The difference between a web designer and web developer

No matter how tempting it is to refer to website designer and website developer as the same job, they cannot be deemed such. Website developers and website designers work on the same team, but they have vastly different roles. One makes a website run and the other makes it look beautiful.

Web Developer
Website developers deal with the technical and functional aspects of a website. They know languages like PHP, Java, C#, Ruby and JavaScript. They test the site for compatibility between the different languages and software platforms. Developers handle the programming, security, hosting and other behind the scene parts of a website. They make the website tick and function. Building sites is like building a house. The website developer is the engineering and construction team. He or she will lay the foundation, build the framework of the website, put in the doors, drywall, electrical wiring and plumping and make sure it is sound and secure.

Website visitors rarely directly see the part the developers contribute to a website, rather only the results when everything runs smoothly. Should anything go wrong with a website the web developer is the person who can help.

Web Designer
Web designers are the interior designers of the website world. At least, they are when you compare them to website developers. Website designers use the principles of design to make their choices on website appearance. Additionally, customer interaction and perception guide a web designer’s choices. Designers make the website look and feel fabulous.  Often, businesses and blogs want to attract a certain type of customer or have a design that appeals to a certain demographic. Designers consider usability, placement of content. Designers deal with the content, color, layout and text.

Despite the implication that web design is all about appearance, website designers should also have a working knowledge of HTML and CSS. The placement of content, graphics and navigation has to be coded into the site. Designers are also versed in graphic design software, like Photoshop. These technical aspects are a part of the job.

Website designers and web developers are vastly different occupations. I would suggest you ensure the company you select has a mix of each. Both are important however, a good developer is hard to come by and as projects grow, change and clients need customisation, a skilled developer is essential.

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