Case Study: Website Designer - Siena

What do you do?

I create and organise information visually using the internet as a medium. I do web designs for corporate and pharmaceutical clients and oversee production artists who execute the graphics.

Mostly, I supervise freelancers and work as part of a team of programmers, account executives and project managers by filling the role of art director.

What is your background?

I've got a degree in graphic design. I've worked as an animator and designer for broadcast post-production. I also have experience in print and multimedia.

I was attracted to web design because it allows me to be mobile. I can bring my computer home with me and work from there, which is great for my family life.

I got into the field because the company I worked for started up a website division and they picked me to take care of the design. I learned the medium and here I am - I've been doing it for three years.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?

It's important to be creative and to be able to come up with many solutions to visual and layout problems.

People in this field need to have questioning or curious natures. We have to be able to ask probing questions of our clients in order to determine exactly what they expect from their websites.

It's also important to be practical and pay close attention to detail. Because client contact is so important, designers should be able to communicate well.

What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?

Website designers can move into project management, multimedia design, programming or art direction.

What changes will there be in the future?

I think that the need for web designers will increase, although multimedia technology will also continue to advance, so some of the skills we need will be different in the future.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

Interpreting the client's needs and transforming them into a visual medium is challenging. It's also difficult to work within the restraints of the web.

Are there many opportunities to enter this career?

Be a good designer first; then take computer classes specifically oriented toward web design and HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language). Try getting an assistant's job doing production work for a company that does web design.

Make sure you have many examples of your work before trying to find a job. Call businesses and show people your portfolio. Also, search the internet for job placements.

What do you like about your job?

There's a lot of flexibility in my job. I could use email for approvals or use the phone so I don't have to have clients in my room all the time.

I also love the creative freedom that I get from setting different visual tones for different clients. One day I'll be animating, the next I'll be using illustration or typography.

The other thing that I like is working with a team. I get a lot of ideas from the programmers I work with, as well as other designers in my office.

What do you dislike about your job?

Sometimes, I find working to very strict deadlines stressful. There can be a lot of pressure in this job. Clients often have very high expectations - it's so important not to let them down.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

Be a good designer first. Then apply what you know to the web.

A day in the life

8:30 am - 9:00 am

Checking voice mail and email, organising the day.

9:00 am - 10:00 am

Attending a team meeting to discuss various jobs and the production stage they are in, contributing information on art design for a company 'pitch', discussing clients' needs.

10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Working on web design for a business technology company: working on layout of interface (main graphics of website including buttons and navigation), deciding on typography, textures and illustrations.

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Eating lunch.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Meeting with a client on a new job, explaining services and discussing their needs, talking to the project manager and account executive about details.

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Taking a client call, adding information to websites and changing the interface according to the client's requests.

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