Hands of male graphic designer using laptop in office

What Is the Difference Between a Web Designer and Web Developer?

There is often confusion around Web Developers and Web Designers, as people consider them to be performing the same set of duties which includes designing a website – when, in fact, that is indeed what both of them do – however, on an entirely different spectrum. So the terms ‘web designers’ and ‘web developers’ are not interchangeable. How? Let’s see the major differences in detail.

Before we dive into their expertise and which part of the website building process they are in charge of, know that it is possible to be both. Since all it takes is to have the necessary skills related to both professions.

Main Difference Between a Web Designer and a Web Developer

The biggest difference that sets them apart, is the fact that web designers are responsible for the aesthetics of the website and handle the creative visuals geared towards providing users with welcoming looking and easy-to-use pages. While the web developers build a website’s core structure using programming languages and best website development trends, breathing life into the vision set by a web designer.

Both are equally important in making a responsive yet beautiful website. Hence, you will find both of them working together in a Professional software development services in Houston on a project, combining their expertise and skills.

So let’s dive into the details where we discuss the following:

  • A general overview of their duties.
  • The kinds of web developers and designers available.

What Is a Web Designer?

A web designer as discussed briefly above is mainly responsible for the visuals part of the website, ensuring that it looks stylish and good using various design tools and software like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, CorelDraw, FrontPage, and others. They also have coding skills that are aimed towards the design aspect of the website – so many web designers code their design ideas into reality.

Job details of a web designer

  • Taking care of the overall design aspects of the website and making sure they are performance-optimized.
  • Communicating with the developers and assisting them with the designs of individual pages and more.
  • Responsible for the overall user experience through the visuals of the website.
  • Lead various design activities that include advertising, catalogs of the products, and more.
  • Creating prototypes of designs.

This is a generic outline of various activities that a web designer is involved in. However, there are different types of web designers specializing in a certain area of web design. We discussed three main kinds that exist in the market and what each handles – so you know what to look for according to your site’s needs.

1) UX designer (User Experience designer)

As the name suggests, UX designer is responsible in making the visitors enjoy using your site – it is all about the experience the site provides to the user. Take your own example for this. You browse through an online store with a certain item in mind. You open the site, you look for the search bar or category section to directly jump to your item and buy whatever suits your need by adding to the cart. How easy and smooth was this entire experience, is what a UX designer is responsible for.

UX designer thinks from the user’s perspective of the website and is generally the person translating user needs to the developers. But that isn’t it, there are many activities that a UX designer is involved in. They are:

  • User Research-The first and foremost activity that cannot be skipped, as it is the foundation of all other design tasks to follow. So user research involves identifying user needs, requirements, users’ pain points, and ultimate goals that need to be achieved. In addition to this, UX designers also conduct competitive analysis, identify any technical barriers, and ample prototyping of the design.
  • Designing the Website- This doesn’t include the visual aspect of the pages but is concerned with the usability, accessibility, and user ease.
  • UX Copy- Yes, writing content on the user interface that helps the user understand the website better and provides easy navigation is also one of the responsibilities of the UX designer.
  • Prototyping the Design- Testing is a crucial phase of any product development cycle. And letting users interact with the design prototype helps in identifying problems, missing features, or anything that needs restructuring.

You get the basic idea about how important UX designer’s job is. If the experience a website provides is practical and easy – the users are bound to re-visit, increasing your site’s traffic.

2) UI Designer (User Interface Designer)

By now, you must have understood that UI and UX are a part of the same group, co-existing to make a website work as best as it can. UI or User Interface are the actual elements of the website that users interact with to achieve a goal – let’s call them tangible visual points like a button. A UI designer is concerned with each and every screen the user will be interacting with:

  • Designing every screen and its layout.
  • Determining the elements required to make successful interactions (buttons, icons, scrollbars, color schemes, tags, text fields, progress bars, and more)
  • How those elements will be placed, how close, how far, etc.
  • Making design responsive for different screen sizes.
  • Creating animations when necessary

These were some of the many activities carried out by a UI designer, and throughout the entire journey, they work closely with a UX designer. Yes, they too are involved in prototyping through wireframes and mood boards before finalizing the design.

3) UI/UX Designer Combined

They are masters of both and are responsible for not only the creative visual aspect of the website, but bear the burden of creating the best user experience. So they have the skills of both a UI and a UX designer. They are also oftentimes visualizers of a brand’s style, and then design the entire experience along with the visuals themselves.

Now, you have the idea of what a web designer is, their kinds, and types of roles they fulfill – You should  know that a great UI/UX design has great impacts on your business.

What Is a Web Developer?

These guys are responsible in building the infrastructure of the website. You can’t have website’s beautifully designed screens without a functioning website to place them in, now can you? So developers are the coding gurus that use programming languages like JavaScript, JQuery, and PHP to craft a seamless website that web designers then bring to life by placing their visuals and designs into.

Again, just like various kinds of web designers, there are dedicated developers building different parts of the website.

1) Back-end Developer

The core-structure or the foundation of the website is its backend; the part that is not visible to the users; it deals with the coding on theweb servers and databases. These programmers are skilled in back-end programming languages like PHP, JAVA, Ruby, Python, C#, SQL, etc. Moreover, they have to keep user-experience in mind as well by writing cohesive and optimized, ensuring maximum functionality and responsive website.

2) Front-end Developer

Also known as the client-side development, is concerned with the web design of the site, building frameworks that users interact with and see. It is developed using languages like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

3) Full-Stack Developers

As the name suggests, they have the skills of the entire stack that includes front end technology, back end development, databases, server, API, and version controlling systems. Full-stack developers are not masters of all technologies but a professional full-stack developer is expected to work on both – the client-side and the server-side as well.

Basically, they are experts in all areas concerning web development.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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