If you're on the hunt for a web professional to help out with your website, you may have noticed that professionals like me use different titles which sound confusingly similar, like web designer and web developer. So, to help, in this article i'll be discussing what is the difference between web developer and web designer!
This article is one in a series written to help people new to the web design process understand the lingo and options available when building a website. More articles are available in my blog archive, such as the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org – check them out!
A web designer is someone who comes up with and 'designs' the layout for a website. They generally build prototypes and mockups to be used as a blueprint when coding and developing a site (can also be called 'building'). While all designers should have some knowledge of good User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design, some web designers specialise in these fields, creating websites which are easy to use and beautiful to look at! As their skills are somewhat related, some web designers (like me!) may also complete tasks a 'traditional' graphic designer would have done, such as logo design and development of assets for social media.
Web designers often use design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, plus other software to mockup websites and prototypes. My process as a web designer involves meeting with a client to understand their needs and then directly developing a website mockup using my interpretation of what was discussed.
Typically, a web developer takes the design and prototype from a web designer and builds the website using software, code and programming. These professionals often need to know several coding languages, but sometimes are specialised in certain development environments and website building platforms.
Web developers often work with software that aids their coding and developement. Sometimes this might be as simple as Notepad (yes the simple text program that comes with Windows)! Developers and programmers are often involved with building addons and plugins for WordPress, Wix & Squarespace.
To some extent, all web designers will know some coding/programming and all web developers will have some knowledge of design concepts. However, most web professionals tend to specialise in one and 'get by' in the other. I'm sure we've all visited websites which have outstanding coding and work well, but don't look very nice. Many agencies have teams of designers and developers who work alongside each other to get sites built. These days, with excellent website building plugins and tools such as Elementor and WP Bakery Page Builder, web designers are able to build complete websites without being super specialised in web development as it is much easier than it was a few years ago!
So there it is, the difference between web designers and developers. I hope this article was helpful – if you have any other questions, please send me an email!