I recall in my early stages of web development training how I found myself constantly confused about the distinctions between design and development. What’s the job of a web designer? What’s involved in working with web design? Our web design and web development the same thing?
The simple answer to that would be no. The role of each of them is completely different from the other. But let’s look at the different roles and approaches, both the web designer and the web developer.
Think of web designers as those who turn an idea or concept into a visually appealing template, and use their layout to create user experience across the entire website. They’re planning the look and feel of the website. As an architect could create a plan for your house before starting to build it, a web designer could model the architecture of your website before the web developer could start developing it.
Web designers have a difficult role that is often overlooked. They need to incorporate the best user experience possible into their projects and create a user-friendly environment. They need to change the idea from writing to a usable design and interface that attracts the attention of the user. A website cannot be represented as fantastic if a proper development plan has not been implemented in the early stages of the project. Nowadays, web designers are valued at the same level as web developers, because without a great user interface or layout, the product can not really be enjoyed by the user.
Web designers have developed a catalog of technical strategies for themselves. You don’t just create a perfect website right after reading and talking about the requirements or features you want. You begin with the scope — the focal point and the intention of the website. You’d have a rough idea of the designs in your mind first and start with a sketch or concept draft. Through sketching, web designers switch to wireframes, mock-ups, and final design. Professional web designers create the entire website into design components, with a flawless pixel arrangement for all web pages, icons, typography, and other intricate features.
These are some of the main roles of a web designer:
- Using software tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Framer, or Sketch to create the final design of the website.
- Have good skills in graphic design and design of the logo
- Have a good feeling for user experience, to identify the simplest approach possible to achieve the desired function. This includes the layout, the buttons, the pictures and the general format of the website.
- Web designers need to keep up to date with the latest design trends. It is also important to maintain the continuity of layout that is common with other internet giant companies, such as Google and Facebook. It makes the website layout and software easier to navigate and use, as the user’s eyes already know.
- Web designers must also take into account the layout of the website, the color palettes to be used, and the typography and readability of the website.
Think of web developers as those who transform designs into a live website. Web developers use web languages and software tools to create the design and functionality of a website. Remember that web developers are further divided into two sub-categories: front-end developers and back-end developers. I see front-end developers as a bridge between web designers and back-end developers, because having a little knowledge of both, would make it possible for the front-end developer to create a fully functioning website. The front-end designer is the one who designs the GUI and provides the design as an interaction between the back-end of the website and the client.
Back-end developers are the ones who control the information and requests of the client. Typically a website needs back-end infrastructure when it includes dynamic information. It includes, for instance, users submitting a personal data form (such as creating an account) or saving an article on your blog page. Typically, if the website needs the information to be stored and made available at a later stage, it would also require a server link. Database connections are made possible by a direct connection to the server itself. Therefore, the back-end programmer uses client languages such as PHP or ASP.NET and writes database queries using languages such as SQL or MySQL.
Here are some of the main roles of a web developer:
- Develop the actual interface through which the user communicates with the website. This software was designed by front-end developers using HTML, CSS, and JS languages.
- Front-end developers provide a markup template for back-end developers so that they can set up a complex website and upload all the required data to the server and databases.
- Back-end programmers use languages such as PHP and MySQL to build the foundation of the website.
- Both front-end and back-end developers can use the same development environments or IDEs (Integrated Development Environments). These are software application tools where you code and create a website structure.
- Web developers may also use versioning software to preserve the history of previous builds. This will help them move quickly and effortlessly back to the previous “unbroken” version if necessary.
What does a full-stack developer do?
Full-stack developers are those who have a good knowledge of all the design areas mentioned above. This means that if you are a full-stack developer, you should be able to build a website from scratch, from looking at the layout to making a project mark-up, to managing back-end processes, and server queries. Normally a full-stack developer would also have basic knowledge of development and user experience. Being a full-stack developer does not mean that you need to be an expert on all languages. It’s difficult to become an expert or a specialist in just one of the languages. It is also difficult to learn all the best techniques and methods to be the most successful in all the fields we discussed above. It is also difficult to learn all the best techniques and strategies to be most effective in all the areas we discussed above. Note, web technologies are changing on a daily basis.
Having a basic knowledge of everything about the internet is always a bonus, but I suggest that you stick with the one you love the most, and concentrate on becoming an expert on it. When you feel comfortable designing the front-end and back-end, you can devote more time to those areas that need more focus.
I hope you will now have a better understanding of the difference between the positions of web developers and web designers. Keep in mind that both of them have critical positions, and that the internet would not exist without one or the other. I can promise you that nothing will be simpler than the rest of my life. Working full-time as a front-end developer, and working frequently with both designers and back-end developers, has shown me that all the positions we’ve just addressed have their own peculiarities in one way or another. Only keep in mind that concentrating on one language at first is the best way to get started. Once you get excited and take the first step, the rest is going to be less of a struggle.
Thank you so much for reading!
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