Any site is made of of two parts – the design and the code. When you decide you want a new blog design or website, you’ll think about the overall look you want it to have. You’ll think about the fonts, colours and layout. You’ll then (hopefully) think about the technical things like is it optimised for speed and search engines, is it secure, is it responsive and up to coding standards?
So who do you hire for your new site? Do you need a web designer, a web developer or both? Here’s a general overview…
What does a web designer do?
A Web Designer will take those ideas you have, along with your preferences, goals, problems, their experience and many other things and translate it all into mockups using graphic design software (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc) as a visual concept. They create the graphics of your site, choose the fonts and colours, plan how your site is laid out in order to solve certain issues or achieve certains goals, etc. Then the mockup files (organised using correctly named layers + layer groups) will get sent to a web developer…
What does a web developer do?
There are different kinds of web developers, some specialise in a CMS (like WordPress for example) or a platform (like apps). Some are front-end developers (responsible for a website’s look and feel) while some are back-end developers (responsible for web server, application and the database). There’s even full-stack developers (who are both front-end and back-end). And so on!
Who do I need to hire?
99.9% of the time you’ll need both! As you can probably tell from the explanation above, they are both needed to create the perfect blog or website. They could be the same person (designer + developer in one) or they could be two separate people – for example Zoe offered development services while Kaye offered design services. I offer both in one package and also offer development services to designers who want to collaborate on a project. Some designers will have a prefered developer, some developers will pair up with a specific designer and some won’t mind too much who they work with, which allows you to choose both people you like.
When you are inquiring about a new project, make sure to check if the price includes only the design or if it is both the design and development. You could also ask if any of the design or development work is outsourced. These two things will give you a better understanding of the process involved, the timeframe and the overall cost of the project.
Why does it matter?
One of my pet peeves is seeing designers code sites for their clients without hiring, partnering with or consulting with a developer. It leads to badly coded sites, causes SEO problems and other issues down the line.
I can’t tell you how many times a designer has come to me AFTER creating a site for a client asking for my help because the client is having problems and they have no idea how to fix it.
Or even worse, a client has come to me with thousands of problems despite “paying a fortune” and I have to explain that the problem is with how the site was coded.
It’s frustrating and I always feel so bad for the client, because unfortunately they just didn’t know any better.
I hope this cleared things up a little bit as I get this question quite a bit. Hopefully it will help you when looking for your next project.