The number of specialties in the web design business is expanding as more elaborate features are added to web pages, features that require varying types of expertise. It’s a burgeoning field, clearly; web pages for businesses have gone from being an interesting and optional addition just a few years ago to a necessity today. The entire retail business model is undergoing a tectonic shift as the result of web-based product sales. Service businesses use web pages to solicit business, and corporations use them as public relations and investor relations tools. As a result, new careers are emerging.
Most of the web design specialties today require some formal training. You can select from a number of degree programs, depending upon your area of interest and your innate talents. The permutations of web site use have occurred rapidly and continue to do so. Businesses that use their web site as a marketing tool are suddenly confronted with the methods that have been contrived to use the social networks as outreach tools. Many retail sites are developing more elaborate product displays. Finally, many businesses see the need to upgrade their sites as competitors put up more attractive and livelier web pages of their own.
Here is a list of academic choices that can lead to a career in web design.
Animation. Multimedia art and animation are often used interchangeably. In fact, animation is closer to the development of video-type presentations. An animator may be called on to develop characters or product drawings, and then put them in motion using a computer animation program. Video presentations are at the top of the list for quality web site features, provided they fit into the flow of the site properly.
Graphic Design. This degree is often the choice of people who have been drawing since childhood. Their services in web design are essential to, among other things, client relations. Web designers prepare storyboards for client presentations that are critical to the planning phase. Often a graphic designer may be called on to put storyboards or web page outlines into slide show format.
Web Design and Development. This is usually a bachelor’s degree program, and with good reason. Web developers today must learn the skills required to assemble a web page that combines images, copy and multimedia in an attractive and compelling fashion. That means becoming acquainted with several computer applications, and languages, including Java, Flash and other programs used for media manipulation. In addition, a degree in web design and development will address the real costs associated with the business.
Information Systems Web Development. This degree will give you expertise in a specific area of internet use: the management, security and interface with database systems. Many businesses today base their customer relations management (CRM) on computer programs that record every interaction with a customer and information on that customer’s preferences. How this information is managed is critical; and management includes its distribution across the company intranet and through its web portal. It’s an important job that incorporates software management, network design and web access control.
Visual Communication or Digital Design. These degrees look at web development from the perspective of its use as a visual tool. What is seen on the screen dictates how viewers react. There are guidelines for the fundamentals to this approach and a large body of research and literature on the topic of visual communication – which, in the case of the internet, is in digital format. It’s an excellent technical degree that provides a broad perspective on website usage and design.