The difference between web designers and web developers is often misunderstood. They both make a living off the same type of business. They contribute to creating websites but their specializations and skill sets are different. Web designers and web developers often work together as well. Instead of being competitive, they are complementary.
In this post, I’ll show you the difference between web designers and web developers. This will help you figure out whether you need to hire a designer or developer for the website you want to create. I’ll start off by defining both professions. Then, I’ll continue by taking a look at how they work together. I’ll also share the average hourly rates you’d need to pay to hire a web designer or developer. And to top it off, I’ll discuss how both professions overlap.
Web designers keep themselves busy with everything that has to do with the aesthetics of a website. Besides that, usability and user experience while designing are equally as important, if not more important. Web designers don’t just ‘design,’ they have to think about a lot of things during the process. A few of those things are the current trends, the design norms and fore mostly, the target audience behaviour. It’s not just about what’s appealing to the eye. In most cases, it’s more about what kind of designs will help trigger the right actions from visitors. And when all that is researched and analysed, the design has to match the branding of the company in question as well.
So, it goes without saying that being a web designer is as much about designing as it is about psychologically understanding what you’re designing and making sure it will do what’s expected from it. It’s an addition to great company branding and helps create another funnel for companies.
A web designer usually handles the first stage of creating a website. They think about what a website needs and how it needs to be set up. This information is vital when being passed on to a web developer.
A web developer contributes to the second stage of creating a website. When the entire structure and expectations are set, a web developer can start putting things into practice. And even here, you can have different types of web developers as well. When hiring or becoming a web developer, you can take your pick between these three options:
- Backend Developer – A backend developer, on the other hand, takes care of the backend of a website. Making everything work functionally is the main priority. Backend developers have very code-intensive days and need to make everything work with the frontend of a website. Often, this includes making an eCommerce website work or have membership websites up and running.
- Full Stack Developer – Full stack developers are the best of both worlds. They take care of both the backend and frontend of a website. In many cases, this makes the workflow easier.
How do They Work Together?
Web designers and developers work closely together. Both specializations contribute to the bigger picture which is having a website up and running that matches the client’s needs. If a web designer and a web developer are working together, they usually start off with a detailed briefing. This briefing is a crucial part of the entire process. If the communication between a web designer and developer isn’t on point, it will lead to misinterpretation and bad UI.
A web designer usually shares the following information with a frontend web developer:
- Page mockups and/or design files
- Functionality needs
- CSS properties of design elements (such as padding, margin, colour, spacing and more)
But if you want a web designer and developer to be entirely on the same page, it’s recommended that the developer is somehow involved in the design process. That doesn’t mean you have to involve the developer in every step of the way, though. It can really help to include them in initial brainstorming and design reviews, for instance.
Now, depending on the type of website you create and the budget you have, you might not be able to afford to hire both a web designer and developer for a project. If that’s the case, you might want to go with a so-called ‘hybrid’ designer or developer. These hybrids are involved in both design and development and can help you set up a website from scratch, both design and development wise, in no time. They often work with CMS platforms, such as WordPress, as well. It allows them to finish a website quicker and it can help keep the client within his budget.
When you decide to outsource creating a website and you want to hire freelancers, you’ll most likely wonder if you should hire a web designer or developer. These two professions are often mixed up although they have a completely different skill set. To create a website, you’d technically need both. But there are many people out there that offer both services at the same time.
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In this post, I’ve handled some of the differences between web designers and developers and gave some thoughts on how they work together.