Network: Web Design the Web Requires Those Who Create for It to Think beyond the Edge of the Page

By Teague, Jason Cranford | The Independent (London, England), March 31, 1998 | Go to article overview
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Network: Web Design the Web Requires Those Who Create for It to Think beyond the Edge of the Page


Teague, Jason Cranford, The Independent (London, England)


Today I want to talk about a pressing issue for Web designers everywhere: how to get a job doing this stuff. Despise it or not, we all have to make a living, and the Web is increasingly being used to do just that. If you are coming to Web design with an amateur's zeal, just finished your degree in design, or have been in the business for years, working on the Web presents challenges not found in any other field.

We are used to seeing design on the static surface of paper, but the Web requires those who create for it to think beyond the edge of the page. You have to know how to construct a synergistic design that brings the information to the visitor with minimal fuss and download time. Sometimes, if you already have experience in design, this means unlearning tried and tested methods used in other media.

The Web has generated a new hypertextual medium. However, it is still being developed, and there are often no cut and dried answers to our design problems. This is hard for many people outside the field, especially in the business world, to grasp. They want a website that works anywhere, at any time, and knock the socks off anyone who glances at it. It does not help that often the people hiring and supervising these Web designers really do not get the Web. More than likely, managers will come from fields outside of the Web (print, TV, CD- Rom) and their expectations are based around the abilities of older media. There is plenty of work in the field but, ironically, many employers want to see "job experience". I've even seen job ads looking for "10 years' Web experience" - obviously written by somebody without a clue about the Web, which has been in existence for about six years in total. If you are new to the field, you need to build a portfolio of Web work any way you can. Start by creating your own self-promotional website, and take on pro-bono work for small organisations such as schools and charities. They'll be happy for the support, and you get the practice. So, how do you get a job as a Web designer?

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