While these days it’s pretty common to find job adverts that are aimed at IT specialists who could work on websites, many people still aren’t sure what is the difference between web developer and web designer. These two professions can get confusing, especially if you’re new to the topic! Worry not - in this “web designer VS web developer” comparison, we’ll figure things out.
Naturally, if you’re already adept in the fields of either web development or design, the “web developer VS designer” discussion might seem quite laughable to you. Still, even if that’s the case, do keep in mind that there are things that might still be new even to you!
Finally, if you’ve come here looking to find out about web development or design simply because you’d like to create a website of your own, do note that there are easier ways to go about it - ways that do not require you to have skills in either of those fields. Check out our list of the top website builders, or visit Zyro or Squarespace to learn more.
Table of Contents
- 1. Web Designer VS Web Developer: Two Quite Different Professions
- 2. Web Design - The Art of Creating Beautiful and Interactive Websites
- 2.1. UI Designers - Those Concerned With the User Interface
- 2.2. UX Designers - User Experience is King!
- 2.3. Visual Designers - The “Full-Stackers” of Web Design
- 3. Web Developers - The Magicians Behind the Curtain
- 3.1. Front-End Developers - The Beauty Aspect of the Site
- 3.2. Back-End Developers - The Functionality Aspect of the Site
- 3.3. Full-Stack Developers - Master of Both Worlds
- 4. Looking to Create a Site? There is an Easier Way to Go About it!
- 5. Conclusions
Web Designer VS Web Developer: Two Quite Different Professions
The first thing that we should establish in this “web designer VS web developer” comparison is that yes - there is a difference between web developer and web designer.
You will probably say - well, isn’t that obvious? I mean, what would be the point of an article like this if there were no differences, right?
While it may seem obvious for some, believe it or not, there are people who still believe that these two professions are actually the same, or at least inherently similar. Alas, that is not the case.
While it is true that, when it comes to web design VS web development, the professionals of these two fields do work together, they are usually concerned with completely different tasks.
Having said that, though, this is yet another thing that needs to be established straight from the get-go - both of the fields in question are essential for companies that base their business online. While some brands tend to take shortcuts and hire developers to “do all the work”, if you’re trying to run a successful corporate entity, this will not fly, long-term.
With those hopefully-self-evident principles out of the way, let’s move on to discussing the actual differences between web designer VS web developer. The way that we’ll go about doing this is simple - we’ll talk about one first, and then move on to the other in due time.
First up - web designers.
Web Design - The Art of Creating Beautiful and Interactive Websites
Online, there are seemingly endless numbers of different “web designer VS web developer” guides and tutorials. Everyone’s trying to explain this comparison in the simplest and most straightforward terms possible.
There’s actually an even simpler way to look at this, though. And it’s all in the name.
A web DESIGNER is a person who - you’ve guessed it - deals with the DESIGN elements of a website. The term “design”, however, does not begin and end with imagery - there’s much more to it.
To put it in a short and very blatant manner, when it comes to “web designer VS web developer” comparisons, web designers are people who are concerned with the ‘user’ side of the website - in other words, how a user (or - site visitor) feels about the website upon visiting it.
As you’re probably aware, as with any other profession in the job market, there are certain specific types of web designers out there. Three, to be exact - UI, UX and visual ones. This is somewhat reminiscent of web developers, too - this group of people is also segmented into three separate groups. We’ll get to that in due time, though - first, let’s address the web designer categories.
UI Designers - Those Concerned With the User Interface
“UI” stands for “user interface”. Before moving on with the “web developer vs web designer” comparison, we should probably first figure out what an interface is, so that we’re both on the same page.
Look at our website - that’s right, the one that you’re currently in, reading this article. Do you see the different menu options at the top right of the screen? What about the different sections on the right? I do hope that our designers won’t change the locations of the above-mentioned things after I write this article - that would be awkward.
That aside, all of this is considered to be the interface. Other platforms actually possess even more-obvious interfaces - think Amazon, Facebook or Slack.
So, to make a point in this “web designer VS web developer” article, a UI designer is a professional who’s concerned with how (and where, to an extent!) the interface is placed on the website, how the user interacts with it, and so on. It’s a very visually-driven career path - the interface doesn’t only need to be well-designed, but also attractive to the eye and also inviting, too.
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UX Designers - User Experience is King!
Next up in this “web developer VS web designer” comparison, we have UX designers.
“UX” stands for “user experience”. As the name likely implies, these web designers are mostly concerned with how the users FEEL when they visit your website.
The major difference between UI and UX designers is that UI professionals are more-visual people, while UX designers are more data-driven. These people are going to make sure that your website’s layout is optimized for the perfect user experience, and that everything is where it’s supposed to be.
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Visual Designers - The “Full-Stackers” of Web Design
Admittedly, “visual design” isn’t as popular of a term as, say, “full-stack developer”. Still, if you were to draw comparisons between the two professions in this “web designer VS web developer” article, these two would be the equivalent of each other.
