Differences Between a Web Designer and a Web Developer

What Is The Difference Between Web Design and Web Development In Houston?

It takes a lot of planning, technical know-how and creativity to generate an effective website. It’s a big enough job for an entire team of people, and in that team, you’ll find both web designers and web developers. Although the division between the two isn’t as distinct as it once was, web designers and developers still perform two different roles during a website’s creation.

They’re both essential roles, though, so if you’re considering a website for your business or organization, you’ll need both web design and web development help.

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    What Does a Web Designer Do?

    Web designers concern themselves with a site’s appearance and layout. That includes elements like colors, typography, images and videos, all aligned toward the same purpose – make the site look good and feel good to navigate.

    To do that, web designers must keep the user and the site’s purpose in mind. Strong web design involves a clear content hierarchy, use of basic graphic design principles like contrast and repetition and elements that improve conversion rates. This will keep visitors around for longer and do a better job of communicating your company’s purpose and products

    Specialized Web Designers

    Often in large web design projects, web designers are further specialized into a few roles. These are not the traditional web designers for small business owners.  For example, you may see a web designer referred to as a:

    UX Designer

    UX stands for user experience, so UX designers are focused on creating positive experiences for visitors and potential customers. These experiences may not involve a website at all, but most UX designers spend much of their time creating impactful (in a good way) online experiences. In short, a UX designer is more concerned with what happens after a user interacts with the site. They are less concerned with how the user interacts with the site.

    UI Designer

    User interfaces, or UIs, are what site visitors use to navigate a site and interact with it. This could involve tools like nav menus, drop-down lists, text fields and buttons. A strong user interface encourages visitors to remain on the site as long as possible and encourages visitors to click on high-value elements, like a button that takes the user to a product page.

    Visual Designer

    Visual designers combine many of the duties of a UX and a UI designer. They’re responsible for ensuring that a website is nice to look at, easy to navigate and a pleasure to experience. This designation if closest to what is envisioned when someone speaks about a web designer.

    What Skills Do Web Designers Need?


    Web designers need a mix of creative and technical skills to perform their role, as well as some soft skills to ensure they are being good teammates. Not every web design job will require the following skills, but it’s common for web designers to train up the following:

    • The principles of layout design, including ideas like contrast, proximity and simplicity
    • Additional design skills, including typography and proper use of color
    • Design software, like Photoshop and WordPress page builders
    • Use of HTML, CSS and PHP
    • Website wireframing and prototyping
    • Responsive design, including design for mobile devices
    • Knowledge of conversion rates and how to improve them
    • Communication skills, so the designer can collaborate with a larger team
    • Interent Marketing and SEO skills

    Web designers are visually focused, but some are also skilled in content creation as well, such as copywriting or infographic design. 

    What Does a Web Developer Do?

    A web developer is less interested in how a website looks and more interested in how it works. Web developers take the site layout that the designer creates and codes it so that it functions like an interactive, responsive website.


    While putting a site together, web developers use code to build out both the front end and the back end of the website. On the front end, developers ensure that all interactive elements are functioning properly and available to users. Developers also ensure that those front-end features are fetching the correct values out of the back-end, server-housed databases, which are also built out and configured by the developer.

    What Skills Do Web Developers Need to Build a Website?

    Compared to web designers, web developers are the builders, the technically inclined and deal with the code. They billed applications into the website and are not  That means they need the following skills to do their job:

    • Experience with several programming languages, including HTML, PHP, SQL, CSS, Javascript, Python and C#
    • Database Architecture and configuration
    • Troubleshooting, testing and debugging
    • Javascript frameworks and code libraries
    • Familiarity with popular content management systems, like WordPress

    In addition to the above, successful web developers also develop their communication skills to help with customer service. Communication is also essential for developers who work with a larger team, as there’s a lot of overlap between web development, web design and the SEO team.

     Working knowledge of search engine optimization is also a valuable toolset for a developer. Bloated code and overused .js, cause multiple issues when trying to make a website rank. A web developer or designer who can provide that is extra valuable.

    Types of Web Developers

     Web developers can also specialize in certain parts of site building, and so you may see a web developer referred to as:

    A Front-end Developer:

    A front-end developer, as the name suggests, works on the front end of websites. Their preferred coding tools tend to be HTML and CSS, though Javascript is typically important, too. Front-end developers and web designers share some of the same job duties, as a site’s user-facing side is typically visual.

    A Back-end Developer:

    A back-end developer spends their time building databases and writing server-side code. This ensures the site communicates properly with the server and with the front end, so when certain values are required, they can be fetched without error. In this way, a back-end developer sets the site’s framework and function. To perform back-end coding, knowledge of PHP and SQL is a must. Other relevant languages include C#, Java and Ruby.

    A Full-stack Developer:

    A full-stack developer can do the job of a back-end and front-end developer, coding both sides and ensuring they fit together for effective operation. Full-stack developers are familiar with building out user-side features and how those features interact with the site’s backend. Given how much goes into a single website, full-stack developers need a diverse range of skills.

     In the end, you’ll need both to create an effective website 

     The most effective, most cohesive websites are those that combine strong design and solid structure. To get both, you’ll need a team that can handle every aspect of website creation. It goes beyond design and development, too, because you’ll need attention-getting content once the site is live.


    That’s why many businesses and organizations look for a firm that provides a full set of web services, from website creation to marketing, hosting and maintenance.

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