Web Development

The Difference Between Website Developers and Website Designers

Need a website created for your business but don’t know where to start?

You know there are Website Developers and Website Designers, but is there a difference? And do you need one or the other… or both?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, here’s what you need to know…

What does a Web Designer do?

A Web Designer’s job is to make the website look amazing. They focus on the overall look and feel while also ensuring the site is easy to use and will keep visitors hooked.

Using Photoshop or similar software, they create the visual elements for the site. These elements will be created using the brand colours and fonts as well as choosing imagery that “speaks” to the target market. Coding such as HTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are used to create the front-end design.

Within Web Design, you’ll find a few ‘specialities’ – here is the break down:

  • User Experience (UX) Designer

The role of the UX Designer is to “get into the mind” of the audience and craft a website that is enjoyable to use. By completing thorough research they find out the needs and wants of the target market and create a website design that “speaks” to that audience. If visitors enjoy a website and feel like their questions have been answered, then they are more likely to recommend and come back!

  • User Interface (UI) Designer

A UI web designer helps to improve the way users interact with elements on a website.This ensures the website is intuitive and easy to navigate so that less people click away from the site and more people stay engaged for longer. For example, have you ever been on a website and searched and searched for a specific button or item only to get frustrated and leave? These are the issues that the UI Designer focuses on eliminating.

  • Visual Designer

A visual designer is a master of all web design skills using a mixture of both UX and UI skills. Their job is to conceptualise a brand’s style or tone of voice while also improving the user journey and solving any design issues.

Once the website concept has been finalised, they hand it to the Web Developer to turn it into a functioning website.

What does a Web Developer do?

Web Developers are the nuts and bolts guys. If the Web Designer is like the Architect, then the Web Developer is the Builder. They create the back-end of a website using complex coding such as JavaScript, SQL or C# to create the framework for the website. They make the pretty ‘face’ or design of your website actually work and function as it should.

Just like with Web Designers, there are also specialty roles when it comes to Web Developers:

  • Back-end Developer

The back-end of the website is the hidden part where the core structure is designed. It involves coding on web servers and databases, not on the browser (front-end). The developers use complex software languages like Java, SQL and C# to create logical, functional websites. They also spend a lot of time testing and fixing bugs.

–          Front-end Developer

Also known as client-side development, front-end developers use their coding skills to build frameworks the user can actually interact with. They use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create things the user can see and use, like contact forms.

–          Full-stack developer

A full-stack developer is an expert in all areas, working across both the front and back-end of a website giving you the full-package in one.

So, there you have it, the many ‘roles’ within the website world… But, how do you know which to choose from?

You are also probably thinking – why can’t I just DIY?

There are various web-building platforms out there for a DIY option, and if you have the time to dedicate to learning the new skill of website building, troubleshooting and maintenance, then it’s definitely an option.

But, as with everything in life – you get what you pay for!

If you do want to try the DIY-route, it is important to be aware of some of the limitations and long-term problems that might occur:

  1. The problem with plugins

A plugin is a piece of software that can be added to a website to extend the functionality or add a feature to a website. Plugins are developed by people all over the world and can be installed for free, bought outright or as a monthly subscription. The problem with relying on plugins, as opposed to having a developer code a solution for your website, is that if an issue arises, the support you will receive from the plugin developer may vary, especially when using a free plugin.

Problems are likely to occur when you upgrade your site software only to find that the plugins start breaking because they haven’t been tested for compatibility.

If you have a lot of plugins and they start breaking, then getting in touch with multiple support teams can be very time consuming.

Too many plugins will also slow down your site speed. The more you add, the slower your site will become. Poor site speed can be detrimental to sales, as people will quickly move on to another site when they are left waiting for pages to load.

  1. User Experience Limitations

Visitors have short attention spans so it’s important to stand out from the crowd and make sure that their experience is easy and the site makes a quick impact. When you choose an off-the-shelf website there is usually only so much customising you can do. This means that, while you may have a beautiful looking site, if the user experience is not taken into consideration you will lose valuable leads/customers.

  1. Time!

As a business owner you only have a small window of time between customer service, invoicing and all the other day-to-day requirements. Maintaining and trouble-shooting can be very time consuming when building a website yourself.

In summary:

Building a beautiful and functional website from scratch requires both a designer and a developer if you want it to give your business the most long-term value and ROI.

When you go with a team who can design and develop a website specifically for you, you can quickly hand over any issues or development requirements. This means you will not have to spend your time fixing issues yourself or getting stuck with the web builder’s limitations.

Want the best of both worlds? Here at Frog Online we do both design and development!

If you need a website professionally developed to help you stand out online, just talk to our team today.