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All Articles
Nov 18
Web Design
Eric Phung

Web Designer & Web Developers: Knowing the Main Differences

First, let us get you out of the confused zone of determining between choosing a web designer or web developer for your next projects. Here is your full & down to Earth guide. First of all, we know not everyone has expertise in web development. Therefore, having a little bit of confusion between a web developer and a web designer is completely normal. Both of them have quite a familiar task, in all means, creating a website that users can interact with and do stuff on. Next, in this blog, we’ll walk you right through that confusion, and clear out all definitions of these 2 roles. This will help you have a clear vision of who to work with on your coming projects. And last but not least, we'll help you reduce all the miscommunications that usually happen with one of them. Moreover, you can work together smoothly like butter.

Web Designer & Web Developers: Knowing the Main Differences

Aren’t web designers and web developers the same? 

To some extent, yes. However, when you have a good understanding of both roles, they have strong differences when it comes to skill sets and usual tasks. 

Website design and development are critical for nearly all businesses, or whoever wants to maintain an online presence. Further, they work closely together, and in some cases, can be done by 1 person in a company. Likewise, these 2 roles require programming (coding) knowledge, but on many levels. For example, both come along with analytical and problem-solving skills. Moreover, web designers lean on the art aspect, while web developers are more about technical work. 

In short, they have similarities, but the differences in tasks are massive. Now let’s dive into the details about each one! 

In the life of a Web Designer

Firstly, web designer actually does code, but their main responsibility revolves around creating (or well, designing) website layout and visual elements. So if you want an eye-pleasing website, then these people are the ones you should work with. 

Secondly, their goal is to make sure the visual of an entire site is visually gorgeous and user-friendly and encourage users to stay and click around the longer the better. Next, make sure the website elements and visuals are well distributed in many different screen sizes is also what they do. Thus, web designers often work with brand imagery, color palettes, fonts, and many design elements, which lead to mock-ups that affect how developers code the website. 

Types of Web Designers

Currently, there are 3 types of web designers, divided due to their specific aspects of delivered work. Certainly, these 3 types are: 

  • User Experience (UX) 
  • User Interface (UI)
  • Visual

Core skill sets of web designers

That is to say, a designer to successfully deliver great products to clients, there are a variety of skills that they need to acquire. For instant, some of the most important skills are: 

  • Fluent in HTML & CSS 
  • Principles of web design & accessibility understanding
  • Interactive and responsive design
  • CRO - Conversion rate optimization
  • Mapping user journey
  • Developing wireframe & prototype
  • Branding & graphic design
  • Design tools 

Most importantly, web designers also require many critical non-technical skills like strong communication skills, teamwork. Lastly and of course, time management. 

Daily tasks

Subsequently, here is what’s going on on a daily basis for web designers: 

  • Creating wireframe
  • Design icons, banners, logos, and CTA buttons
  • Design a site’s function and navigation
  • Decide how users interact with a site (UI/UX) 
  • Develop all visual elements and appearance for a website
  • Optimize the site’s structure and navigation for many screen sizes

Let’s get to know Web Developers

While a web designer polished the outer layer of a website with all visual elements, then a developer's job is to build the structure and core workflow of a website. As a result, most of their jobs revolve around technical work, coding, and using advanced programming languages. They took concepts from designers and make them functional websites. 

First, after we look deeper into the job description of web developers, we can see that their duties are all around coding, and testing in the back end of a website. Further, they also support and maintain server hosting issues.

Types of Web developers

Similarly, it’s a must for developers to master a handful of programming languages, and these will lead to their actual scope of work. Therefore, here are 3 types of developers: 

  • Front-end 
  • Back-end
  • Full-stack

Critical skills set of Web Developers

As we’ve mentioned, web developers are very crucial to creating a smoothly functional website. Certainly, their skills must be strong enough to fulfill such roles. Therefore, they need to know: 

  • Coding & programming languages (HTML, CSS, Javácript, PHP, C++, and so on)
  • Test and debug
  • Back-ends and maintain databases
  • CMS - Content Management Systems

Subsequently, these tasks might seem much less than one’s of designers, they’re complex and could take quite a while to master. Moreover, web developers must have some non-technical skills such as communication, analytical thinking, and a problem-solving mindset. 

Daily tasks

Last but not least, here are what you can expect from a web developer: 

  • Create and optimize the website according to layouts from web designers
  • Develop landing pages
  • Convert motion and action on a site to work smoothly on multiple platforms
  • Fix bugs and crashes
  • Editing elements to suit users' experience and interface
  • Test and troubleshoot problems on websites

Who should you choose for your project?

Let’s get you once and forever out of the massive topic of web developer vs web designer. To sum up, we'll put it down to projects (or client words), and make it simpler for you. 

Problems need work Web designer Web developer
Fix a bug on a web page nope yes
Navigation is a mess, need to fix for clearer browsing yes nope
Design/ or redesign for a better user experience yes nope
Create a landing page nope yes
Remove or edit elements nope yes
Make your website more eye-catching and visually pleasing yes 100% nope
Make your website workable on mobile or tablet yes (design layout) yes (code, code, code)
Plugins begin to conflict with website utility yes nope

Few last words

Finally, you’re good to go! This article has configured everything you need to know about the key differences between developers and designers. As a result, working on your next branding or eCommerce project will be much easier. 

However, the last thing we want you to keep in mind is the tasks listed above are complex and require variations of time and cost. It’s best to ask frankly to your web designers or developers who have their hands on these tasks. 

The good news is once they are done with their job, you’ll have a wonderful experience on your website. After that, you’re ready to attract customers and serve them to great satisfaction.