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What’s the difference between a web designer and a web developer?

Creating engaging websites takes a range of skills and competencies. Various people may be involved in the development process, carrying out different tasks to create the perfect website for the client.

Two of the key roles are those of web designer and web developer. What is the difference between the two, what are their roles and responsibilities and how do they work together to create a website?

Web designer vs web developer

The two roles of web designer and web developer are actually very different.  A web designer is a graphic artist who will develop and style objects for the internet. They will be responsible for the visual design, layout and usability of the website. They must possess an array of skills that are both creative and technical.

A web developer is responsible for building and maintaining the core structure of a website. It’s their job to turn that web design into a functional website. To do this they will make use of coding languages.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a web designer?

The role of a web designer is principally concerned with creating the layout and the visual aspects of a website. They will be concerned to ensure that the site is visually appealing, as well as user friendly. A user friendly and attractive website can encourage visitors to stay for longer, increasing the chances of generating a conversion. They will want to consider how well the different design elements work across various devices and will need to ensure that the design reflects current design trends and best practices.

Web designers will often want to incorporate brand imagery as well as considering which fonts and colour palettes will best complement a particular website and brand. They may also create a web design style guide for the brand to ensure consistency across different websites.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a web developer?

A web developer is concerned with the core structure of the website. If a website were a building project, the developers job would be to construct a strong cohesive framework for the internal fixtures and fittings to be installed based on the plans they received from the architect.

It’s the same with a website. The web developer ensures that the website has a strong, bug-free structure that will provide a reliable framework for the website.

Web developer is a highly technical role. It’s their job to take the concepts, plans and ideas and turn them into a fully-functioning website. They will construct the website itself, coding and configuring the server and databases. They will also add user features and ensure overall functionality.

Web developers will also perform all the necessary tests to ensure that the website is free of bugs and working as it should. They may also provide a range of services after the website has been launched such as ongoing maintenance and support and dealing with any server or hosting issues.

How do web designers and web developers work together?

The two roles of web designer and web developer are complementary and both are essential for creating a website that is both functional and compelling. A web designer will concentrate broadly on the overall aesthetics of the website, while web developers will look at the logistics. The former is essentially working on the visible, ‘front-of-house’, aspects of the website while the web developer is responsible for the ‘back office’ aspects without which the website couldn’t function.

It’s important to remember, however, that both the web designer and web developer are working towards the same goal. The final product cannot be achieved without the contribution of both a web designer and web developer. Because of this, there’s always likely to be a high-level of communication and collaboration between the different professionals involved in delivering a website project.

How to identify whether you need a designer or developer for your existing website?

If you already have an existing website which you’re looking to update then you may be wondering whether you require the services of a web designer or a web developer for what you have in mind.  Whether you need either or both will depend on a number of factors and what your motivations are for updating your website.

If you’re primarily concerned about how your website looks and are seeking a creative update to make it more appealing to visitors, then it could be that you need the services of a designer. They will explore how your website works with your current branding and if that branding might need updating to reflect your changing priorities. Also, it’s worth remembering that any significant makeover of your website might involve changes to the overall layout and structure. If any changes are substantial, then this may require the services of a web developer.

If the changes you’re making are more about the ongoing functionality and maintenance of your website, then a web developer could be more appropriate. They can explore if there are any technical issues with your website such as how easy it is to navigate or accessibility problems on mobile devices.

In most cases, any significant website makeover is likely to require the services of both a web designer and web developer working together.

Dawn Creative can take care of your website makeover

At Dawn Creative, we have all of the skills necessary to create, revamp and maintain user-friendly websites. Whether your project requires a web designer, developer or both then we can give your website a makeover that gets results.

Call 0161 711 0910 or email to find out more.

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