What’s the difference between Web Designer and Web Developer? Which one does your business need?

Digital marketing and Industry 4.0 have revolutionized the business world; the leap to the network of networks is undeniable and for that reason is that most businesses already have their online corner. Given the importance of these sites, both web design and web development are two of the most in-demand professions today.

Although these two careers are apparently similar and somewhat related, the truth is that they have marked differences; while web developers are in charge of the structure of the website, its operation and optimization, designers are in charge of the visual part of the website.

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Differences between a Web Designer and a Web Developer

While web design refers to the aesthetic part of the construction of the site and its usability; the developer is dedicated to convert the design into a functional website.

The first of these professionals uses web design tools according to their preference, some of these within the Adobe suite such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator or Adobe XD.

The second also uses sophisticated tools, such as integrated development environments, although the truth is that there are many old-school web developers who are able to do wonders from a simple text editor, simply by making use of their knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP.

Who is a Web Designer?

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A web designer is a professional whose job is to define the style, form, usability and visual appearance of a website, so it is important that he/she masters a wide variety of creative, graphic and technical skills as well as being aware of current trends and the tastes of the target user (a mastery of marketing is essential) to whom the website is focused.

The primary objective of a Web Designer is to make the site visually pleasing, easy to interact with, harmonious and distinctive, always oriented to what you want to convey in order to achieve the retention of Internet users who enter the web, that is, making them stay browsing the web as long as possible.

Their function does not end there, but these professionals are also responsible for building and incorporating in the web design elements that generate conversion, calls to action (CTA) and that the design of the web page is "responsive", that is, that its translation to different devices (PC, mobile, tablet, etc.) does not ruin the design, but adapts to the dimensions of the screen or characteristics of the device.

A web designer should specialize in one or more areas of Web Design:

User experience is the main focus of this type of Web Design. Designing a site that visitors feel comfortable navigating and providing a positive experience is the main goal. This work requires a lot of research, test gathering and data analysis necessary for the optimal design approach.

In the process of designing a website, designers specializing in user interface play a key role. Their objective is to prioritize the interactions of internet users with the elements and pages of the site, improving its usability and optimizing it.

Their job boils down to optimizing web templates, combining UX and UI design elements to ensure that the interface is pleasant and easy to use.

Skills of a Web Designer:

A good web designer must be able to meet the client's objectives for their website when it comes to diagramming the architecture of the website elements, starting with prototyping and then initiating the design phase. In other words, one of the main skills of a Web Designer is the organization that he/she must maintain during his/her work, respecting the procedures in order to obtain an optimal result.

The basic principles that must be followed to achieve the above can be summarized in three:

Unity: It is the relationship between the parts that make up the website template, visually organizing the information and grouping the different elements according to their category.

Balance: Balance must be maintained both in the layout of the elements that make up the website and between the colors and graphic elements to be used.

Contrast: In order to attract the user's attention, the web designer must be able to choose elements that contrast with each other and maintain visual harmony.

Other skills needed by a good web designer are:

How do I know if I need a Web Designer?

If you find that you need to redesign your website, edit photos or videos and even build new graphic elements or get a professional's opinion about the ones you already have, you should contact a professional web designer to guide you, guide you and work according to your needs.

Who is a Web Developer?

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A web developer is a professional who is responsible for creating and maintaining the proper functioning of the structure of a website and its main task is to convert the design delivered by the web designer in a functional and optimized site; using their knowledge in programming languages and frameworks and useful tools to carry out their work in the best possible way. 

As the role of a web developer involves extensive technical work, including the use of coding, database management and advanced programming languages, being able to identify the skills that one should possess is a basic requirement before hiring one. 

These skills are diverse and differ according to the development environment in which one is working.

As with web designers, there are several areas in which a web developer can specialize, these are:

Front-End Web Developer:

Web developers specialized in Front End are mainly dedicated to the coding of the site through programming languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript (although others may be involved), as well as making use of CMS, which are nothing more than content management systems, such as WordPress, for example, which is one of the most famous nowadays.

The programming of the visual elements with which the user will interact is also part of the work of this specialist.

Back-End Web Developer:

This type of developer is in charge of everything that happens behind the scenes, i.e. what users do not interact with directly. The work of the Back End Web Developer consists of coding the databases and the server itself using advanced languages such as PHP, Java, Ruby and SQL.

Full-Stack Web Developer:

A web developer is considered Full-Stack when they are dedicated to programming both Front End and Back End of a website. They are fully proficient in both phases of development and understand how each part works separately and as a whole.

These professionals are fully proficient in both of the above two types of web development, making them the most complete and acclaimed web developers today.

  Skills of Web Developers:

The minimum skills that a professional web developer must have to be able to perform their duties are as follows: 

Proficient in advanced programming languages for database and server-side coding as well as Front End website development such as HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript and others.

How do I know if I need a web developer?

Before you consider contacting a web developer you should identify the needs of your business. If you need to optimize the SEO of your website to improve its organic positioning, if you need to fix a problem with the server (if the page loads slowly, if it is saturated, if it is down, etc.), if you need to add a new section to the page, such as a form or a comment session, or if you are interested in developing a mobile or web application, then you need to call one of these professionals as soon as possible.

The main reason why both terms are sometimes so blurred is because of the generic use of the term web design, which is linked to the whole process of creating a website; or when we generally talk about web development, without taking into account that we must start from a design. Both terms, as you have read, apply to different processes of building a website and individually require specialized and unique skills, as both professionals are involved in different stages.

Which of these professionals should your business need?

We have already made it clear that the web designer is the professional in charge of defining the visual aspect of a web page, while the web developer is in charge of translating all of the above through the different programming languages that he/she must master to do his/her job.