My Breakthrough: (Comfortably) Designing for the Web

By Friday February 21st, 2014

“I’d say the greatest improvement I’ve made over the last year is becoming more comfortable designing for the web. I try to consider the user as much as possible throughout the design process.” - Hannah Volz, Designer

BRO_MyBreakthrough-icon-DesignerBreakthroughs From a Digital Agency (a Series)
We have a small, close-knit team here at Brolik. We’ve experienced solid growth year over year since our inception in 2004, but 2013 felt different from the rest. The company celebrates 10 years in business on January 14th, 2014. But, it’s not just this milestone we’re celebrating… this year the company reached a level of maturity that we can be proud of. As a small agency, cash flow challenges, production bottlenecks, inefficient processes and peaks and valleys in new business are common. This year our talent, experience and execution aligned better than ever before. To put a cap on the year, and to put this somewhat vague concept of “maturity” into more tangible terms, each of our team members will present their personal breakthroughs over the last year. In the process, we hope you’ll get to know the people who make up Brolik a little better.

It’s been almost two years since I joined the Brolik team, and the time spent here thus far has been a learning experience for me in a number of ways.

For one thing, I no longer look at coding as something only robots (and Kyle Jasso) could understand. The production team at Brolik has been instrumental in the development of my coding skills, and knowing what is possible with code influences the decisions I make while designing a site. I no longer allow the constraints of a foreign-to-me coding language to deter me from designing a site how I want. I know that another member of the production team can handle the heavy lifting and more technical code that is beyond my knowledge.

This has freed me up to get a better grasp of designing for the web. While I have been designing websites for some time now, I feel as though I’ve made significant improvements in my process and the way I approach new web projects within the last year. A better understanding of how coding works is definitely helpful, but it isn’t the only factor that weighs in.

Designing a layout for print and a layout for the web are two very different things. The web design classes I had taken during school taught me about divs and styling classes. They laid the foundation of the language. But, they didn’t help me understand how to actually design for the web, instead of just slapping pieces of a print layout into a web browser. It takes some time to figure out not only how these layouts should be structured, but also the details that make each experience seamless and enjoyable for users.

As our CCO, Drew Thomas, said in a blog post a few years ago– the web is not print. It takes some time to understand the structural and more detailed differences that make for a better web experience. I’m glad to have a better understanding of these differences and will continue to develop these skills in the coming year.

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About the Author

Hannah is a designer at Brolik Productions. In addition to designing for the web, she has experience with branding, traditional print design, and package design. When she isn't scouring design blogs, Hannah likes exploring new places around Philadelphia and coming up with weird nicknames for her cat.