Author and Happy Cog founder Jeffrey Zeldman answers the question: what does a web designer need most? Skills and knowledge of software, of course, but empathy—the ability to think about and empathize with your user—is by far the most important. Good useful education is hard to find, and within companies there is often no departmental standardization. Good graphic design is not the same as good user experience design, he explains. In fact, “good web design is invisible”—it feels simple and authentic because it’s about the character of the content, not the character of the designer.
Jeffrey Zeldman was one of the first designers, bloggers and independent publishers on the web, and is one of the first web design teachers. In 1998, he co-founded—and from 1999 to 2002, directed—The Web Standards Project, a grassroots coalition that helped bring standards to our browsers. He publishes A List Apart “for people who make websites.” Zeldman has written two books, including the foundational web standards text "Designing with Web Standards." He co-founded the web design conference “An Event Apart” and founded Happy Cog, an agency of web design and user experience specialists.