I applaud you for your interest in wanting to learn how to become a web designer in Kenya. Website designing is not like it used to be ten years ago, and so is the role of becoming a web designer. It creates a lot of buzz in the technology industry right now, and who wants to be left out: of course, not you! A career in web design requires a lot of technical skill and creativity to create a pleasing user experience. Website design is becoming indispensable as it entails the way a website interacts with its users. As a website designer, you must ensure that the website can meet the user needs. These skills come in handy irrespective of whether the website is for your personal needs, business needs, or clients’ wants. You read that right; website designing is a career that can earn you a pretty good solid income, and whether a newbie or a professional, you ought to put in the effort to ace it. This article will provide a step-by-step guide that will help you understand the skills and knowledge to build a successful career as a web designer in Kenya.
Who is a Web Designer?
A web designer is a person who plans, creates and codes internet websites and web pages, of which they combine text with sounds, graphics and video clips. He or she is in charge of creating the design and layout of a website or web pages. Let us start from the basics; whether you are a newbie or you have interacted with web or design before, here is a simple and easy to understand definition for both terms individually. Web, which is short for a website, is a tool that identifies a company or brand. It conveys information that the business wants its clients to know about, like what they do and how they do it. A website can be built for different entities: an individual’s blog or brand, a business, or even a non-profit organization ought to have a website. Design entails creating and editing how the appearance of something looks like. This cuts across so many industries, but today we will look at it from the perspective of the web.
Essential Skills Needed By a Web Designer
Search engine optimization (SEO) – Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, refers to websites and web pages’ ranking on the search engine results.
User experience design (UX/UI) – User experience refers to the interaction a person has while on your website. It symbolizes the overall experience. Notably, this includes factors like the ease of navigation, understanding the language that has been used etc.
Speed optimization – Just like SEO, speed optimization helps a page’s ranks in search rankings. Speed optimization entails how fast the page loads. If the site results take forever to load, the audience leaves even before seeing what they wanted to see on that particular website.
Content optimization – This is the backbone of any website. If the content on the site does not have flow, it simply means your audience will not consume the content as intended. Meaning site owners have to organize their content so that their clientele can consume it quickly.
Call to Action Buttons – These are CTA’S that direct your users to what you want them to do once they are done consuming your content. For example, “buy now” is a clear CTA that urges your visitors to make a purchase.
Individuals in this career need to have people skills. These are those interpersonal and intrapersonal skills that you as a person should possess. As a website designer, you will interact with clients on a personal level. You, therefore, should have specific essential skills that will make your work easier. They include:
- Time management
- Emotional intelligence
- Team player attitude
Job Description or Duties
As a web designer in Kenya, your duties will include:
- Actualizing creative ideas with the clientele.
- Putting to test and improve the designs of the websites.
- Establishing websites and web pages’ design, theme, tone and style.
- Designing graphics for websites and ensuring that they are in line with the company/organization’s brand.
- Being knowledgeable on how to work with different content management systems.
- Creating sample pages, including colors and fonts.
- Presenting the website structure inclusive of all its functionalities and features.
Content Management Tools Every Web Designer Should Know About
Content management tools or website builder are software systems that provide website collaboration, authoring and administration tools designed to help site owners and designers create, edit and manage content without having to code it. Yes, you don’t need to have any coding or programming skills to succeed in this career. The primary CMS tools include WordPress, Drupal, Wix, Joomla, Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Shopify. Through these tools, you will be able to design a whole website.
Pick a Niche
After choosing which website builder works best for you, choose a niche that you are most comfortable with. This does not mean that whichever niche you choose is the one you will stick with till the end of time. No, that’s not it. This niche is the one you will work on as you build your website. Your website can’t be all blank without content. Picking a niche helps you target your audience. When you already have a persona audience in mind, you can create and curate content according to their needs. This enables you to save a lot of time that could have been wasted creating content all over the place. Niches are divided into two broad categories:
- Character niches – For example, fast, 3D, affordable, lightweight, mobile and animated choices.
- For example, industry niches are social media influencers, startups, bloggers, restaurants, dentists, artists, schools, hospitals, and financial institutions.
Industry niches can further be subdivided into niches that involve designing for Chinese restaurants. By so doing, you can stand out from the competition.
How to Build Your Brand as Web Designer
In connection to building your portfolio, you need to be aggressive and invest in your sale strategy. For example, take some time and research your neighborhood businesses in your industry niche. Check if they have any websites and suck out all the information you can from them. If they do not have a website, lucky you, you get a free pass to showcase your talent to them. After this, create for them a website and make sure to email this to them. Consider all the techniques you have learnt to make sure they see your impact on that revamped website. If they like it, sell it to them. This helps build your confidence and, most importantly, grows your client base.
Estimated Growth of Web Designer Careers
Websites are becoming a normal requirement for many companies. From large to midlevel and startups, every company invests in having a website for their products and services. Unlike before, websites are becoming a preferred media choice irrespective of your line of work. With this in mind, web designer roles are indispensable. This is because a website’s features, design and content need to be well aligned to ensure they realize the end goal. It is a starting career in the instructional technology industry and has full potential to blossom and manage high profile clientele. Another plus with this career is the fact that it is not becoming extinct any time soon. Web designing is here with us to stay.
Where to Get Work as a Web Designer
- Software Companies
- IT consultancies
- Specialist web design companies
- Any organization that uses computer systems
You can also find jobs and gigs on platforms like BomaLink. There you will find a list of jobs in web design that apply to as many as possible. If you are yet to qualify, you will get motivated by the numerous job openings.
Online Resources to Update Your Web Design Knowledge
As a web designer, education is part of you. You will need to equip yourself with new skills as often as possible. Technology changes each day, and as one who is in charge of creating a company’s visual performance online, you need to ensure you are up to date with the current market and design trends. Take online courses, watch tutorial videos, attend webinars and conferences to make sure you remain relevant. Becoming a web designer in Kenya entirely depends on your attitude and aptitude. Understanding the basics of this role will help you maximize your potential. As a designer, you could get a role in a traditional design set up or work as a freelance.
Interested in other careers? Learn more about how to become a realtor in Kenya.