Website Developer vs Website Designer: What Is the Difference?

What are the differences between a web designer and a web developer? Which one should you hire for your business? It’s easy to get web designers and web developers mixed up. They both help create beautiful and functional websites, but they’re involved in very different areas. This article will discuss the definition, types and skill sets of each. 


To keep things simple, let’s take a look at how a web developer and web designer would work together to create a car. 

A web developer would be responsible for using various components like the engine, transmission, wheels, etc. to construct a fully-functional car that is error-free in its technical aspects. 

On the other hand, a web designer would be responsible for the aesthetic design of the car, the layout of the dashboard, the comfort of the seats as well as the overall convenience and look of the car. 

Types of Web Developers 

1. Front End Developer 

Front-end development also known as client-side development mostly involves programming all the public-facing visuals and elements as part of a website’s design. They often need to collaborate with web designers and must have strong programming skills such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as they work with elements that are visible to the users.

2. Back End Developer 

Back-end refers to the hidden layer that the users can’t see when they visit a website. They must have strong programming skills. The back-end layer forms a dynamic connection between the front-end and the database. To get this layer working it’s important to know at least one of the programming languages such as Python, Java, PHP,  SQL, C#, Ruby, etc and knowledge of server-side frameworks such as NodeJS is mandatory.

3. Full Stack Developer 

A Full Stack Web Developer is someone who has a good understanding of how the web works at each and every level, including setting up and configuring Linux or Windows servers, coding server-side APIs, running the client-side of the application by using JavaScript, operating and querying databases and structuring and designing the web page with CSS, HTML and JavaScript. 

Types of Web Designers 

1. UI Designers 

User Interface (UI) designers are the ones who deal with user interaction. They make sure that users are able to interact with the elements that are present on the website. The User Interface is everything that a visitor sees when they access a website, and it needs to be designed in a manner so that it fits the user’s expected workflow.

2. UX Designers 

User Experience (UX) designers make sure that your website is able to keep the visitors engaged. They analyze data before finalizing any design on the website. Also, UX designers run  complex tests and restructure the websites when needed to keep the user experience optimal.

3. Visual Designers 

When we combine the duties of a UI and UX designer, it creates a separate profile called the visual designer. Visual designing refers to creating interfaces that are both visually pleasing and convenient to use. Also, they must respect the voice of a brand. Visual design skills involve both creativity and programming.

The Skill Sets Web Developers Need

As we touched on above, web developers require certain technical skill sets to fulfill their roles. At the least, a web developer will need to be knowledgeable in:

  • Coding and programming languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP
  • JavaScript frameworks like jQuery
  • Testing and debugging
  • Back-ends and databases
  • Content Management Systems (WordPress, etc.)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The Skill Sets Web Designers Need

The skill sets web designers require to be successful vary, depending on each person’s specific role and specialty. However, generally speaking, some important skills include:

  • HTML and CSS knowledge
  • Understanding the Principles of website design and web accessibility standards
  • Responsive and interaction design
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) 
  • User journey mapping 
  • Wireframing and prototyping 
  • Branding, color theory, and typography 
  • Design tools and software

Do You Web Designer vs Web Developer – Which One to Go For?

The honest answer is, it depends. If you want to make your website look and feel great then you might want to hire a web designer. In contrast, if you have an ambitious design that requires a lot of time and effort, you’ll likely want to hire a developer to spearhead your site’s construction. In some cases, you’ll want to hire both to ensure that both your website’s design and functionality is perfect and completed on time. 

Looking for web developers and web designers based in Dubai? Parachute is here to help! We have over 40 years of collective experience in all things digital and designing and developing websites is at the heart of what we do. Get in touch with us.

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