The job roles of a web designer and developer are very different, but it often happens that companies expect the one or the other to perform jobs that don’t really fall into their specific set of skills. Many graphic designers have a good working knowledge of HTML and some web developers may be able to use various graphic design programs, but this doesn’t mean that they can (or should be expected to) switch between these domains with ease.

Problems can start to arise when there’s too much confusion between these two specific job roles. A web developer’s job is to literally build up your website from scratch by using a specific programming language, such as PHP; .NET etc. Web developers can also create unique functionalities and features for your website, which will make it more appealing for website visitors.

A web designer, on the other hand, creates the “skin” of the website. They design the entire look and feel – from the flash banner at the top of the page to what your navigation buttons will look at. Experienced web designers are able to come up with striking ideas to represent your business online.

Things a web designer should do

  • Take briefs from clients about the look and feel they envision for the website;
  • Request the CI guidelines so that the right corporate fonts, logos and layouts are used throughout the design;
  • Create the perfect look and feel for the website. Every website consists of various colours, shapes and sizes – it’s the designer’s job to place them perfectly.
  • Liase continuously with the client for sign-off of the design;
  • Hand over the design of the website to the web developer.

Things a web developer should do

  • Take briefs from clients to find out how the navigation of the website should work.
  • Create additional features (such as forms or database integration) that the client may want;
  • Create the website pages;
  • Make sure everything runs smoothly – test the website on various internet browsers (such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla) to ensure that it works properly;
  • Liaise with the web designer to iron out any final elements if necessary;
  • Routine website maintenance.

To put it in laymans terms, a web developer is like the builder and the web designer is the interior decorator – they both share positions in architecture.


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