Are you searching for someone to help build a new website or to update an existing website? If so, then you may be confused when searching the web for the right company. You’ll see entries for web design companies and web development companies. What’s the difference? Is there a difference?
The answer is yes, there is a difference between these two. In fact, they cover two separate types of building a website. In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences, and help you to learn which type of company is best for your website project.
The Difference Between Web Design & Web Development
When it comes to website design, this centres on the visual aesthetics and the user experience. On the other hand, web developers are more focused on building the structure of the website through the use of code.
You might think of it like this: developers use programming to bring the designer’s creation to life. Let’s take a look at the specifics of each one.
Web designers work directly with the client. They listen to the client’s goals for the website, and from that comes up with a concept. A web designer is the one who makes the site “pretty,” by establishing the style, the feel of the site, creating visual elements, and more.
Web designers also make the site user friendly, which means they focus on the UX (User Experience). They know how to keep site visitors on the site and interact with the site. Their job is to make the site comfortable and enjoyable for visitors.
In fact, part of UX design is doing research on the site users so they will have an idea of who the target audience is. So, the site is designed to gain traffic and keep traffic on the site, while making the users’ visit enjoyable, as well as helping them to convert.
Web designers also work with UI (User Interface) to make the site attractive, easy to navigate, as well as enjoyable. UI is slightly different than UX. It focuses on building aesthetics, which is the look and feel of the site.
Designers also use design principles including:
Web designers must have knowledge of working with tools such as Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Photoshop. They must also have the ability to use XHTML and CSS, along with an understanding of scripting languages. In addition, designers need to have strong creative skills and be up-to-date with the latest in technology & software. They also need to be well-acquainted with UX, and more.
In the end, a web designer is all about starting with an idea, then working on a focus and purpose for the website. Then they sketch out designs and translate these to wireframes, mockups, which then leads to the final design. The final design includes a layout of each web page and the elements that will be used such as icons, typography, and more.
Once the web designer has come up with the final concept, then the web developer has to build it. The developer works to create a framework using specialized software made for this purpose. They use these and other tools to create the website so that it looks and functions the same as the web designer’s concept. There are several different types of jobs the web developers do. Let’s take a look.
There’s the back-end developer, who works with the website’s core structure. They are programming experts who use software languages. This work is not seen by the site users; however, it’s the foundation of the website and involves coding. They job is to create a functional website through programming. They also do a lot of testing to find and fix bugs.
Then there’s the front-end developer. Their job is to work with the client and focuses on web design. They use HTML, CSS, and Java Script to create the visuals that users see.
And there’s the full-stack developer. They work with different stacks (layers), which include the front and back end.
The Hybrid: A Designer/Developer
These are special people who may do the work as both a designer and a developer. These people tent o have skills on both sides. They can take a client’s project from concept all the through to front-end development all on their own.
When it comes to small projects, these people will do a great job. A small project may only require one or two people. However, for larger projects, you may want to go with a full-fledged team for a better outcome.
Do You Need a Web Developer or a Web Designer?
How do you know which one you need? Let’s take a look. You’ll need a web designer for these types of projects:
- Designing a new homepage
- New website branding concepts
- Edit images and videos
You’ll need a web developer for these types of projects:
- Hosting problems/fix server
- Creating a mobile app
- Building a new contact form
In the end, both web designers and developers can build a site from scratch. However, designers tend to focus on planning, while developers are better at building. In addition, both the designer and the developer can code.
If you have a website project that could use both, then why not consider a company that has both the developer and designer on their team? That way, you end up with the best of both worlds!
When choosing if you should go with a web designer or a web developer, be sure to consider the strengths of each. It may be that you do need both, depending on the type of project. It’s quite common to have a web designer who works on the site’s layout and aesthetics, and then sends the files on to a web developer.
We hope this guide has helped you learn more about the differences between a website designer and a website developer.