Web Designers And Developers: What’s The Difference?
Web designers and web developers are merging careers that use different approaches to solve the same problems.
While these two professions sound similar and may even have comparable job responsibilities, they should not be confused.
This article will compare the difference between web designers and developers, including the different career routes available in each field.
Let’s start with the basics: what is the difference between a Web developer and a Web designer.
Although many people confuse the two terms, they are responsible for different aspects of the website design process.
Who is a Web Developer and a Web Designer?
Web Design is the Skin of your Site: How would a web designer come up with a layout if they don’t have the experience, knowledge, and understanding of how each part (and function) works?
A Web Designer is someone who creates an attractive design for a website. They are mostly referred to the website’s visual beauty as well as its usability.
Web designers’ major role is to concentrate on the style and overall feel of the website, utilizing applications such as Photoshop, Corel Draw, and others to make it more appealing.
A good web designer should be able to use a wide range of creative, graphic, and technological skills.
Web developers are also responsible for maintaining and updating existing websites and developing new features for the site’s users.
Web developers must be proficient in multiple programming languages to handle different aspects of development work.
Role of a Web Designer
The layout and visual features of a website are the responsibility of web designers.
The designer’s job is to make the site appealing and user-friendly. They achieve this by designing the layout of the website and deciding on the colors, fonts, and images that will be used on it.
Web designers also have to make sure that everything works well together: for example, if there is an image on the page, it should be clear where to click on it or how it can be used.
A web designer will usually work as part of a team with other members who are responsible for different parts of the website’s development, such as programming or writing content for the site.
Types of Web Designers
There are various types of web designers, each specializing in a certain type of work. These are the following:
- User Experience (UX): UX designers are the people who ensure your website is structured in a way that engages visitors and delivers a positive experience.
They are responsible for creating human-centric designs that are based on data-driven decisions. Their role is to conduct research and testing, which involves gathering and analyzing data, so they can inform their final design choices.
- User Interface (UI): The UX designer’s main focus is on the user’s journey, starting from the moment they enter your site and continuing until they take action or leave.
This means that they’re tasked with ensuring that your site is easy to navigate and understand and that it offers an optimized experience across all devices.
- Visual Designer: The Visual designer’s role is to aim for the completed product should look attractive. They are a mixture of User interfaces and Graphic designers. Don’t get confused between a Graphic designer and a visual designer.
The skill sets that web designers require to be successful differ depending on the function and expertise of each individual.
However, there are a few key skills to have in general:
- HTML and CSS knowledge
- Understanding the Principles of website design and web accessibility standards
- Responsive and interaction design
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- User journey mapping
- Wireframing and prototyping
- Branding, color theory, and typography
- Design tools and software
Role of a Web Developer
The primary responsibility of a web developer is to create and maintain a website’s essential structure. Their job entails a great deal of technical effort, including the use of advanced programming languages and intricate code.
In a word, they take designers’ ideas and concepts and transform them into real, live, and completely functional websites.
A web developer’s responsibilities include the creation of the website itself.
Types of Web Developers
There are three major kinds of web developers:
- Front-end: Front-end development, also known as client-side development, largely involves coding and programming the visual elements of a website that users will see.
- Back-end: The backend is a part of web development that focuses on the server-side of the website. It is the part of the software that does not come in direct contact with the users, and it stores and arranges data.
It also makes sure everything on the client-side of the website works fine.
- Full-stack: A full-stack web developer is someone who works on the front and backend of a website. This means they design the look, feel, and usability of a website, as well as its functionality.
They also work on back-end technology like databases, servers, and code.
To perform their jobs, web developers must have a set of technical skills. A web developer must at the very least be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- Testing and debugging
- Back-ends and databases
- Content Management Systems (WordPress, etc.)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Differences between Web Designers and Web Developers
Web design and development are two sides of the same coin. The two roles work closely together to create an end-to-end experience for your customers. To tie things together, here’s a quick rundown of the most significant differences between these two roles:
- Web designers conceptualize the idea and look of a website, creating a mockup based on visual, UX, and UI elements.
Web developers determine whether the concept is financially and technically plausible, and if so, program and code the site.
- Web developers require a solid amount of technical knowledge. This includes understanding complex programming languages and frameworks.
While there is some research and analysis involved with designing a website, a web designer’s role is less technical and more about the visual and creative elements of a website.
- While designers focus on appearance and usability, developers focus on functionality and structure.
- Web designers typically use design editing software like Photoshop and Sketch, while web developers use code editing programs like Sublime Text or Atom.
Web designers also rely on wireframing and prototyping tools such as Balsamiq whereas front-end developers often use libraries such as Bootstrap and Foundation.
- Another big difference between these two jobs is their skill set requirements. While both require strong communication skills and problem-solving abilities, web developers must also know how to code using languages like HTML5 or Python—and sometimes even other languages like Ruby on Rails or GoLang!
On the other hand, web designers don’t need to know how to create backend functionality like APIs or user management systems because those tasks fall under the purview of full-stack developers.
Note: The main difference is that developers focus on the technical aspects of the project, such as programming and coding. Designers handle the visual and conceptual work that is necessary for ensuring a solid UX and UI.
Keep in mind the differences in specialties and required skill sets while deciding whether you want to be a web designer or a web developer.
A web developer is a good career choice if you enjoy the practical, technical aspect of projects.
On the other hand, a web designer is a more practical job choice if you’re more interested in color theory, branding, and the artistic aspect of designing websites.