Who Does What In Website Building: The Differences Between Web Designers And Web Developers

Post by 
Lorenzo Johnson
Lorenzo Johnson

When a business owner is trying to brand themselves, they want a stand-out website that not only looks great but functions well and is able to bring them a lot of new business. Since the majority of these business owners are not experts when it comes to website building, they are going to look for outside help by seeking the services of a phenomenal marketing agency in Tucson. The terminology might be a bit confusing to the average Joe, do you need a web designer or a web developer?

Building A Website Is Similar To Building A House

Think of website building in the same perspective of building a house. First things first, the house needs a foundation and structure to keep it together. Then it needs systems like electricity and plumbing. Once the house is built, you want to make it look nice with a great aesthetic. You do that with paint, flooring, fixtures, furniture, and artwork. In this scenario, the web developers are creating the foundation, structure, and systems. The web designers are making sure that the finished house looks like a beautiful, comfortable, and welcoming place to live.

What Makes A Great Website?

Before diving into the various roles needed, let’s take a look at what it takes to build out the perfect website. A website that functions well but isn’t pretty to look at will not attract potential customers. On the other hand, an awesome looking design will only get you so far if it loads super slow or doesn’t work right consumers will get frustrated and leave. You need to have both functionality and aesthetics working together. At a minimum your website should:

  • Load Quickly
  • Not Have Broken Links Or Any Functions That Don’t Work As Expected
  • Be Secure
  • Have A Way To Purchase, Sign Up, Request Info, Or Join A Mailing List
  • Have Branding That Uniquely Identifies Your Company
  • Look Pleasing To The Eye
  • Makes Consumers Excited To Work With You

Some of the things on this list have to do with the overall design of the website, while others take some backend coding magic to make things possible. If you have one without the other, you only have half a website.

The Role Of A Website Developer

A web developer’s role is mostly behind the scenes. They use programming languages to write the code that makes the website function. Programing languages used for web development include things like HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and more. It is a job that takes a linear and logical approach to build and organize a website. Also called a “front end developer,” a web designer will build a UI (user interface) that works properly. They are also usually the team members responsible for optimizing the overall website and making sure that performs efficiently. Because a web designer is a type of computer programmer, their career requirements are a bit higher and they can command a bit higher salary. So if you need their services, it will come at a price. Most businesses value the impact a website will have for their business enough to invest in the service, when and if they need it.

The Role Of A Website Designer

A web designer, guided by the company’s branding or style guide, will create a beautiful website that drapes over the structure and code that makes the site work. They use programs like Photoshop, Frontpage, and Dreamweaver to create design elements that flow nicely and entice a consumer to stay a while. They know about color psychology, typography, and usually have some skill in graphic design as well.

A web designer has more of a creative role, using imagination and knowledge of colors and style to make a cohesive design. They can also play a role in designing creative marketing aspects of the website or in product placement. Their finished design helps not only attract consumers but helps them navigate through a buying process. Sometimes designers work directly with developers and other times they use already developed code such as “themes” and “plug-ins” to make their designs work.

What Things Overlap In Design And Development?

Many people are confused about the differences between a designer and a developer when it comes to building websites. Part of that confusion comes from the fact that the two jobs can overlap by quite a bit. While developers have a more logical and structural role, they have to keep in mind all the elements that a designer will need to make the website visually appealing. What they code will depend heavily on the designer’s plans for the website. Designers also need to know some basic development skills such as HTML to use when working with themes and programs they need to create a good aesthetic.

Do You Need A Web Developer Or A Web Designer?

You might consider creating a full website building team that includes a web developer if your company is very large and you need unique functionality that doesn’t already exist and needs to be coded from scratch. Additionally, some companies have entire systems integral to the operation of their business that works as a website and needs custom coding to function. Examples of this could be custom payroll systems or internal product ordering systems.

The majority of small and medium-sized businesses will find that a web designer is what they need most. Even without a web developer on the team, a great web designer can use existing themes and plug-ins, or apps, to base their designs on. Highly skilled web designers can even create and customize their own themes to create a unique website interface. If custom code is ever required, it can be outsourced and managed by the web designer. If your main goal is a great looking and highly optimized website for a reasonable price, then a designer is your best bet.

You can find some of the best web designers Tucson has to offer right here at Icovy Marketing.

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