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If your next project requires web development or web creation but you are uncertain about the distinctions between a web designer and a web developer, this article can provide clarity. Read on to learn more.

What Is the Role of a Web Developer?

The primary responsibility of a web developer is to create and maintain the fundamental structure of a website. This involves intricate technical work, including the use of advanced programming languages and complex coding. Essentially, web developers take the concepts and designs created by web designers and turn them into fully functional, live websites.

The duties of a web developer encompass constructing the website itself. This involves setting up the server and databases on the backend, as well as integrating user-facing features and functions. Additionally, they perform testing and debugging, and may provide a variety of post-launch services, such as ongoing maintenance and support, and resolving server or hosting issues.

What are the Different Types of Web Development?

There are three main types of web developers. Usually, web developers use just a few main programming languages. These languages will vary based on the type of web development they do: Front-end, Back-end, or Full-stack.

Front-End Web Developers

Front-end developers utilize CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and other programming languages, as well as Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, to develop the actual website. Their role, which is also referred to as client-side development, primarily revolves around coding and programming the website’s visual components that users will interact with. Consequently, front-end developers and web designers tend to collaborate extensively, and there is a significant overlap between their roles.

Back-End Web Developers

Back-end developers employ advanced programming languages such as PHP, C#, Java, Ruby, SQL, NodeJS, and other server-side frameworks to code the server and database. Their primary focus, which is also referred to as server-side development, centers around the website’s functional aspects that are not visible to visitors from the front end.

Full-Stack Web Developers

Full-stack developers are capable of coding both the front-end and back-end of a website, having a comprehensive understanding of how these components interact with each other. Along with coding web pages using CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, they also configure servers, code Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), query databases, and perform other related tasks.

Web Developers Need to Have the Following Skill Set

Web developers need to possess a particular skillset in order to fulfill the roles of a developer. They need to be knowledgeable in the following: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Management Systems (WordPress, etc.), Back-ends and databases, Testing and Debugging, JavaScript frameworks, Coding/programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Apart from technical skills, web developers also require non-technical skills that can prove to be valuable. These include problem-solving and analytical thinking, which can aid in the debugging process. Effective communication and collaboration skills are also crucial for working with clients and other essential parties, such as web designers.

What is the Role of a Web Designer?

The tasks and responsibilities of web designers can vary, but their primary focus is on creating the visual aspects and layout of a website. Their objective is to design a visually appealing and user-friendly site that encourages visitors to stay engaged for a longer time. This involves creating conversion-generating elements and designing web pages that are compatible with different devices.

Web designers are required to keep up with the latest design trends and follow specific standards and best practices. They work with brand imagery, color palettes, fonts, and other design elements. Some even create a web design style guide to ensure consistency across all websites.

Designers are responsible for creating, managing, and supervising several essential documents and resources, which include contracts for web design, briefs for website development, questionnaires for website design and proposals for website creation.

Web designers are required to conduct research and testing to ensure that the website meets both user expectations and client requirements. It is also essential to consider how the design impacts the coding process of the site. Designers create a site structure and mockup, which developers use to code the site.

Apart from designing and completing minor web development, web designers often offer post-launch services such as content creation, updates, maintenance, monitoring, and ongoing performance checks.

What are the Types of Web Designers?

There are three main types of web designers, and they each individually focus on a different and specific type of design, user experience, user interface, and visual.

User Experience Web Designers (UX)

The role of user experience designers or (UX designer) is to create a website structure that engages visitors and provides them with a positive experience. They achieve this by designing human-centric interfaces based on data-driven decisions. This requires extensive research and testing to gather and analyze data, which is then used to make informed design choices.

User Interface Designer (UI)

In website design, user interface designers (UI designers) have a significant role to play. In addition to the user experience, they also focus on interactions. Their primary responsibility is to improve the website’s usability and optimize it in a manner that facilitates conversions.

Visual Designer

The role of a visual designer is centered around the design and arrangement of the visual elements of a website, as implied by the job title. This job involves integrating various aspects of both UX and UI design. The primary responsibility of a visual designer is to ensure that the website interface is not only visually attractive but also user-friendly.

Almost all web designers are going to use a variety of key things like software and programs to do their job. The most important being editing/design software and programs. Another resource they may use would be stock image resources and tools that compress and optimize images. Additionally, website designers likely use a CMS like WordPress, as well as a website builder such as WPBakery.

Web Designers Need to have the Following Skillset

Successful web designers require various skill sets depending on their specific role and specialization. However, some crucial skills are generally necessary, including proficiency in HTML and CSS, understanding of website design principles and web accessibility standards, knowledge of responsive and interaction design, expertise in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), proficiency in user journey mapping, ability to create wireframes and prototypes, familiarity with branding, color theory, and typography, and proficiency in relevant design tools and software.

Apart from technical skills, web designers also require non-technical skills. For instance, effective communication skills are vital for interacting with clients and managing their expectations. Moreover, collaboration skills are essential for working with other team members such as web developers, ensuring that every project progresses seamlessly.

Web Development vs Web Design: What IS the Difference?

At this point, you should have gained a better grasp of the fundamental differences separating a web designer from a web developer. To recap, presented below is a concise outline of the key dissimilarities between these two positions:

  • The focus of designer’s centers on usability and appearance, whereas developers concentrate on structure and functionality.
  • Web developers can be categorized into various types, such as front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers. Similarly, web designers can be classified into three primary types: UX, UI, and visual designers.
  • Web developers need to possess a significant level of technical expertise, which encompasses a deep understanding of intricate programming languages and frameworks. Conversely, the web designer’s role is comparatively less technical and more focused on the creative and visual aspects of a website, although some research and analysis are still required.
  • Web developers primarily work with coding libraries and frameworks, code versioning and issue tracking platforms like GitHub and Jira, hosting control panels, FTP clients, and content management systems (CMSs). In contrast, web designers typically use design editing software like Photoshop, a CMS such as WordPress, and website builders like WPBakery. Additionally, they rely on wireframing and prototyping tools to create the layout and design of the website.
  • The role of web designers involves ideating and visualizing the concept and appearance of a website, building a mockup using visual, UX, and UI elements. On the other hand, web development evaluates the feasibility of the idea from technical and financial perspectives. If deemed viable, they proceed to program and code the website.

In closing, web designers and web developers both play crucial roles in constructing, building, and maintaining websites. Ultimately, the success of the project depends on the collaboration and interdependence of these two roles to deliver a high-quality final product.
Are you consider hiring a web developer or designer? If you have any questions, leave us a comment or give us a call.

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