The Difference Between A Designer And Developer

Designer or Developer

Two sides of the same coin. On one you have a web designer. A creator. From nothing to something. And the other side, a web developer. An individual making the creation come to life. Each with their own mission. And their own responsibilities. In this post, I will describe the difference between a designer and a developer. I’ll also discuss how they work together to accomplish the same goal.

A Designer’s Role and Responsibilities

A web designer uses graphical elements and copy to display information on a web page. This information is arranged through hierarchy and designed to take the viewer on a journey. Hours and hours are spent researching a client’s problem and devising a creative solution. Ideally, one that will cause the viewer to pause and think about what they are seeing. And take the desired action. Typical tools for creating these designs include the PhotoShop and xD. A designer showcases individual projects on a portfolio website for potential employers to view and critique. The best designers have a strong grasp on current trends and how to couple them with the client’s content and concepts to allow for a well presented site. All this, while keeping in mind the audience and the individual user experience.

A Developer’s Role and Responsibilities

A web developer builds the designer’s vision. He or she will typically build a site from the ground up. The programs a developer uses aren’t as important as the language(s) used to create the page, site, or app. HTML, JavaScript, JQuery, and CSS are among the languages in a developer’s stack. Developers historically don’t fixate on making something visually appealing, instead focusing on making the supplied designs technically sound. Like a designer creating responsive designs, the developer has a job to make those designs work on all devices no matter the size.

Two Distinct Roles, One Goal

Although the designer and developer may be two distinct roles within a company their goal is mutual: a website or app that elicits the desired responses from the user and allows for an enjoyable experience along the way. Both design and development need to be solid.

Although distinct in the past, the lines are now blurring. Developers are learning design theory. And designers are also learning how to code. In the future you’re likely to see these roles combined to become more streamlined.

In the end you should always be improving your skills as a designer or developer. Take the time to understand the other role, what it needs to succeed, and how you can help. Learn the ins and outs of the role. Picking up an added skill, especially one that is adjacent to your skill set will only help advance you in your chosen career path.