7 ways web design is different than graphic design

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5. Web designers are ongoing caregivers

‍Burton Snowboards uses a drop-down menu designed to expand with new products.

A website is a living thing that goes through continual changes — it’s never really done. Calls to action and content may be rewritten as a brand’s identity changes, products will be added to ecommerce sites, and navigation may be updated to increase conversions. When a graphic designer signs off on a proof, that’s usually the end of that project. But a web designer’s work is never done.

Much like a city planner, web designers need to forecast how a website might grow and allocate space to accommodate changes. And they need to keep in mind that people without web design skills might be the ones making future edits.

While a graphic designer focuses on creativity, a web designer is concerned with how all parts of a design function together as a system.

Graphic designers are all about artistry. This beautiful set of avatars by Ryan Putnam made for Comcast are creative and detailed.

6. Web designers have an ongoing relationship with an audience

Websites are all about traffic and repeat visits. They’re a product consumed by an audience. If something’s wonky, someone is sure to notice — and speak up about it.

When things aren’t working the way they should, or when users hate a design, web designers hear about it! The internet is a superhighway for opinions and feedback. Just read the comments on any news article. Actually, scratch that. Save your sanity.

Take a billboard for example: sure, the tagline might be lazy and the color scheme wacky, but it’s not like word nerds and design geeks are calling the agency in charge to complain. (Well, usually.)

Web designers can also get feedback about the success and failures of their design through Google Analytics. Part of a web designer’s job is to look at the analytics and think about actions they can take to improve the numbers. Bounce rates, keyword referrals, and popular content are just some of the data a web designer can use to figure out what’s working and what isn’t.

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