Friday, July 4, 2008

8 Web Design Mistakes That Developers Make

Now I understand that a programmer may never need to know anything about design (or for that matter, a designer doesn't ever need to program). But the truth is, every programmer has personal projects, frugal clients, or management roles that require design. Furthermore, I can say that often, a freelancer's greatest asset in pitching potential clients is their keen understanding of the entire website building process. So coming from someone who studied as a developer but now also does design (or at least attempts to), here are 8 mistakes I've either heard or made myself.

"I Know What Looks Good (and I Have Photoshop)"
It's one thing to be a bad designer. It's a far worse matter to be a bad designer and think that you're good. Every good designer has a well-calibrated "design compass" that comes from constantly looking at good designs. You need to spend time looking at great designs from sites like TheFWA, FaveUp, Design is Kinky, and my personal favorite, the Behance Network. You might also want to pick up the occasional design magazine like HOW or print (note that both are U.S. magazines and may be more expensive internationally). Just as good programmers enjoy looking at (and usually critiquing) other people's code, a good designer is always scanning other people's work, whether it be a website or billboard or menu. Without a good "design compass," no amount of Photoshop filters will save you.

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