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Web Designer Is Not A Web Developer? Here's why

Sigma School
9th April 2024


Web developers and web designers are actually…

NOT the same! 

Therefore, what are the differences?

Some people might think they do the same thing, but there’s a whole world of difference between the two. If you’ve ever wondered how websites come to life or why they look the way they do, you’re in for a treat. We’re going to take a closer look at web developers and web designers, diving into what makes each of them tick. 

Whether you're considering a future in web development or design, or you're just interested in how websites are built and designed, this exploration into the worlds of coding and design is sure to offer some fascinating takeaways. Ready to dive in?

What does a web designer do?

Web designers focus on making your website look appealing and easy to use. They aim to create a visually attractive layout that also enhances user interaction, making sure the website works well on different devices. Before starting the design process, they typically discuss with clients to understand the specific type of website and functionalities needed. They aim to make the user interface straightforward and engaging, ensuring that navigation is intuitive.

To validate their designs, web designers conduct usability testing and seek feedback from users. They keep up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in web design to offer a fresh and innovative online experience.

While web designers concentrate on the visual and interactive aspects of a website, web developers focus on building the website’s core structure and functionality, ensuring it operates as intended.

Types of Web Designers

web designers

It’s extremely important to remember that not all web designers do the same activities. Most have distinct specializations that limit their focus to only one or two aspects of your website’s design. 

In order to decide which web design niche is right for you, let’s delve deeper into these roles.

User Experience (UX) Designers

UX designers are pivotal in crafting websites that not only capture the visitor's attention but also provide a highly positive and engaging user experience. Their approach is deeply rooted in understanding the user's perspective, employing extensive research and iterative testing methodologies to collect and analyze data. This data-driven strategy informs their design decisions, aiming to optimize the website's structure in a way that is both intuitive and delightful for users.

User Interface (UI) Designers

UI designers, on the other hand, focus on the intricacies of user interaction and the usability aspects of the website. Their primary objective is to refine the site’s interface to enhance user engagement and facilitate ease of use, thereby promoting higher conversion rates. By concentrating on the interaction dynamics between the user and the website, UI designers play a vital role in streamlining navigation and improving the overall user journey.

Visual Designers

Visual designers bring a unique blend of skills to the table, focusing on the aesthetic and functional aspects of the website. Their work is a fusion of UX and UI design principles, emphasizing the creation of a visually compelling interface that is not only pleasing to the eye but also straightforward and efficient to navigate. Visual designers meticulously craft the layout and visual elements to ensure the site's design is cohesive, attractive, and user-friendly.

The Skill Sets Web Designers Need

Web designers need a diverse set of skills to excel in their field, with specific requirements depending on their role and area of expertise. Key skills include:

  • Proficiency in HTML and CSS
  • Knowledge of web design principles and accessibility guidelines
  • Skills in responsive design and creating interactive elements
  • Expertise in optimizing for conversion rates
  • Ability to map out the user's journey
  • Experience with wireframing and building prototypes
  • Understanding of branding, color schemes, and typography
  • Familiarity with various design tools and software

picture of a web developer working

What does a web developer do?

Web developers are experts in creating websites from the ground up, utilizing their deep understanding of coding and advanced programming skills. They take the visual designs provided by web designers and implement them, making sure the site's interactive elements work as intended. Their role covers both frontend and backend development—coding the parts of the website users interact with, and setting up the server and database infrastructure behind the scenes.

After a website goes live, the developer's job continues with testing, offering support, and performing routine maintenance to fix any bugs and ensure the website operates smoothly.

With their technical acumen and dedication to keeping their skills sharp, web developers play a crucial role in keeping websites current and ensuring they provide a flawless user experience.

Types of Web Developers

Web developers often specialize in certain programming languages based on their area of expertise in web development. There are primarily three types of web developers:

Front-end Developers 

They work on the part of the website that users interact with directly. They use languages like CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, along with Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, to build the visual and interactive aspects of websites. Their work requires close coordination with web designers due to the visual nature of front-end development.

Back-end Developers 

They focus on the server and database side of websites, employing complex languages like PHP, C#, Java, Ruby, SQL, along with frameworks such as NodeJS. Their role involves managing the technology that powers the website's functionality, which is not visible to end-users.

Full-stack Developers 

They have the skills to work on both the front-end and back-end of websites. They understand the full spectrum of web development, from designing user interfaces with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, to configuring servers, coding APIs, and handling database queries. Full-stack developers bridge the gap between front-end and back-end development, ensuring seamless operation across all parts of a website.

The Skill Sets Web Developers Need

Web developers need a variety of skills to be successful in their roles, encompassing both technical and non-technical abilities. At a minimum, web developers should have proficiency in:

  • Programming languages including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP
  • JavaScript libraries, such as jQuery
  • Skills in testing and debugging code
  • Knowledge of server-side fundamentals and databases
  • Familiarity with Content Management Systems like WordPress
  • Understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices

Beyond these technical requirements, web developers also benefit from strong problem-solving and analytical skills, particularly useful when troubleshooting and debugging. Effective communication and the ability to work well in a team are essential for coordinating with clients and colleagues, including web designers.

What are The Differences?

Understanding the distinction between web designers and web developers is crucial for anyone involved in creating a website. Here’s a concise summary to clarify the key differences between these two vital roles:

  • Designers are concerned with the visual appeal and user experience, whereas developers focus on making the site function and work as intended.
  • Web designers craft the visual concept of the website, focusing on visual, UX, and UI design to create a layout that’s both appealing and user-friendly. Web developers, on the other hand, evaluate the feasibility of these designs from both a technical and budgetary perspective and then bring the website to life through coding.
  • The technical demands on web developers are significant, requiring in-depth knowledge of programming languages and development frameworks. While web designers do engage in some technical activities, their role is predominantly centered around the artistic and creative aspects of website design.
  • There are specialized fields within both web development and design: developers can be categorized as front-end, back-end, or full-stack, and designers can specialize in UX, UI, or visual design.
  • The tools used by each group differ as well; developers utilize coding frameworks, version control systems like GitHub, and content management systems, while designers might use graphic design software, CMS platforms, and tools for wireframing and prototyping.
  • Both roles are essential for the creation, construction, and upkeep of websites. They rely on each other’s expertise to produce a high-quality final product.

While developers concentrate on the site’s technical backbone through coding and programming, designers focus on the conceptual and visual components, ensuring the website is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.


To sum up our discussion about web developers and web designers, it's clear that both jobs are super important for making websites. Web developers are like the builders who make sure everything works properly, while web designers are like the artists who make sure everything looks good and is easy to use. They work together to make awesome websites that we all love to visit. 

If you're thinking about making websites yourself, Sigma School has got you covered. We offer courses that can teach you everything you need to know about web development. Our courses are fun and practical, and they're designed to get you ready for a job in this field. So, if you're ready to start your journey in web development, come and join us at Sigma School. Let's make some cool websites together!

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