March 9, 2021

What is the difference between a designer and a developer? (Cocktail Party Edition!)

Cue the Jimmy Buffett tunes and pour up that pitcher of margaritas! It’s another edition of Cocktail Party Knowledge!

You need a website.  And you are figuring out that there are web designers and web developers.  So which one do you need?

First, what’s a designer and what’s a developer?  

A designer is a focused on the visual aspect of the website – how it looks and the useability of it.  They consider how the user will interact with the site, and cater to making it easier for the user.  

A developer focuses on coding the website – laying the framework, the bricks and mortar behind the scenes of how the website functions.  

Remember the last post on HTML and CSS?  Imagine that the developer builds the HTML.  They code all the elements of the website.  And imagine that the designer creates the CSS.  They make the elements functional to the user and they make it look nice. 

So do you need a designer or developer, or both?  The answer varies.

Web designers can create a beautiful, custom site that uses the best design principles to ensure the user has the best experience.  Web developers can use their coding skills to bring the design to life and get it published on the web.

But there are designers who can code and create, and there are developers who can design.  So although there can be a distinction between the two in strict industry terms, in real life, the line between the two can be fuzzy (and that's not just the margarita talking!) Or there can be no line at all. 

So, if you need a very large, complex website, and are spending $$$$$, then you definitely need a designer and a developer.  Large projects require a division of labor for efficiency.  But for most web design projects, a small agency or freelancer can fill both roles and still deliver really great results.

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