Website Designer and Web Developer – The Difference

Website Designer and Web Developer – The Difference

Suppose you want a new website, you search the Internet and you find the terms Website Designer and Web Developer being used, is there any difference between these two roles or is it one in the same thing.

Let’s look a little deeper in the 2 roles and examine what approach to the Website Building Process they take.

A Website Designers Approach
A Website Designer communicates the visual aspect of what may be required by a Client in a visually appealing way by making use his creativity and skills. In simple terms, he is able to turn words into a graphical model doing so in a creative and skilful manner.

To help him do this, he will make use of certain software s and tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. However he does not do this in a random haphazard way, he follows a set of Design Principles so to get the best results possible.

In principle every website design always has a header, a body and a footer. This is the underlying structure of every website. The Website Designer will design images (or obtain them) and text and arrange this in a creative manner, always keeping in mind the stated objective

He will skilfully select the right:

  • Firstly he needs to – Understand The Objective

    This can be achieved by asking such questions as: Who will the Website be representing and who will be the target market? What is expected from the target audience in terms of engagement with the Website? What is the purpose of the Website? This point is extremely important as it sets the foundation of what follows after.

  • Translate into a Graphical User

    Pictures are worth 1000 words those 1000 words would be gibberish if they are not well arranged. The words that the visual element speaks need to be fluent

    • Colours: Colours are able to evoke emotions and can influence a person’s behaviour towards something. The website designer skilfully selects the set of colours (5 at most) that will achieve the intended purpose and compliment the design. Usually these colour are specified to him by the Client. These colours will form part of the overall theme. The choice of colours can influence the perceptions made about the overall website design. The Frontrow Design Studios Online Website makes use of 4 Colours.
    • Graphics: Images add pleasantness to the Website look and feel and so the Website Designer takes great care in selecting and arranging images across the Website Design. Once again these images may be obtained from the client, taken formstock images or custom designed. It’s not a matter of filling up the website with a whole lot of images – co, its skill and purpose
    • Typefaces: These are a set of fonts that are alike in design that the website design uses. Usually about 3). Their purpose is to communicate the message of the words in a subliminal way. In other words, they merely adorn the text without taking the glory. So in his selection of fonts the website designer does not want to take attention away from the words but rather to dress the words in a way that portrays the intended message. Once again the choice of typefaces is dependent on the overall objective
    • Placement: This principle controls all the ones discussed above. The Website Designer skilfully places and arranges the images and text onto the Website Design layout, keeping in mind that spacing is also important to ensure that everything is not cramped and uneasy on the eye.

As a principle the Website Designer always keeps in mind that it’s not just about a good looking website design, but that it’s also about the functionality of the website beyond design. So right from the onset at the design phase he would make sure to optimize the website design by scaling the images to an appropriate size. This will minimise loading times when it is coded and live

The result of the work of a Website designer is a graphical interface of the website.

A Website Developers Approach
A website Developer on the other hand approaches website building form the different angle. He will approach it from a technical point of view, and thinks of “How the website will work”. He takes over from where the Website Designer finishes. Like a Website Designer, the Web Developer needs to keep in mind the initial objective. This will aid him making use of the most suitable technologies to achieve the best results. Once he receives the graphical interface of the website, he uses programing languages such as PHP, java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and C# to code functionality into the website and make it interactive. By doing so, when you click contact button on the website, it responds by going to the contact page.

There are 3 sides to website development that a web developer deals with.

Client side: The web developer writes coded scripts that will enable the website to run and function on a web browser form the web server. Take a look at the moving slide on Frontrow Design Studios Online Website – in order for it slide through the images and fade as it does, it had to be coded using client side scripting. Similarly, if you scroll down, notice how the Frontrow Design Studios Online Logo changes. So the experience you get when you browse the website is a result of the web developers coding. In essence the coding runs after the website is loaded on your browser. E.g. HTML, JavaScript and jQuery

Server side: The web developer codes scripts that make the website useable behind the scenes. This coded script runs on the server that hosts the website, and not on your computer, hence the name Server side. Think of a website that requires you to login. The coding for that is on a web server and depending on your request, e.g. clicking “logon” it runs the script in response to your request, but in the back-end.

In conclusion what have we gathered?

A Website Designer meets a clients’ needs by designing the graphical user interface of the Website. He focuses on the look and feel of the website.

A Website Developer gives functionality to the website by means of coding languages. He focuses on the technical aspects of the website and makes sure it will be pleasant to navigate through as it performs in the required manner.

This clearly helps us see that, Yes! There is a difference between a Website Designer and a Web Developer. On a finer scale, the 2 roles do blend into each other. At some companies, such as Frontrow Design Studios Online the role of Website Designer and Web Developer are separate and both perform different functions. At other companies The Web Developer will build the website from the graphical interface to the coding (server side and client side as well as design the database)