Designing the Future
A new Web Design certificate can help
launch a career in this booming field.
In a very real way, web designers play a leading role
shaping our future — or at least the way we perceive
and interact with it. With the Internet and connected
devices evolving at a rapid pace, our lives are
increasingly intertwined with apps and websites, in
ways we couldn't imagine just 10 years ago.
Actually, there isn't much we can't do with smartphones
and computers these days. And with systems
like artificial intelligence and virtual reality poised to
radically transform our online experience, the market
for web designers is positively booming, said Carol
Greenberg, instructor for the newly refreshed Web
Design certificate program.
“The demand for web designers is very high,” she said.
“It's a hot market right now and it's only going to get
hotter. So many people are using multiple devices
throughout the day, in a number of ways, and
they're becoming increasingly sophisticated
about their user experience. It's all creating a
need for more skilled and knowledgeable
But mastering the technology is only part of it, she said.
Creating a good user experience is based on brain
research and human behavior studies, some of it from
the ‘50s and ’60s.
That's the basis for Greenberg's UX Design course, part
of the redeveloped Web Design program that split
off from the previous Web Design and Development
incarnation. The new program is streamlined with an
emphasis on creating advanced interfaces to enhance
the user experience (UX), a basis for effective web
Perhaps surprisingly, this brave new world is rooted in
principles from decades past. Advanced technology
is simply a new toolbox to implement them.
“What we call UX was once called Human Factor
before the days of computers,” said Greenberg,
principal and owner of the UX Incubator, a Long Beach-based
consulting firm. “It's based on extensive research
on how people see and interact with the world. And it
can be the key to designing a successful website or
Clicking on a new career
DCE's Web Design certificate program
is structured to give participants
a solid background
in basic theory, learning
how to design the look, layout and organization of websites, followed by
hands-on projects using state-of-the-art software, led
by experienced professionals.
Intended for beginners as well as more experienced
professionals, the program is a perfect fit for graphic
designers, multimedia designers, and marketing
professionals — anyone who wants to master web
design and enter this flourishing field.
Consider that more than 130,000 web designers are
working in the U.S. with projected growth of nearly 25%
through 2027. And the median annual salary is nearly
$65,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor
The Web Design certificate program can open the
door to this exciting and wide-ranging career by giving
participants a solid background in all aspects of design
and UX theory, finishing with a professional portfolio
they can use as a calling card to potential employers.
“It's absolutely essential to develop a good portfolio,”
Greenberg said. “That's what my students focus on for
the final four weeks of my course. The first four weeks
are all about basic theory, and the rest of the course
is project based, dedicated to developing a good
portfolio that shows off a person's best work.”
Web design covers a range of tech careers, including
game design, multimedia, applications development,
and SEO specialization. Demand for UX designers and
analysts has been especially high lately, Greenberg said.
“There are lots of UX design jobs available. IBM recently
invested $100 million in UX design, and now lots of other
companies, large and small, are following suit. Some of
them aren't sure what it is, but they know it's becoming
more important and they need to have it.”
Psychology meets technology
Effective web design is more layered and psychology based
than most people think, Greenberg added.
Learning graphic design skills, creating attractive layouts
and easy-to-understand interfaces are certainly key
components. But it takes a superior user experience to
keep eyes focused on the site.
That's where UX psychology comes in, a timeless
concept that's more essential than ever in today's
“Users now have multiple devices, and they are
becoming so much more sophisticated,” Greenberg
said. “You need to engage them immediately. Research
has shown that it now takes users an average of one tenth
of a second to decide whether to stay on a site.”
Cognitive research — how eyes perceive shapes and
colors — plays a significant role in UX and web design,
she said. “Let's say there are two bar charts on a dashboard,
and one is a pastel color and the other has
bright colors like yellow and green. Research shows
that a person's eyes will automatically gravitate to the
Consistency in design is another basic principle from the
past, keeping everything looking the same from page
to page. So is system status visibility, letting the user know
that a process is at work, like when a spinning wheel tells
you a page is loading. That way you know something is
Modern technology has led to more recent behavioral
research. For instance, eye-tracking technology has
shown that people almost invariably view a website
from the upper left corner down to lower right,
Greenberg said. So it's essential to place the most
important content in the upper left field.
“There are even elements of storytelling that come into
play when you're designing an effective website,” she
added. “The content needs to spell out the ‘who, what,
when, where and why’ of the website in order to keep
the user engaged. It's somewhat similar to journalism
A career in web design can be a creative and fulfilling
journey, one that continues to evolve at a breakneck
pace. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and voice interface
systems like Amazon's Alexa are just a few
of the nascent revolutions poised to reshape the face
of web design.
It's an exciting time to be a web designer, and the
future is brighter than ever.
“I would say that web design can definitely be
fascinating and surprisingly multi-layered, and the
marketplace is booming right now,” Greenberg said.
“But most of all, it's really fun!”
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