The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that web designer jobs will increase at an annual rate of 20% through 2022. That’s good news for you, if you’re a designer But there’s a big difference between being a mediocre designer and being a great designer. Here are some of the traits that all great designers embody:
1. They are Courageous
On the eve of battle, Robert E. Lee often encouraged his soldiers by saying, “Courage is the fulcrum; there is no success without it.” Veteran designers know that real creativity in effective design takes a willingness to expose themselves to hard challenges. Psychology Today magazine finds that courage can be learned. Aristotle called courage “the master virtue”. You can increase your courage by forcing yourself to take on challenges.
2. They are Hard-Working
Steve Krug wrote the book Don’t Make Me Think. In it he writes, “A great website should allow users to accomplish their goal as easily as possible. The zen feeling of a well designed site belies the hard work that led to this moment.” James Mowery is the CEO of ManageWP. He gives this advice about the trait of being a hard-worker: “There’s a difference between being creative and being hard-working. A creative person produces something good only occasionally; but a hard-worker always produces something good — because they don’t stop until they do!”
3. They are Solid Builders
Julien Raby, President of Combustible, a digital marketing and design agency, wrote a blog about the importance of building a site for keeps: “The old computer saying was ‘Garbage in, Garbage out’. Today it’s more like ‘Garbage website, Garbage sales.’ Provide a solid foundation of easy access and maneuverability and your customers will stick with you no matter what else you include.”
4. They are Empathetic
Empathy is a key business skill. And by the way — your goal to be a great designer doesn’t mean you forget about being a good business person. They go hand-in-hand. You have to know what your user wants. Studies show that customers make their decisions on an emotional level, not a rational one. You can’t sell your client, in-house or out, on a purely rational basis. Get into their head to see what it is they really want. Then give it to them through superior design service. If this doesn’t work, be sure to explain carefully why giving it to them won’t help, and have a solution on hand to show them you have given their situation serious, empathetic thought.
5. They are Empirical
The dictionary defines empirical as “based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.” In other words, the best designers can think like scientists. The whimsy of a designer’s creative spirit is not what customers are paying for. Hard quantitative and qualitative research must be done by the designer. Even Albert Einstein, the greatest theoretical physicist of them all, is quoted as saying, “It is research that leads to discovery, not genius.”
Rachel Cunliffe is a Custom WordPress designer. She claims, “Measured results should influence web design more than vague ideas. It’s the only way you as a designer can convince clients that what you propose will impact their ROI.”
6. They are Meticulous
An eye for detail is critical for effective UI and consistent UX design. There’s no need to go into the plethora of technical jargon used by designers for site interactions. Let Jerry Cao, a content strategist, sum it up: “Part of being meticulous means maintaining consistency. Grids, layout patterns, color palettes, editorial styles – these must all remain consistent across all the pages of a website, or else you risk users relearning functionalities.” And users would rather go elsewhere than relearn anything.
How is your attention to detail? Here’s a link to an online test that will give you an idea how much you may have to work on this personality trait.
7. They are Patient
How many questions does it take before you lose patience with a client or management? The correct answer is: There is no limit.
Preempt irritating questions about your design by thinking of them yourself, and then having the answers ready. Preparation leads to patience. And patience will keep your blood pressure lower.
8. They are Grounded
Web designers have to be dreamers, to a certain extent. That means they need frequent reality checks. It’s the only way to see if you are actually developing and improving the above personality traits. 55% of visitors will spend less than 15 seconds on your website, no matter how well it’s designed.
Can you handle that, and still go on to design great websites? If you have internalized these 8 traits, it’s pretty certain you can.
Featured photo credit: Stokpic.com via stokpic.com