Difference between a web designer and a web developer

by | Oct 12, 2022 | Web development

In large web agencies or software companies, you will find the role of the web designer and the web developer is held by two different people. At Four Stripes Digital we have combined these two roles into one. This means that our web designer and developer are the same people and like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to both scenarios. But first,

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

Without getting technical the best way to explain the difference is with an example. Think of an architect and a builder. The architect is the web designer and the builder is the web developer.

The role of the designer is to create the LOOK of the website ie. where to put photos, what photos to use, the colour pallet that needs to use, how the site flows, and putting things together so it makes sense for the site visitor, basically when you visit any website, before you click on anything, the face value impression you get is done by the designer.

The role of the developer is to take the final design created by the designer and put “stuff” behind the buttons to make it clickable and take you somewhere when you click, make text and photos shrink and grow as your screen size changes, allow visitors to interact with the website.

Both roles are essential to a website as a good-looking website becomes useless if you can click and navigate the website to find the things you need and vice versa. If the website is not the best looking but all the buttons and navigation work but gives the site visitor no enticing reason to want to navigate.

Can a web designer role and a web development role be done by the same person?

The short answer is yes.

We’ve decided to opt for this option as the benefits of having a single person working on a project from start to finish far out way the disadvantages. For example;

  • only one person works on a website build from start to finish
  • no conflicting design and development concepts
  • sometimes designers will drop functionality for the sake of ‘better’ design. Having the same person handle the two roles eliminates this completely
  • after go-live support is done in a shorter time frame

The list can go on.

Take aways

If you’re wondering what skill you need to grow or if you want to start with either of these roles, our recommendation is to learn both skills. In today’s age being able to master two skills in high demand will make you a commodity in the workplace. You will be a better designer if you understand the technicalities of how your design is going to work in the real world but you will also be a better developer when you understand the fundamentals of design and user experience.

Just remember, you are not building the website for yourself, you are building it for an audience.

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