If you wanted a visually appealing, structurally-sound house, you wouldn’t ask an architect to build the framework, or a carpenter to design it. A website shouldn’t be any different.
While the terms ‘web design’ and ‘web development’ are often used interchangeably, they’re actually two unique, yet fundamental, keys to successfully launching or upgrading a website.
So why do you need to know who does what? There are more than 1.75 billion websites on the world wide web today – help yours stand out by understanding the difference between these roles, and how they can help your site reach its full potential.
What does a web designer do?
A visually unappealing or difficult to navigate website is enough to discourage a potential customer from engaging with your brand. But web design isn’t just about the look of a website, it needs to consider the target audience, the customer’s journey online, and the end goal of the site.
Hiring the best web designer will not only showcase your product, brand or service, but they’ll also develop a pathway for conversion to sales.
There are areas of speciality within the web design space:
User Experience (UX) designer
A UX designer creates an online customer journey and will tailor a website to your target audience using detailed research undertaken into your users’ demographics and needs. It’s important to focus on the UX when it comes to improving your conversion rate.
If people enjoy browsing through your website, they’re more inclined to revisit your web page or recommend it to others. So, you can already see how important user experience is important to your users.
User Interface (UI) Designer
A UI designer optimises how users engage with your website, often through a solid understanding of your brand and values.
While this may seem confusing to a UX designer, a UI designer takes care of the look and feel of a design rather than the entire user experience of the interface. Picture a UX design being a vehicle with a UI design acting as the driving console.
A visual designer wears both the UX and UI hats to create a user journey that values experience and design.
Web designers might use programs like Adobe InDesign or Photoshop to create the visual elements of the website, along with developing an information architecture, which are then incorporated into the final coding undertaken by a web developer.
These days, people are going online to engage with a brand, not just transact. The right web design can be enhanced by a strong digital marketing strategy to convert casual browsers into customers.
What does a web developer do?
We’ve all experienced the frustration of a beautiful website that takes too long to load – it’s bad for your brand, and bad for business. A great website should not only look good, but it should also be reliable and functional. This is where a web developer comes in.
Just like with web design, there are a few different specialities within the web development world:
A website back-end developer is responsible for creating and maintain the core programming of a website. Their work often remains unseen but is necessary for the creation of a functional website.
The key role of a back-end developer is to ensure that all the data and processes requested by the front-end interface or application are delivered through programatic methods.
Back-end developers are also in charge of setting up the entire website database, logic system, data and application integration including content management systems. Furthermore, a back-end developer performs the testing and debugging of any back-end issues. It’s fair to say this role plays a vital part in website development and its core operations.
Using these language tools, front-end developers work closely with user interface designers to bring design concepts or wireframes to digital life. Skilled front-end developers can also specify issues in the user experience and provide recommendations to influence a specific design. It’s also important to be able to put these ideas forward to other key web departments so that specific goals and needs are met when executing.
A full-stack developer works on both the back and front-end of a website – they are responsible for programming your entire user experience within a website.
Once a developer has built the structure of a website using coding, a Content Management System like WordPress, Magneto or Shopify can be utilised to allow clients to easily review and update their own websites.
A website, like a business, should be unique. A good web developer will take a tailored approach, and work with you to learn about your business objectives and identify a suitable CMS platform.
So, who do I need to help with my website?
While you can engage just a designer or developer on projects, more often than not, a better outcome is achieved through cohesive web development and design teams.
Partnering with experienced designers and developers who understand search engine optimisation (SEO), branding and digital marketing will help you, and your users, get the most from your website.
Design Point offers a full-service agency to meet your goals and turn your vision into a digital success story. Whether you need a new website or an upgrade to functionality and design, we’re here to support you. Get in touch today to help your business grow.