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Web Designer or Web Developer: Which One Do You Need?

designer vs developerYou may have discovered Solamar because you were looking for a WordPress web design company or a WordPress web development company. Many clients who come to us simply aren’t aware of the distinction between web design and web development and tend to lump the two together, using the terms interchangeably, as if they are one and the same.

If you don’t know the difference, or you’ve never considered it, you’re not alone. But web design and web development are two distinct skill sets; and if you run a small business with specific needs, it’s important to understand why you may need only a designer, only a developer, or more likely both.

You don’t want to hire a designer when you need a developer, or vice versa. And if you need both, you should avoid hiring a professional or a team lacking adequate skills in either area of the website building process. The lines between design and development are often blurred; but as a small business owner with a big vision and limited resources, it’s critical for you to know what you’re getting into.

So, what is the difference between a web designer and a web developer?

Web designers focus on the look and feel of a website — the graphical elements, color scheme, and information architecture. A skilled designer ensures the website is aesthetically appealing, easy to navigate, and inspires action.

Web design tends to be more of a right-brained activity that requires a lot of imagination; and web designers create what will become highly functional art. It’s the designer’s job to interpret the client’s business objectives using artistic discernment and creative flair, while also adhering to established design principles.

There’s always more to good design than what’s immediately evident to the untrained eye. While you may see a “pretty” website, the designer knows you’re reacting positively to visual hierarchy, whitespace, laws of similarity, symmetry, proximity, divine proportions, and much more.

Your website visitor feels welcome or excited, easily finds what she’s looking for, has a positive user experience, she clicks the button to sign up or buy, in large part due to the decisions made by your web designer — to make the right elements clear, bold, prominent, and spacious.

Web development, on the other hand, tends to be more of a left-brained activity. Whereas web design requires artistic problem solving, web development calls on more linear and logical thinking. Development builds what’s under the hood, so to speak, of your website. Design creates the look and feel; development incorporates the technology that enables it to function.

It’s through website development that the design comes to life in usable, interactive, and responsive pages that appear in browsers on the web. The web developer’s job is to write clean code that’s also technically sound.

You can think of a web designer as the architect and the web developer as the builder of your website. A WordPress web designer uses design tools such as Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator and coding languages such as HTML and CSS. WordPress web developers use a tool to set up their web development environment, a text editor such as Sublime, debugging tools, and coding languages, including HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, and also XML and MySQL.

While web design and web development are not one and the same and the terms should not be used interchangeably, design and development are not entirely separate. Some designers have development skills, some developers have design skills, and some highly skilled professionals consider themselves both a designer and a developer. In any case, web designers and developers work closely together to make the web everything we love.

  • If you’re starting your website project from scratch, you need a web designer and developer.
  • If you already have a great design, but your website breaks, it’s full of bugs, or lacks functionality, you need a developer.
  • If your technology is solid, but you’ve overhauled your brand, you primarily need a designer.
  • More often than not, you need both skill sets, or at least a professional or team who can assess your needs and tackle your project appropriately.

Sometimes clients come to us with beautiful websites that are poorly developed; so under the hood, it’s a mess that can come falling down like a house of cards with even the slightest tweak. And sometimes clients come to us with clean web development, but a drab or outdated look and feel that needs a designer’s touch. Either way, we’ve got you covered!

Solamar specializes in WordPress web design and development. So give our team a shout, and we’ll be happy to design and/or develop one heck of a website for you.