What’s the Difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer?
What’s the Difference?: Web Designer vs Web Developer
In web design, there is a long road between the beginnings of an idea and a final product. And rarely is this road traveled by just one person. As with a film or with a musical recording, there are many people involved in the process. The two most prominent people involved in creating a website are the designer and the developer. So what’s the difference? Let’s explore …
What Web Designers Do
Web designers are basically come up with the concept of the site. They come up with the look of the site. They worry about things like layout, color schemes, fonts, and images. They also come up with the idea of how the site should behave. If you scroll, this happens. If you click here, this element drops down here and looks like this, etc.
Web designers are visual designers and often have a background in graphic design. This is helpful because they understand things like balance, white space, and composition. All of these come into play when creating a website that is pleasing to the eye.
Designers don’t always know how to execute their ideas, however. They just know what they want the final product to be. This is where developers come in.
What Web Developers Do
Developers usually take direction from web designers the way a construction foreman would take directions from an architect. The architect is responsible for the idea, but it’s the construction crew that knows how to make it happen.
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Why Are Designers and Developers Separate Jobs?
Why, you might ask are web designers and developers separate roles? Can’t one individual just learn to do both things? Isn’t having a web designer and a web developer kind of like having two separate mechanics who work on different parts of an engine?
The best answer for this is that, yes, one person can learn to do both things. However, most people are better at one than the other. Design is more of a left-brain creative activity, while development tends to be more right-brained and mathematical. Not a lot of people are highly skilled in both areas.
Also, because web design and web development is such a complex process, it’s often helpful to have two people working on a website – one who is focused on the design aspects and one who is focused on the technical aspects.
Two Ways of Looking at Things
Another way to think about why both roles are important is to consider a website created entirely by a web designer versus a website created entirely by a web developer.
A developer’s website would be functional. Everything would work, it would be efficiently coded, and fast . . . But it would likely also be bland and uninspiring.
A designer’s website, on the other hand, could end up being a complete mess. A mess of ideas that the web designer was simply not able to execute from a technical perspective.
A Healthy Balance
There are many websites that lean towards one of these extremes or the other (which is often a clue as to who had the biggest role in creating it). The best websites, however, are those that have a healthy balance of both web development and design.
A web designer’s job is to come up with the concept of the website, including the look, feel, and functionality. They often have a background in graphic design. Web developers are responsible for making the designer’s vision a reality by coding it into a website. Together, they create websites that are both pleasing to the eye and easy to use. A healthy balance of web design and web development is key to creating an effective website.
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