Written by Brian Cray on September 9th, 2009
You've hired the wrong guy. After reading David Airey's forget about design and Andrew Maier's User Experience Designer vs. Creative Director I've come to the conclusion that the role "web designer" is a cheap ass effort to fudge a graphic designer into a role requiring two entirely separate fields of knowledge.
Web teams still need graphic designers to communicate visually appealing messages. And graphic designers moving from a print team to a web team should stay graphic designers. What's needed to compliment a web team's graphic designer is someone to account for the complexities of human-computer interaction (HCI). Surely a manager in any field can't expect staff to adopt a completely opposite, complex knowledge base overnight.
Welcome the missing link: User experience designer.
A web-based user experience designer is charged with learning about users and creating interfaces that match website goals and user needs. They deliver interaction specs and simple mockups to the graphic designer as a framework for user-centered visual communication. Then, of course, the web developer makes the interaction work.
Don't mix up the two roles, user experience designer and graphic designer. Neither should do the others' job. They should never be blurred into "web designer."
If you're going to make the leap into a more complex communication channel, account for its complexities or it'll bite you in the ass when your competitors "get it."