Web Designer vs. Web Developer

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So you are a looking for a Charlotte web design agency to create your company’s website. You start with Google for your search. You type in “Charlotte web de” and before you finish typing “design”, Google auto-suggests “Charlotte web design” and “Charlotte web development”. Which one do you need?

What’s the difference between a web designer and a web developer? People often use these terms interchangeably  to mean “people who works on websites”. In reality, while they both center around creating websites,  the two jobs aren’t the same.

A web designer is someone who specializes in creating the graphic elements of a website. This includes the look and feel of the site, the framework, and the user interface. The work they create can either be used to make sites, or as a guide for how to code them. While many web designers do code portions (or all) of their work, a ‘web designer’ can retain that title without typing a single line of code.

A web developer is much more focused on  programming and works on the “back end” of sites. The “backend” is where the website interacts with web servers and databases. This work can involve everything from coding individual webpages to creating systems for content management to processing online payments.

Web design is much more focused on the layout, style, usability, and feel of websites. Web development translates a design into a working, web-friendly format. They also handle data-accessing code, and databases. This kind of work involves a tremendous knowledge of programming, much more than just HTML, CSS, and Javascript (which are considered formatting or scripting languages).

Take this simple, contrived example: A client requests an additional form for their website that allows people to sign-up for their newsletter.

The Web Designer would create the layout of the form in a graphics program.  The Web Developer would then take the graphic file and convert it to code so it can be processed by your browser and the information submitted will be sent to the newsletter database.

To summarize, web designers are concerned more with a site’s look and feel while developers focus on how a site actually works and processes data. Both play important roles in creating effective websites.

It is important to take into account what exactly you need when on the search for an web development agency. Sometimes “Web Design”  can mean design and development, and sometimes it means design only. At Alter Imaging, we provide both services, and much more.