The Novice Web Designer: How Do You Achieve Perfection?

Do you desire to create a clean crisp website with beautiful graphics and content people long for? Do you spend time tweaking a site down to every last detail seeking perfection in everything from the detail of a small button to the seo fundamentals that will help bring search traffic? Is this the holy grail of web design?

Some would say it is and they’d be right.

For the novice web designer starting out with a niche topic, is it feasible to attain all those goodies on the first pass? The answer is a resounding no.

Assuming, you’re not designing for world-wide brands where industry terms like “pixel perfection” are accepted as the norm, is it okay to not be perfect all the time? In this scenario, the answer is a resounding yes.

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.

The Best Way to Eat an Elephant is in Small Chunks

The thing with perfection is that it takes time, patience, skill and yet more time. If you’re working for yourself, then you’ll probably want to start seeing results far quicker than the road to perfection is able to offer. Isn’t it better to get something out there to act as a starting point?

A design that you can tweak and test can offer the novice web designer the perfect scenario from which to learn their craft. Perfection, much like eating an elephant, is best achieved in small but manageable chunks.

We’re not talking about publishing scruffy work here, but insane levels of perfection are not necessarily the way to go. To aspire to perfection is a common theme in the DNA of most designers, but in all honestly, perfection might be best achieved in a number of steps.

When just starting out, it’s surely refining the creative process that must take precedence.

Sign for Pratt's Perfection Spirit at the Swanage Railway

Can Perfection Even Exist in a Constantly Changing Landscape?

It begs the question, does perfection even have a place when you are designing for the web. The answer is probably not. Does perfection even exist?

The first thing to consider is the environment in which web designers’ work. The landscape is constantly shifting and evolving to reflect new ideas of how things should look. In this respect, websites are never actually complete.

They have to scale and change in accordance with external factors. Take the rapidly evolving nature of the Google search algorithm. Does anybody actually know what these guys want? The so-called Internet Marketing gurus might try to convince you that they do, but they may as well be trying to pin a tail on the proverbial donkey.

For example, the process by which web designers can achieve perfect search engine optimization must be constantly tweaked in light of visible results. There are an array of analytic programs out there that can help you keep track of such nuances like

  • traffic statistics
  • incoming keywords
  • bounce rate
  • click-through rate

However, these statistical programs can only offer such insight and point out areas of improvement if your site is actually up and running.

Always look to tomorrow. Future procrastinators seal

Avoid Procrastination at all Costs

When you’re first starting to design and publish your own websites, there’s a ton of stuff to learn. You’ll be kept busy enough without wasting time becoming too precious about the tiniest of details.

If you start delaying the launch of a site until everything is perfect, you’ll slip into a state of procrastination that can be very difficult to get out of. The best advice you will ever be given is to just start and make little changes as you go. It’s infinitely easier to test that way anyway.

Striving for perfection in web design, while a worthy cause, is one that you can afford to take your time over. It’s not like designing a physical product where alteration and development cannot easily take place following production. Web design is not like that at all.

In such a fast-moving and unique industry, web designers can afford to start out with a simple approach. Iteration and polish can be applied over time. Letting go of your ego may prove difficult. Putting something out there that you’re not completely happy with can be difficult to accept.

Consider the satisfaction of knowing that your website is alive and kicking while other designers may still be agonizing over which shade of blue to use for their background, and you might just start to feel differently.

Shampoo, conditioner and body soap

Rinse and Repeat: Subsequent Designs Will Be Easier

It’s a rinse and repeat kind of scenario.

If you’re looking to make your mark in the niche publishing market, you’ll find that the techniques you learned from tweaking your first website over time become invaluable in getting subsequent sites just the way you’d like them in half the time.

If you’re the type of person who has hundreds of ideas that are only half-finished, it’s time to get something published. You can clean them up over time while continuing to take steps down the road to a full-time income from Internet Marketing. You might find that you don’t even need to. Craigslist is a prime example of an Internet success story, and perfect web design hardly comes into the equation.

Make your new motto: publish today, perfect tomorrow.

Author Bio

Ned Jackson is a full-time web designer from Orlando, Florida. He is a resident writer for DegreeJungle.com where students can learn about college programs such as computer programming and computer security. When he’s not fine tuning his sites, he can usually be seen cruising on his Harley.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

8 comments

  1. “If you’re the type of person who has hundreds of ideas that are only half-finished, it’s time to get something published.”

    Couldn’t have said it better. A lot of new designers get stuck in the vortex of ideas and possibilities, rather than completing their creation and moving on to the next.

  2. Great, helpful article Steven. It spoke volumes to me,so thanks! I’ve been working on developing content (writing articles, etc.) for a little over a month. I have a little over 30,000 words of text, in various categories. I have ideas for even more. I already have a domain name, created an awesome logo which embodies my site and its overall purpose, etc. and am working on figuring out a good structure for it.

    You hit the nail on the head about how we can’t expect to have everything PERFECT at first. I don’t want it to look like I stenciled my site or drew it with a crayon. :D The informaton also needs to be well organized. In the end, I see the value of starting to publish some content, even if it’s just on a blog. I can move it to my site later. I have a vision, but it’s going to take some time to improve the focus.

  3. Very good read, Steven. If there’s one thing I need to rid myself of it’s being one of the world’s worst procrastinators!

    Almost a week overdue on my current project and at least 3 days of that is down to me pixel pushing, as wasn’t happy with certain elements. Although happy I made the changes they haven’t earned me any extra money and the client would’ve been happy with the originals.

    I couldn’t have read your article at a more timely moment.

    Now, time to finish this site in the next 24 hours and take heed of your advice going forward.

    • Thanks Gaz, though I can’t take credit for writing this guest post. I was going to write it, but I kept putting it off until someone else wrote it before I did. :)

      I hope you got your project done. I know what it’s like seeking pixel perfection.

  4. Ah, I must’ve clocked the post by JD (above mine), which referred to you being the author! Not to worry, you made some very valuable points in addition.

    Yes, I did finish the job. The client wants 2 others doing, as a result, so I must’ve done well. :o)

    P.S. Congrats to Ned on the article!

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