Web Designers vs Web Developers

Bree Emmerson Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Q: What is the difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer?

The short answer: Web designers are responsible for creating the ‘look’ of your website while Web Developers are responsible for building the website from those designed files.

A common misconception some people have is that these are one in the same when in fact they are two very different processes and are typically done by different people. However, as more time goes on some designers and developers alike are taking the initiative to provide both web services.

Today, we’ll look at some of the various website services freelance web designers and web developers offer, stay tuned for more web design and web development information.


Web Design

If you need a brand new website or are looking to have an existing website updated and relaunched, you will need a Web Designer.

For the most part, a designer will communicate with you about website structure and navigation, color palettes and themes, fonts and imagery and other information about how your website will look and display its information. From that point on, your designer will most likely work in a program such as Photoshop, creating design comps – screenshot images of your website.

Tip: Ask your designer if they will comp multiple page layouts for you to see the full effect of your website. On average, websites use 2 or more different page layouts including one for the home page and alternate interior pages that make use of full page or varied columned layouts.

While its important to have an understanding of a sitemap, navigation and page functionality, many designers will use “Lorem ipsum set dolor…” ‘dummy text’ and stock photography in their design comps. These images and text act as placeholders to where your original content and copy will sit once the design is approved and your website is in the process of being built.


Web Development

With the exception of extra graphics, changes or communication needed later, web designers’ jobs typically end once the design comp is approved for development. Unless your web designer is also skilled in website development, you will need to find a web developer.

A web developer takes the approved design comp, which is usually a layered .PSD file, and slices up the design into blocks of graphics which are then used in the coding process to turn the picture of a website into an actual functioning website!

Tip: You, your designer and your developer should work together during the processes or make sure that both parties understand what you expect out of your website during the quoting process. Your designer may design a social media network feed into your home page design but your developer needs to anticipate building that functionality and programming.

When looking for a website developer, you will need to consider the functionality and interaction your website is meant to have. At the very least, your website will need to be developed with standard, browser-compliant HTML and CSS coding languages. If your website incorporates animation to some extent, you will need to make sure your developer knows this as Flash is a time sensitive process, or often, the functionality you want may be used by means other than Flash, such as jQuery or JavaScript.

If your website requires advanced programming such as content management and database systems or e-commerce and various other functionalities, this is important information that should be made aware up front – but at that point, we’re venturing into the next chapter; Web Developers vs Web Programmers, which we’ll have to save for another day! 😉

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