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Mar 06, 2013

Website Designers vs. Website Developers – What’s the difference anyway?

Website Designers vs. Website Developers – What’s the difference anyway?

 

Design, Development; Tomato, Tomoto. What's the Big Diff Anyways? 

It’s a common misconception that the terms “web designer” and “web developer” can be used interchangeably. Throw in the term webmaster and it gets all the more confusing. Many people have the idea that a website designer can provide you with a turn-key website, with all the widgets, forms and functions that your heart desires.  What most people do not understand is that designers “design” and developers “develop”.  Makes total sense, right? Right.

 

Website Designers - What do you mean a web designer doesn’t build websites?!!

Web site designers hold a particular skill set which gravitates around graphic design. A web designer’s job is to create visually appealing site designs. Professional web designers take into consideration branding, navigation and usability when creating design options for a website. Their job is to create the graphical representation of a website.  Design is a crucial part of website development. Web design is what your audience sees and largely dictates the look, style and tenor of your site. It defines the personality of your website.  Having said that, it’s also important to understand that a websites design is purely visual, and development, while it is mostly unseen, is what provides the functionality of a website.

 

Website Developers- You mean to tell me that a web developer doesn’t design websites?!

Let’s pretend for a moment about that your website is a house. Try to think of the designer as the person who proposes concepts for the house and hands you the full color drawings of you soon-to-be home.  The web developer takes things from there. They are the architect and the contractors. They take the design concepts provided by the web designer and turn them into a functioning website. Web developers begin their process by laying out the architecture for your website. Once the framework is surveying laid, web developers begin to construct the things that make your website a website. They create functioning buttons and menus, fillable forms, photo galleries, etc., essentially breathing life into your websites design.

 

Webmasters- If a web designer designs and a web developer develops what the heck does this guy do?

Once your website is designed by the web designer and developed by the developer, it must be maintained.  A webmaster is a person responsible for maintaining one or many websites. The responsibilities of the webmaster typically include ensuring that the website is functioning correctly, creating and modifying web pages, performing A/B testing, and surveying traffic through the site.

 

Each of these roles are integral to the success of a website, and each overlap each other on one end or another. You can’t build a website without a developer, but you can’t develop a website without design. Each job requires a vastly different skillset. Knowing the difference between designers, developers and webmasters can alleviate some of the headaches that come along with looking for someone to help you with your website needs.

 

By Candice Downing

Candice Downing is contributing writer and full time geek at Drupal Geeks. Located in Chicago, Illinois, Drupal Geeks is a full service development firm with expertise in drupal website development, design, and support.  The geeks are available to assist clients throughout North America, UK and Japan.