A Day In The Life... Of A Web Designer
The web design industry is ever changing and there are a variety of jobs available depending on the career path you want to go down. We have conducted an interview with web agency NetConstruct to provide you with some insight of what it’s like to work in web design.
Name: Darren Navier
Role: Head of UX and Creative at NetConstruct
Time at the company/time in current role: 18 months
University and degree: 1st class honours, Electronic Instructional Media at Staffordshire University
1. Describe a typical day in the office.
The first thing that I do is wake up and check my emails to see if anything needs addressing. Sorting this out early in the day means that others can get on with what they need to do before I get in.
I arrive into the office at 9am, when I will check on any “small job” that need addressing – both my own, and the rest of the team’s, to check that everyone has what they need to get these smaller tasks dealt with quickly.
At around 9:30am we hold our daily “stand-up” session, which looks at our key projects and accounts. This involves the team standing up in a meeting room to efficiently discuss the following – what is the status of the team’s work, what is next, how are we doing and what we could do to help.
As these “stand up” sessions are usually quite concise and efficient, and so by around 10am I am usually into my scheduled working. Normally this might involve planning user-centred research or usability tests, undertaking expert evaluation of present sites, or looking at outputs of client and stakeholder workshops to try and extract those killer insights.
When I break for lunch, normally it will mean quickly going home and seeing if our new rescue dog has destroyed the house – or a spot of table tennis in the company league.
In the afternoon, I look to catch up with the team briefly on how their morning has gone. Often then it involves catching up with the new biz team to see how we can creatively support any new leads that are on the horizon.
In addition, the rest of my day might look at design conformance testing of any work presently in development, or even working with operations to look at how we can make our processes and output even better.
2. What are the most rewarding parts of the job?
For me, the most rewarding aspect is when we can make sure that the team get a chance to get their teeth into something that they excel at, and so can really show their value.
3. What are the most challenging parts of the job?
It can be quite challenging when we are working with clients who still don’t get that design is not just visual – and that it is the whole development process.
4. What key attributes make for a good web designer?
The design discipline for online is now huge – you physically can’t do it all. I would advise that people specialise in areas that are particularly of interest, where they can excel and become an expert in that niche, instead of trying to be a ‘jack of all trades’.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in following a similar career path?
As a first job, I would recommend that young hopefuls look to get into a company that allows you to fail. You will only learn from your mistakes, and a company that allows you to fail will inevitably add more to your learning and development than one that does not. Trial and error can be an effective way to learn and improve, but does mean failing at some stage.
6. Is there anything you wish you had done differently when trying to enter the industry?
Nothing at all. I was lucky enough to enter the industry when it was still embryonic, both academically and professionally – we were all learning. My first Creative Directors were looking for people who would challenge and try different things, and I always try to be the same.
7. How did your degree prepare you for your role?
I was on the UK’s first interactive media course (Electronic Instructional Media), and I would say that I am one of very few people who have done a university degree that directly maps to a career. The course itself was pretty commercial – something that a lot of design/creative degrees today are somewhat lacking.
8. When it comes to web design, where do you get your inspiration from?
My biggest inspiration comes from people and their frustrations. Design isn’t the image – it’s the whole piece – and we design services that help people and help businesses. This can be incremental, one user journey redesigned at a time.
9. What tools could you not do your job without?
I like to use tangible tools, such as an iPad, Sharpies, fibre pens and Post its, and so because of this I could probably do most of my job without the Adobe Suite altogether.
10. Do you have any exciting work in the pipeline over the next few months?
Not wanting to give too much information away, but we are working with an organisation which can easily claim to be at the very centre of our planet and its awareness of itself… That can be nothing but cool, and is very exciting for us at NetConstruct.