How to be a Web Design Superhero | February 2, 2006

Inspired by the title of my SXSW talk, I’d like to know what you think it takes to be a web design superhero, and who your web design superheros are?

Posted at February 2, 2006 10:49 AM


Nik said on February 2, 2006 11:16 AM

Things a Web Design Suerhero Needs:

- An accessible superhero suit in a great color sheme with the option of increasing text and contrast
- The superpower to validate any site, on the spot.
- Comeback lines involving the words “AJAX” and “Your Face”
- Spy glasses to automatically receive help cries, with live updateing and Flickr Integration
- A watch which let’s you update your blog,, and view your feeds wherever you are
- Style

Ben said on February 2, 2006 12:40 PM

The ability to read peoples minds!

Andy said on February 2, 2006 1:01 PM

A cape and a killer logo!

Chet said on February 2, 2006 2:20 PM

-The ability to put a Gecko rendering engine inside IE.

-Wearing something like that BritPack logo probably would help.

Barry Bloye said on February 2, 2006 2:47 PM

A copy of your book? ;)

Are you talking designers, or developers in general?

Wilson Miner said on February 2, 2006 3:55 PM

How about the power to shave a yak from 200 yards away… with mind bullets?

Mohodin Rageh said on February 2, 2006 3:58 PM

I think superhero designer is someone who can code XHTML/CSS with JavaScript in his sleep. The super designer MUST have superp photoshop skills too. He should also have a working knowledge of AJAX may be.

I am defining the great (elusive) designer as opposed to a developer. It has to be said though that one is either visually or coding inclined. NOT both. Not at least in equal measures I suppose.

Ilkka Harmanen said on February 2, 2006 4:49 PM

As others have stated, skills in essential web technologies are a must have. Also you need to have the designers eye for colours and shapes. In addition knowledge in usablity and accessibility will help in the quest of being a superhero. Finally and most importantly experience and proven ability to develop creative solutions for non-trivial problems.

James AkaXakA said on February 2, 2006 5:11 PM

Wear Britpack pants for real.

bruce said on February 2, 2006 8:02 PM

They’d need to:

Jan Brasna said on February 2, 2006 8:12 PM

What it takes? Umm, having an appropriate name like Meyer, Santa Maria, Budd (you name it…) is a neccessary prequisite.


patrick h. lauke said on February 2, 2006 9:20 PM

- must be in a lucky position where he/she can put all the current best practices in web standards development to good use, on a high traffic site, without having the client or management trying to suppress those efforts…
- failing that, must be very vocal about those issues, and have lots of superhero friends that regularly link back to him/her with their google juice…

Gary Turner said on February 3, 2006 8:21 AM

When I judge a designer, I step into the user’s shoes and don his cap. Then I want to know, can I do what I want to do and find what I want to find with no muss, no fuss? Do the layout and graphics help to guide my eye to the areas I’m looking for? Do I have to guess at things or are the links clearly indicated and informative? Were I sight or motility impaired could I do as well?

And then, does the designer present me an attractive site?

If the site isn’t highly usable, it’s a failed bit no matter how fancy the design and graphics are. Usefullness is the sine qua non, but without the √¶sthetics, I’m less likely to like the site.

In a nutshell, the designer superhero builds a highly usable and attractive site. What more could you ask for?



Peter Mahnke said on February 3, 2006 11:54 AM

A super designer must:

  1. understand what the thing they are creating must achive and only do that thing
  2. have the strategic vision to make sure that it fits naturally into the larger site
  3. make sure there is clear, simple copy and help
  4. and most importantly… live with that thing for as long as you can and revise it and make it better — test it, work it, use it over and over again

… then make it pretty.

Mohodin Rageh said on February 3, 2006 9:36 PM

I forgot in my earlier comment that a superhero designer MUST have good sense for colour combinations. The colour combination(or scheme) is what makes the first impression. It is tricky to get it right all times really.

Accessability and usability is also very very very essential skill for any designs. Without that your work will look unprofessional.

Mani Sheriar said on February 3, 2006 10:56 PM

A Web Design Super Hero Is:

Ok, so maybe that last one’s not necessary. ;o)

Nazim said on February 4, 2006 10:04 AM

It suprise’s me that no one has even mentioned Flash or Flex in the context of this discussion. Their are a lot of super guru’s out there when it comes to incorporating these tecnologies (Yugo Nakamura - Joshua Davis - Aral Balkan). Of course a background in Graphic Design with a mentality towards interface design always helps.

Christian Montoya said on February 5, 2006 5:28 AM

Think outside the box. Web Design Heroes do all the right things, but Superheroes… they change web design entirely.

luxuryluke said on February 15, 2006 3:29 PM

Be involved in the community, support your peers, inspire, invent, be creative, solve problems, kind criticism, discuss issues, …

and lastly, all you have to do is sport a pair of union jack undies on your homepage.