Because a lot of companies and individual freelancers, often provide both the design and development processes in a website package, there is a misunderstanding that they are the same thing. The words ‘designer’ and ‘developer’ are sometimes even considered interchangeable; however, this can be a dangerous thing to do around the wrong passionate web nerds.
Imagine a slow-motion galloping unicorn tossing its long, flowing mane in the wind. Then imagine a giant robot named Frank. Now you will have a better understanding of how different these two roles in the website world are (or maybe you’re just more confused, sorry!) Let’s talk briefly about the process of building a website and how these roles come in to play.
“Imagine a slow-motion galloping unicorn tossing its long, flowing mane in the wind. Then imagine a giant robot named Frank.”
Website design is what comes first, and this is the stage where the business brand’s personality, message, and target demographic are the core of consideration. This is the stage where the business owner’s vision will also be captured and integrated in a website plan. This is the process in which the designer will take any market research done on the business and then start to draft out the look and feel of the site and illustrate where each element of the site will be placed. During this stage, it is absolutely vital to understand how a user will move around the website and find exactly what they need in as few clicks as possible. Everything about this stage is essential in a potential client forming a confidence and emotional connection with your brand.
Next, website development is taking the website design and actually building it. This can be done in so many different ways with many different coding languages and/or the use of a content management system. This is also the stage where a website is given hope, (or not!), of actually making it out into the world and being viewed by lots of loving prospective clients. Because if a website isn’t developed in a way that search engines, such as Google, will find it, like it, and then promote it, then you can have the most amazing website design ever, but the people searching for your product or service won’t find you.
You may be someone that needs a website, or you have one that you know needs a facelift. My recommendation is to think about the steps involved in getting this done properly. After all, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and a lot of ways can get messy! Get it done properly and your website will stand the test of time. When owning a small business, the way to do this is seek out a company or freelancer that offer both services and check their portfolio. Are the websites pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate and fast to load? Can you instantly understand what the business is and what they provide? Are there any broken links or images not loading right?
There are big differences between a website designer and a website developer. But at the end of the day, the most important consideration is if each individual role is being done well and how these two processes are integrated. In a nutshell, the designer creates the website plan and the developer builds it. If both processes are done well, you’ll have yourself a great website.