're a print designer who wants a change. Firstly, before making a decision on what course to attend in school, or what software package you need to learn, I believe you need a solid grasp of what the web is today,


where it came from and where it might be heading. Any medium can be defined by its constraints. These constraints affect how a designer is able to work within the medium. To push the boundaries, you need to know where the edges are. When I started designing for the web I was attracted by the immediacy of the medium. I was a print designer at the time, so this meant I was constrained by print run lead times and the finality of print. Once a job is printed, then that's it, it's printed, finalized, and in the world. With the web, I was able to change things. What followed was a tidal wave of creative professionals entering the online industry. From writers to graphic designers, we all found the new medium liberating and exciting. The mistake we all made was trying to make the web what it wasn't. We tried imposing other media conventions on technology that it wasn't designed for. A small example of this is HTML tables. HTML data tables are supposed to be for tabular data but, with their cells, rows, and columns, they spoke the same visual language of graphic designers who had been using Quark XPress for all those years. They were grids. Before you knew it, every site was made from nested tables and spacer gifs.

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