Visual designers combine the arts of UI and UX into a single profession. In other words, a visual designer is going to be a person who’s concerned with both the user experience and user interface aspects of the website.
This job position requires a combination of some logical thinking, analytical skills, and an inept artistic sense. That’s not a common combination to be had!
Either way, in regards to the designer part of this “web developer VS web designer” comparison, visual designers are among the most sought-after professionals - it’s probably obvious why that’s the case, too.
Web Developers - The Magicians Behind the Curtain
To move on with our web developer VS designer comparison, let’s now discuss the developer side of things.
In general, web developers are the people who “work behind the curtain”. What this basically means is that their work usually has no visual result that would be visible to the visitors of the website.
Having said that, without developers, there would be no website, in general - that’s where the “magician” part comes in.
To put it short-and-simple, web developers create everything concerning the functionality aspect of the website - these people make the buttons work as they’re intended to, and also take care of the well-being of the site (uptime, DDoS attacks, etc.).
As noted earlier on in the “web designer VS web developer” tutorial, same as designers, web developers are also segmented into three different categories - front-, back-end and full-stack devs. Let’s take it one at a time, and talk about the responsibilities of each of these professionals.
Front-End Developers - The Beauty Aspect of the Site
When it comes to web devs, the different categories that these people specialize in are actually quite simple to remember, since the names kind of give them away.
Front-end developers are devs that concern themselves with the front side of the website - in other words, with the parts of your site that the users (visitors) will see upon visiting it.
Basically, front-end developers work on the buttons, pop-ups, banners, and everything else that’s visually-driven on the website. While designers take care of the placement and general layout of these things, front-end devs make sure that everything is working as it should. As you can imagine, the two above-mentioned professions are quite close, working together-wise.
Back-End Developers - The Functionality Aspect of the Site
One of the more important things to know when considering the difference between web developer and web designer is the fact that back-end developers are probably the most popular group of devs on the job market. Well, right after full-stackers.
Back-end developers are the people that take care of the well-being of a website. These people are (usually) equipped with a wide variety of different programming languages - everything from Python and Java, all the way up to C++ and Ruby.
Back-enders create that actual, functional aspects of the website, and get it up and running from a coding point of view. To put it into perspective for this “web designer VS web developer” comparison, you could say that back-end development is the most essential part of any website, since it’s the thing that actually creates the site itself.
Full-Stack Developers - Master of Both Worlds
As you might have gathered from the remarks made earlier on in the “web developer VS designer” comparison, full-stack development is probably one of the most sought-after and revered job positions in the IT industry.
Full-stack developers combine the skills and - by extension of that - responsibilities of both front- and back-end developers. What this means is that full-stackers manage and take care of both the visual and the functional sides of a website.
Naturally, as you can imagine, this involves knowing and being proficient in many different programming languages - 3-4, at a minimum. However, that’s surely not enough - you have to understand that, in regards to a “web designer VS web developer” comparison, full-stackers have the highest amounts of responsibilities and tasks.
That said, they are also the best-paid professionals on this list, too.
Looking to Create a Site? There is an Easier Way to Go About it!
Now that you’re aware of the differences between web design VS web development, allow me to address something I’ve mentioned in the introductory part of this article.
If you’ve come to this comparison while on a broader search of how to create a website, you should know that this can be done without the help of a web developer or designer - in fact, you can do it all yourself.
How, you may ask? Simple - with the help of a website builder.
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Table: Squarespace, Weebly and Shopify
Website builders are tools that were specifically designed for people who aren’t web designers or devs - frankly, for those who have no prior knowledge or experience in either of those topics. They’re amazing tools in that regard!
Well, as long as you choose the right builder for yourself, that is. Here are some of the more popular and overall-better suggestions:
- Squarespace. An industry-leading website builder, Squarespace offers users amazing templates, superb functionality and it’s also very easy to use, too. All of that for the cost of as low as $12 per month!
- Zyro. If you want some modern website builder features to utilize in your website creation process (i.e. a heatmap of your site, or an AI writer), then Zyro is the way to go. The prices for the builder start at $1,30 per month - that's insanely affordable!
- Weebly. Weebly is one of the simpler website builders out there - in the best way possible! It’s super beginner-friendly, and will thus suit almost everyone. Great designs, a huge count of apps - and there’s a free version available, too! The prices start at $5 per month.
- Shopify. Shopify is often considered to be one of the best website builders for eCommerce. For good reasons, too - the builder is very simple to use, and offers all of the essential and intricate features that you’d need for a full-fledged eCommerce platform. Prices start at $29 per month.
The “web designer VS web developer” comparison aside, if you’re interested, do check these builders out - perhaps they’ll allow you to create your dream site?
As of this point, you should now be aware of the core differences between web design and web development. As you can probably tell by now, those differences are quite noteworthy!
Thanks for reading this “web designer VS web developer” comparison, and I do hope that you’ve learned something new! Do remember to check out some of the best website builders (whether it be Squarespace, Zyro, or else) to create a website of your own.