Web pages test communication skills

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 June, 1999, 12:00am

Do you enjoy surfing the Net for the latest information and entertainment to enrich your life? Have you ever thought of becoming a Web site designer, showing people around the world your communication, art and computer skills? It's a dream-come-true for 28- year-old Vincent Leung Chak- hang, who has produced more than 1,600 Web pages.

Although he studied civil engineering at university, his talent for languages, art and design inspired him to take up the job three years ago.

'I enjoyed designing posters and playing around with pictures, words and colour schemes when I was at school. I learned good ways to capture people's attention with different styles of design,' he said.

'A clear and simple Web design with well-balanced information is what readers are looking for. The special effects should be used wisely to decorate it without consuming too much downloading time.' Good time management helped when working to a tight schedule, Mr Leung said.

'I finished a new Web site with more than 200 pages in only 2.5 days after a brief discussion with the clients. It turned out that this tough job helped to boost business and draw new clients.' Self-learning ability is important for Web site designers since they need to master a variety of techniques and keep up to date with the latest developments in Web page design and information technology (IT).

He said it was useful to visit sites using advanced Web design codes and then experiment on a personal Web site.

'The basics in HTML [hypertext mark-up language], dynamic HTML, java and cgi are only stepping stones, you will need to catch up with fast-developing Web skills.' Mr Leung said aspiring Web site designers should identify a topic which is appealing to the target audience, such as music, school activities, love or personal feelings.

Allowing visitors to interact with a Web site helped to build a channel for communications.

'I do not consider myself as an IT worker. Instead I am a communicator who looks for interactions and feedback,' Mr Leung said.

'This helps me to understand their needs so that I can improve the site.' He said receiving responses from Internet surfers was the most rewarding aspect of designing Web sites.

'I didn't imagine people from different places - including some places I have never heard of - would come to my Web site too.' He said the Web site designer was the middleman between the company and the public.

'Explaining to people what the Internet can do for product marketing and publicity is a challenging experience because you have to turn their thinking around,' he said.

'You need good interpersonal communication skills, a creative mind, marketing and Internet knowledge. You also need to negotiate with IT people to see what techniques and applications can be used on the servers.' Mr Leung, now assistant marketing communications manager (Internet development) with exhibition organiser Miller Freeman Asia, has also set up his own business producing Web sites. His past experience with TV and radio production helped him to use multimedia technology in business.

He said people hoping to work in the IT industry should look into Internet commerce, which has more business opportunities than just designing Web sites.

'They have to build up good business minds with sales and marketing strategies apart from the IT foundations.'