What are the roles of a web designer? What is involved in working with web design? Are web design and web development the same? Are they interchangeable terms with the same meaning?
The simple answer would be no. The role of each is completely different from the other. But let’s have a look into the different roles and methods, of both a web designer and a web developer.
Think about web designers as those who transform an idea, or a story, into a visually appealing design, and use their layout to build the user experience throughout the whole website. They design the website’s look and feel. An architect would create a plan of your house prior to starting building it, similarly, a web designer would model the layout of your website before a web developer can start developing it.
Web designers have a difficult role which is often underrated. In their designs, they need to integrate the best user experience possible and create a welcoming environment for the user. They have to change an idea from writing, into a usable design and interface that catches the user’s attention. A website cannot be described as great if a proper design strategy wasn’t applied to the early stages of the project. Nowadays, web designers are rated at the same level as web developers, as without a great user experience and design, the development cannot be truly appreciated by the user.
Web designers have built a whole library of strategic techniques for themselves. You don’t just create a perfect website immediately after reading or thinking about the specifications or the features required. You start with a scope — the focus point and the purpose that the website will offer. You would first roughly envision the designs in your head, and start with a sketch or draft of the design. From sketching, web designers move to wireframes, mock-ups, and to the final design. Professional web designers build the whole website in design components, with a pixel-perfect layout of all the web pages, icons, typography, and other intricate features.
These are some of the main roles of a web designer:
Think about web developers as those who turn the designs into a live website. Web developers use web languages and software tools to develop the design and functionality of a website. Notice, that web developers are further split into two sub-categories; front-end developers, and back-end developers. I see front-end developers as the connection between both web designers and back-end developers, as having a little knowledge of both, would allow a front-end developer to build a fully working website. A front-end developer is the one who builds the interface and provides the layout as the interaction between the back-end of the website and the user.
Back-end developers are those who control the server data and requests. Usually, a website requires back-end services if it contains dynamic data. This means, for example, users submitting a form with personal data (such as creating an account), or saving an article for your blog page. Generally, if the website requires data to be saved, and making it accessible at a later stage, it means that it would also need a database connection. Database connections are made possible by a direct connection from the server itself. Thus, a back-end developer then uses server languages such as PHP or ASP.NET, and writes database queries by using languages such as SQL or MySQL.
Here are some of the main roles of a web developer:
Keep in mind that both have essential roles, and the web would not exist without one or the other.