10 answers

What is the difference between a web designer and a web developer?

Asked Killeen, Texas

I'm more curious as I'm not sure which one is which most of the time. #college #computer #information-technology #web-design #web-development #internet-technology

10 answers

Rajeev’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Both are very interesting fields and it depends on the interest of the person. Web designing has more of an aspect of creating new forms and user interfaces which can make it easier to navigate through websites and portals. Web programming to a large extent builds the backend for such interfaces and will require one to be know programming various languages like Java or .Net etc. Web designing has a little more creative side while programming has a little more technical aspect associated with it. Hope that helps.

Charles M’s Answer

Updated Greenville, Texas

In reading the previous answers, the element that I perceive is missing is that the designer deals with the customer.

In my experience as an instructional designer / developer, the designer is the one that designs the solution to the problem the customer has, and the developer is the one that makes it function the way the designer wants it to.

The designer gathers information from the customer of the web site to determine what the customer is trying to accomplish. Once they know and understand what the customer is trying to do, they design the site in a way that will effectively accomplish that purpose.

Example, if the customer is providing information to new mothers about how to take care of their child (newborn up to age 3), but not sell anything to them, they will choose a color scheme and fonts that appeal to new mothers. The designer will make the site easy to navigate on a mobile device with one hand (because the other hand is holding the baby). And if there are sounds, they will make them soft and baby friendly. If there is music, they will be lullabies or simple tunes for young children. The customer may want to present information specific to the baby's age, so the designer will figure out how to allow the mother to input the baby's birth date (day month, year, or just month and year). They designer can include a place to display a birthday greeting on the baby's birthday. The web site developer, will figure out how to calculate the baby's age and what criteria to add to the database queries to display information that is appropriate to the age of the baby. Also the developer will figure out how to determine if the current date is the baby's birthday and then display the birthday greeting.

On the other hand, if the customer is trying to sell motorcycle accessories to motocross riders, the web designer will choose a color scheme that appeals to tough young men. (Likely with bold colors with lots of contrast.) The sounds will be loud, motorcycle sounds and probably hard rock music. Because the site is trying to drive sales, there will be lots of links that lead directly to sales pages. They will likely include videos of motocross riders. The designer will decide where to put those videos to drive sales higher. They will not be concerned about the viewer using one hand navigation, because they know they will not be on their bike while viewing the web site. To increase sales, the customer may want to have ads for things specific to the season of the year. The designer will choose how to make those ads appear, and make any changes in color scheme that is seasonal. the Developer will do the calculations to determine the season of the year and access the elements of the web page, and the items for sale, specific for that season

Summary, the designer uses their design skills to solve the problem of the customer. The developer makes all the coding happen so that web page functions as it is designed to do.

Didn't know that, that's pretty important to at least understand that. Thanks!

Vivian’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi Arthur,

There is a big difference.

Web Designers, or commonly known now as User Interface/User Experience Designers, basically design the website. Now, a few years ago or more, designers split into two categories, a User Interface designer (they design logos, icons, come up with a color palettes, grid systems, typography, etc.) and a User Experience designer (they design user flows, how you land on a page, where will you go next on a page, where you come to from an email, etc.) Background is usually in Art, Design, and Computer Human Interaction.

Web Developer, or commonly known now as UI Engineers, basically code the website. They use programming language to make the site come to life. They need to know HTML, CSS, C+, and more. Sorry not an expect so I don't know all the latest and greatest programming languages out there. Background is usually in Engineering.

Hope this clarifies it for you!

Dream big, Vivian

thanks for the help!
Anytime. :D

Eric’s Answer

Updated Cambridge, Massachusetts

In general, a Web designer works more on the "design" of the page - the appearance, how it should work, and so on. They may program, implementing certain pieces of the design with JavaScript, or they may just decide what it should be like. A Web developer, then, is a programmer, who very likely works on the JavaScript for a website and may also work on the server, depending on the company. In companies with both Web designers and Web developers, the developers would likely implement the more advanced concepts that the designers want to see.

wow, that's a pretty good description! Thank you for the clarification!

Michael’s Answer

Updated Los Angeles, California

Hello - Technically, a "Designer" designs, and a "Developer" programs. Web design would include diagrams, process flows, and function. Web development would be the coding part - i.e. HTML, Java, .NET, PHP, etc. In the case of Web design and development, some assignments may follow one or the other, and some may combine them. So you should pay attention to the job description, as in many cases a Developer will have to design, and a Designer may be required to develop (program).

Larry’s Answer

Updated Nashville, Tennessee

Have been a web designer myself the job roles can pretty much interchange but there are still some differences based on need. Simply put, a web designer is someone who is both creative and technically inclined, and uses both these attributes to build or redesign websites. The web designer has the ability to understand what is needed to make a website functional and easy to use, but at the same time make it aesthetically appealing to the user.

A web developer is a programmer who is mainly technical that specializes in the development of Web applications that are run over HTTP from a web server to a web browser.

While both share similar functions of the job when it comes to web sites, designer tend to be more creative while developers tend to be more specialized/technical in application development for a website or distributed network.

interesting explanation, any advice for an upcoming web developer?

Ernie’s Answer

Updated Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Web design and development is a subset of Software Design and Development and only deals with applications presented through a web interface. All software applications do not work on the web. Software applications may perform specific tasks on a desktop computer, data server, web server, mobile phone, etc. Software Design is completed by a Software Designer or architect of the software. The Software Designer (similar to a Building Architect or Designer) performs tasks such as creating models and viewpoints that define the capabilities to be coded and the data flows between the capabilities. Capabilities are defined by specific coded processes of functionality to be programed. The Software Designer defines the data exchanged between the coded process or external interfaces. The Software Designer defines how the data exchanges are performed via databases or protocols of exchange. The Software Designer defines the who, what, when, where and how the processing of an application is to be performed. The Software Developer (similar to a Carpenter, Plumber or Electrician) performs the tasks of coding or programming of the processes to the Software Designer’s specifications. The Software Developer would code in a specified language such as HTML, Java, .Net, PHP, etc. The Software Developer would code specific logic and algorithms to meet the functionality and interfaces required by the software design. The Software Developer would test their developed code as they develop it. Additional formal code testing maybe performed by an independent Software Tester depending on the criticality of the code.

aftab’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India


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

A web designer would be responsible for the aesthetic design of the car (the comfort of the seats, the layout of the dashboard, etc.) as well as the convenience in driving and riding in the car.

Sharmin’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

In web industry you see various divisions and when you say a Web Designer this refers to people who are involved in designing the front - end look and feel of a Web App or Website etc whereas Web Development will involve the backend programming of the Web App or Website etc .

Web designer uses graphics and graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign etc to create a look for the web. This design is then clubbed with coding to bring the final online output as a solution .

Ahmed’s Answer

Updated Haverhill, Massachusetts

Web Designer is all about graphics, visual identity and all maters related to the visual aspect of the website. On the other hand, a Web Developer is more about what happens behind the curtain, he transforms the visual aspect, text, pictures and multimedia elements into lines of code understandable by the Web Server / Client (or users' computers).