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It’s common for people in the streets to use the term web designer when they mean web developer and vice versa. However, this is wrong. There is a difference between web design and web development.  A web designer and a web developer are very different professionals; each with a role that’s completely different from the other.

I too once held the misconception that web development and web designs are one and the same. However, if you ever find yourself touring the web industry, either as a client or professional, you’ll need to delineate web design from web development.

Web Design

Web design is all about bringing ideas and web concepts to life. Web designers take your story or vision and create a design that is visually appealing. As such, they are tasked with designing how a website will look and feel. Much like an architect designs the plan before a house is built, so do web designers model a website layout before web developers can begin building the website. It is the layout that web designers create that is used to create the UX (User Experience) for the entire site.

The role of a web designer is often taken for granted by folks with little understanding of the job. It’s the designers that develop the entire environment that users find welcoming. They conjure up and create a blueprint for the ultimate user experience. This is no light job given that they have to begin working from a clean slate. All they have is a verbal or written idea of what a client wants. They then tug at this idea and transform it into usable web design. Therefore, it suffices the success of any web project greatly depends on the web designer who broke ground on the project.

Typically, web designers start their work by analyzing the scope of a website; i.e. The purpose and focus of the site. After scrutinizing the scope as well as the features and specifications from the client, the designer will then sketch a model website. Next, they design wireframes and mock-ups. The final design of a website usually a layout of the web pages, typography, icons and buttons among other intricate features.

Features of Excellent Web Designers

  • They are able to use tools such as Sketch, Photoshop and Illustrator to design a website.
  • They possess impeccable graphics and logo design skills.
  • They are always in the know on matters of the latest trends in design technology.
  • They are excellent branding masters.

From the roles performed by the web designer, we can understand beforehand that there is a big difference between web design and web development. If still not convinced, let’s move on and have a look at the web developer’s roles.

Web Development

Once a website has been designed, it’s then passed onto the hands of web developers who then turn it into a live website. Developers, relying on a vast array of software, tools and languages, build the final website that users visit. Web development is as specialized as it is complicated. As such web developers can specialize in three fields;

  1. Front-end development primarily deals with building the user interface of a website. Front-end developers create the interface of a website by relying on 3 main languages; JavaScript, CSS and HTML. In their line of work, they insert images, apply different typefaces, add animations and create pages’ background on top of many other things that enhance a website’s interface.
  2. Back-end development involves more advanced programming that controls various features and interactions on web pages. This facet of development defines how the site works and how a user accomplishes different tasks using the functionality offered by the site. Developers here mainly deal with server requests and data.
  3. Full-stack development includes aspects of front-end as well as back-end development. Full-stack developers are well-versed in tools and languages that are needed to build a complete, fully-functional website from scratch. They possess adequate knowledge of design as well as user experience.

It is important to know that there is a difference between web design and web development to avoid holding the misconception that a web designer and a web developer are the same.

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