While web developers and web designers work together to make websites both beautiful and functional, they play very different roles within the process. So, what’s the difference between a web developer and a web designer, and which should you hire for your project? Let’s first start with the basics, shall we?
Web Designer vs. Web Developer: Who Does What?
Before you decide which type of professional is right for your project, it’s important to understand the difference between design and development as well as the roles played by a web developer vs. designer.
When considering the meaning of design vs. development, think about it like this: web designers are the creative visionaries; web developers are the engineers. Of course, the difference between a web designer and web developer isn’t quite that simple, but that gives you the general gist.
Designers may have some of the skills required to actually build a website, but their expertise lies in determining what that website should look like, how it should function, and why that is the case. A developer, on the other hand, is the one in charge of making that creative vision a reality. They have the technical knowledge needed to build a fully functional website in the image intended by the designer.
That said, web design and web development are pretty broad fields. They cover all aspects of creating a website, after all. Within each field you’ll find a few specialties.
Types of Web Design
While not “web designers,” per se, graphic designers create images for use in websites. They utilize specific software, like Photoshop, to bring your vision to life.
User experience (UX) design is concerned with effectively and efficiently meeting the needs of the website’s target audience. Broadly, UX designers consider how a user will feel while interacting with a website, and then they act on that knowledge to provide the best experience possible.
User interface (UI) design is primarily focused on how to make the UX designer’s vision a reality. UI designers figure out how to use visual elements – elements of the interface – to communicate intended meaning to the user.
Types of Web Development
Back End Developers
Back-end developers handle everything behind the screen. This includes building and managing technology which allows a website to function, such as servers and databases.
Front End Developers
A front-end developer creates the exterior look of the website. They essentially turn all of the back-end data into something that users on the other end of the screen can easily understand.
Full Stack Developers
Full stack developers are able to work on both the front and back end of a website.
Web Design vs. Web Development: Which Do You Need?
Now that you understand how the roles of a web designer and web developer differ, which one should you hire?
Hire a designer when you need:
- Creation of logos, banners, buttons, or other custom images
- To make your current website more user friendly
- To build a basic, aesthetically pleasing, functional website
- Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
- Basic search engine optimization (SEO)
Hire a developer when you need:
- To make your distinctive vision a reality
- A mobile-first strategy
- Unique effects such as hovering, scrolling, etc.
Hire a design and development team when you need:
- To build a new site from scratch
- A significant improvement in SEO
- To launch a mobile app
Tips for Hiring a Web Developer or Designer
Regardless of who you choose to hire, it’s important to be clear about what you need this person or team to accomplish. Before you start looking for a web developer or web designer, have the following ready:
- A basic mockup of your idea, if you have a clear (or even a rough) vision.
- A list of colors, font styles, textures, etc. that work for your brand.
- A list of “must-haves” for your website.
- A deadline.
Hungry Media Has It All!
With Hungry Media you don’t have to decide whether you need a web designer vs. a web developer. We’ve got it all and can work with you through each of the steps involved in building your dream website or app.
Whether you’re looking to optimize what you’ve already got or start something totally new from scratch, our unique approach allows us to uncover your needs in detail and provide you with the best options to get your project across the finish line. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with all of your web design and development needs.
contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer