Web Designers and Web Developers—What’s the Difference?

graphic with various screens and analytics

Web Designers and Web Developers—What’s the Difference?

By now, most of us know that a fantastic business website is crucial to attracting and keeping new customers. To create one that really captures an audience’s attention, both a web designer and a web developer should be involved. But what, specifically, does each one do?

Web Designers

Web designers tend to focus on the more creative, user-facing (or front-end) parts of a website. They ensure the colors, typography, logos, and images work in harmony to produce a human-friendly experience—including making sure sites are functional and accessible for people with disabilities.

There are two kinds of designers: UX (user experience) and UI (user interface). UX designers conduct research into user demographics and use the resulting data to inform their design choices, while UI designers optimize users’ interaction with the website. How does this work in real life? Well, a UX designer might create wireframes, or basic architecture, for a site while a UI designer would home in on perfecting the buttons, drop-down boxes, photo carousels, and other visual elements.

Once the wireframes are created, they are usually passed on to the UI designer, who will make mockups that add the brand colors, typography, and other styling elements to the site.

Web Developers

While web designers can be considered the “architects” and “interior decorators” of a website, web developers are the “construction workers.” They take the blueprint (mockup created by the web designers) and then use coding and scripting languages to build the actual site and give it the required functionalities.

Web developers can be back-end, front-end, or full-stack (working on both ends of a website). “Back-end” refers to the web servers and databases on which these developers work. They build a website’s structure using complex programming languages.

Front-end developers, also called client-side developers, work on the elements of a website that the public will see. They often work with programs like WordPress and spend a good deal of time communicating with web designers to gather input on a site’s look.

Web designers and web developers, while working on completely different parts of a website, are often in communication with each other. A designer might check the developer’s work to make sure every component is user-friendly, while a developer might spend time on QA testing, debugging, and load time optimization to make sure the site works well.

All in all, technical expertise combined with great communication skills from both web designers and web developers guarantees a website’s success. Street Level Studio is eager to get to know your business so we can help you build yours.