Difference between a web designer and web developer

by | Web Design, SEO | 0 comments

Many people use the two terms web design and web development interchangeably, however they are two very different things. When you break them down and take a look further into each, you can see just how different they truly are. This blog will take an in depth look at what each exactly is, the differences as well as the similarities. 

What is a web designer:

A web designer is the person designated to making the website look good. Their main job is to work on the overall look of the website as well as its usability. They are also responsible for the style and feel of the website. To accomplish their job they use different software programs like Photoshop and Corel Draw to make the website more attractive.

There are three main different types of web designers. The next part of this blog will dig deeper into what those types are, their roles and key words.  

  • User Experience (UX) Designer: UX also known as User Experience. The UX designer role is to make a product or service usable, enjoyable, and accessible. Although many companies design user experiences, the term is mainly linked with digital design for websites and/or apps. The process can differ from product to product and company to company but the phases of design remain the same.

Key Terms related to ux design…

A/B testing- A technique for comparing two different versions of a product/service to determine which is more successful

Accessibility– The notion of whether a service/product can be used by people of all abilities, regardless of their situation

Card sort- Participants organize information into logical groups in order to help determine information architecture

End user- The person to use the finished product/service afters its been purchased

Human computer interaction– Subject area pertaining to computer technology design as well as the interaction between humans and computers

Information architecture– The organizational way of designing information to make it more understandable

Mockups– A real life visual of what the final webpage or application will look like once completed

Persona– A fictional portrayal of the ideal customer to better help you understand their needs and goals

Prototype– A sample of the final product used to test and collect feedback

User flow– A illustration that will map out each step a user takes when using a product/service

  • User interface (UI) designer: User Interface Design can be defined as the creation of graphics and illustrations as well as any use of photographic artwork and typography. Which helps to strengthen the display and layout of a digital product. The elements of Interface Design include input controls ex:drop-down menus and data fields, navigational components ex: search fields and icons, and lastly informational components ex:notifications and message boxes

Key Terms related to UI design …

Interface– The view or presentation of a program

Interface design- Visual design

Labeling systems- Placement of labels that works well with navigation 

Labels- Naming conventions for buttons and or site navigation

Path- The route that the user creates as they navigate through the site. Their path can be visible by breadcrumbs 

Graphical User Interface– What the user sees

  • Visual designer: The job of the visual designer is to make sure that the finished product looks good. They are a combination of User interfaces and Graphic designers.

What is a web developer:

Web developers are also called programmers. Their job is to take the design created by the web designers and then convert it into a website that is fully functioning. There are numerous different types of software and tools that can be used to get the job done. The end goal is to create a well-functioning website. Web developers must collaborate with UX designers, UI designers, and visual designers in order to create web pages that are based on the design provided by the designer. 

Other duties that may come with the role of being a web developer include: creating mockups, testing and troubleshooting as well as the possibility of meeting with stakeholders.

Web developers must have elevated research skills in order to have the ability to understand clients needs and create desired products. There is also the need for them to have good project management and logical reasoning skills. The range of a web developer’s job depends on their specialty as well as what they have the most experience in. 

Different types of web developers … 

Back-end: The back end is considered the server side of the website. It is where all data is stored. Back end is also responsible for making sure everything on the client side of the website works as it should, therefore they are in charge of coding the site. Take note that this is the part of the website that the user cannot see or interact with. 

Front-end: The part of the website that the user directly interacts with is known as the front end. It can also be referred to as the client-side of the application. Front end includes everything that users experience directly such as: text colors and styles, images, graphs and tables, buttons, colors, and a navigation menu. The structure, design and content of everything displayed on the browser screen is all executed by front end developers. Responsiveness and performance are two main targets for the front end to comply with. The person in charge of development must make certain that the site is responsive.

Full-stack: These developers will have proficiency in both front and back-end web development.

Differences between web development and web design

  1. Websites are more creative / Web Developers are more technical
  2. Web designers take on the aesthetic element / Web development refers to building user friendly websites based on clients desires
  3. Designers transform the ideas into visually appealing designs / Developers transform designs into functioning websites
  4. Web designers refer to how the website looks on the outside / Web development refers to the functionality of the website and how it works
  5. The hiring cost of a web designer is less than a web developer / The hiring cost of a web developer is more than a web developer 
  6. Web designing tools include Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Sketch / Developer languages used are HTML, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, Python, Ruby, jQuery 

Similarities between the two

  • Both Web designers and web developers are needed to create a functional website and are of equal importance of making it happen
  • Both are present in building a strong online presence for clients
  • Both require s specific skill set and tools to perform their job

Internet usage is said to continue to grow globally as devices become cheaper and more accessible. The Ericsson Mobility Report predicts smartphone traffic will rise, meaning the demand for skilled web design and development will remain high for the development of mobile accessible web pages. In turn, web designers and developers will have plenty of opportunities in the future.

Whether you are the website designer or the website developer you play an extremely important role in getting a website up and running. One cannot function without the other. Although there are many differences between the two; each one of these roles come together to create a final product for a client. 


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