Perhaps one of the most mixed-up careers are web designers and web developers. When discussing these two, many often think they are similar. However, that’s far from the truth.

Though they complement each other to create websites, their specialisations and skill sets are what would set them apart.

Before we dive deep into the key differences between web developers and web designers, it’s important to understand what they are first.

What is a Web Designer?

When the word ‘Designer’ comes to mind, it’s sure to involve some creative and aesthetic input. That’s precisely the designer’s role, to create an attractive site that is user friendly so that visitors are more encouraged to stay and explore.

However, web designers focus on more than the visual appeal. They have to be aware of the current trends, design norms and the target audience behaviours.

Once that is done, what’s important is that the design has to match the clients’ branding and expectations. Usually, web designers are responsible for the first stages of creating a website before passing it to a web developer.

Types of Web Designers

Not all web designers are the same. In fact, each has a unique focus and specification. They are:

User Experience Designer (UX)

They are responsible to ensure that the website is structured in a way that engages visitors and delivers a positive experience to the users. Their roles would be:

  • Understanding the user and the brand.
  • Conduct research.
  • Analyse data.
  • Design.
  • Conduct user testing.
  • Present the finalised design.

User Interface Designer (UI)

Prioritising interactions between the user and the service/the device, they make sure that the website is user friendly and adds value.They focus on:

  • Colour and typeface choices.
  • Designing the necessary features: buttons, icons, sliders and scrollbars.
  • Creating a style guide for the website to make sure it’s consistent for the user.
  • Responsive designing : the interactive parts, the layout of each screen.

Visual Designer

They focus on the layout and visual elements of a website. Their main duties is to make sure the interface is not only aesthetically pleasing but also easy to use.

What is a Web Developer?

Once the web designers are done with the first stages, a web developer would take over and work with coding to bring the designers’ vision to life.

When looking at it specifically, their tasks involve constructing the website itself. This would include:

  • Coding and configuring the server, database on the back-end
  • Incorporating user-facing features and functionality
  • Perform testing and debugging
  • May provide support and maintenance
  • Address server or hosting issues.

Types of Web Developers

Similar to web designers, web developers have three major types and it’s important to be aware they are not all similar:

Front-End Web Developers

They focus on visitors’ interaction with the page, making sure it’s smooth and easy through combination of design, technology and programmer to code a website’s appearances and address debugging. 

Their responsibilities are:

  • Optimise the user experiences.
  • Use HTML, JavaScript and CSS to bring concepts to life.
  • Develop and maintain the user interface.
  • Implement design on mobile websites.
  • Create tools to improve the site’s interaction on different browsers.
  • Manage software workflow.
  • Follow SEO best practices
  • Fix bugs and test for usability.

Back-End Web Developers

This web developer is responsible for the website’s performance, focusing on databases, back-end logic, application programming interface (APIs), architecture and servers. Their tasks are:

  • Build and maintain websites.
  • Write high-quality code.
  • Perform quality assurance (QA) testing.
  • Assess efficiency and speed.
  • Troubleshoot and debug.
  • Train and support clients.

Full-Stack Web Developers

As the name suggests, they are involved with all aspects of the web development process.

Their job is to:

  • Develop and maintain web services and interfaces.
  • Contribute to the front-end and back-end development process.
  • Build new product features or APIs.
  • Perform tests, troubleshoot software, and fix bugs.

Web Designer and Web Developers: Are They Similar?

Now that we have a good understanding about the two, let’s look at their differences down below.

  • Web designers’ main focus is on the appearance and usability of a site. Meanwhile the developers look into function and structure.
  • Once designers conceptualise the idea and look, they create a mockup of the website from the visual, UX and UI elements. From there, a web developer would decide whether the concept is financially and technically possible to then program and code the site.
  • Compared to designers who focus on the creative aspect, web developers’ tasks are more technical as they require complex programming languages and frameworks.

To put it simply, web designers and developers are very different but they work side by side in order to build a successful website.

If you’re looking for a cohesive team to help build your website, contact us now!