< Difference Between Web Designer & Developer | Mj Media


Web Designer…I mean Web Developer…Do you know the Difference?

The terms Web Designer and Web Developer are often used synonymously, yet they refer to two distinct functions. It is important from the perspective of both the service provider and end-user to ensure that the difference is clearly understood. In order to clarify these two functions one should first explore web design and web development.

Web Design

Web design dictates the overall look and feel of a website including the layout, navigation and colour-scheme. It may incorporate designing of the logo and company graphics. It relates to aesthetics and user experience rather than functionality. A Web Designer as opposed to Web Developer is responsible for this design process that renders a website user-friendly and easy to navigate.

The designed product will not typically include any code. However, the graphic representation is utilized by the same person or typically another as a foundation for the coding. The graphic of the website is separated into two parts that can be represented by pure graphics and the other by specific code that will enable certain functionality or features.

Web Development

This process enables the functionality and features of a website. It entails the back-end programming rather than the graphic face of a website. Web development functions incorporate registration, content management systems, e-commerce and any database applications. This draws the distinction for a Web Designer, where a Web Developer handles this process, which enables users to navigate, carry out actions and interact with the site.

Web Design Skills

A proficient Web Designer will possess graphic design skills, creativity and marketing competence. He or she will be capable of capturing the attention of users and and in doing so persuade them to explore the site. Normally a creative individual the designer is someone able to translate a concept to an actualised visual illustration of the website.

Web Development Skills

A good Web Developer is usually more analytically inclined, possessing excellent programming skills and adept to use various programming tools. He or she will be able to provide solutions to enable functionality of a site. For instance, the creation of an online booking system for a salon that updates in real time and is linked to the administrators email.

Web Design Tools

Design software such as Photoshop, Flash and Fireworks are used to create the front-end of the site. Designers will generally be knowledgeable in the area of typography, colour theory as well as web accessibility.

Web Development Tools

Developers employ a range of programming tools such as Javascript, SQL and XML to name a few. There are various other programming languages and tools as well as new tools being developed continuously. For instance mobile applications have created a gap for developers with specialised knowledge.

Overlapping Tools

Most designers and developers will be familiar with HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which are two core technologies for building web pages.

There may be an overlap of skills between the Web Designer and Web Developer. It is uncommon though to find individuals who are simultaneously excellent designers and developers. Much of the confusion has arisen due to the generic use of the term web design, which is often used to describe the complete design and development of websites. What is important is to understand the difference and the need for both designer and developer in the production of a quality site. Ultimately professionals responsible for design and development are equally important, being in charge of two relevant processes, which produce a common working objective – a live function website!


Bridgette Donnelly

Bridgette Donnelly is co-owner of the internet marketing company MJ Media based in Durban. She is passionate about helping businesses achieve great results with internet marketing and enjoys being part of this ever-changing industry. Find Bridgette on: Google+


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Dale Horne, Symbiotix Group

Bridgette and Giselle have managed our Adwords account for over 12 months and have always provided excellent and efficient service with a flexible and proactive approach. We are very pleased at the results obtained so far and look forward to continuing our successful relationship with MJ Media. We would recommend MJ Media to any organisation seeking to outsource some or all its internet marketing requirements to a trustworthy and transparent supplier.

Rob Schofield, Director, RJ Retail Ltd, trading as WoodenToyShop.co.uk

MJ Media have been amazing since day one, they listen, they are patient and they give advice which is always the best, they are helping me grow my business. I have seen increased quote requests from our web site. MJ Media’s work on internet marketing has made a significant difference to my business. I appreciate the hard work that they put on our marketing and look forward to continuously working with them.

Gisela Oliveira, Mozambique Tourism

Vet Products Online has been operating effectively for 12 years, but this year I thought it was time to progress to the next step of online marketing and social networking. MJ Media was recommended to me to assist and manage Facebook and Google marketing. Bridgette and Giselle are two stars in their field, both professional and enthusiastic. Their support is reliable and their turn around time to requests, queries or project needs is speedy. We have certainly benefited positively from MJ Media input and I highly recommend them to other companies who have internet marketing requirements.

Anne Mullins, Owner, Vet Products Online, www.vetproductsonline.co.za

Bridgette and Giselle have been our online partners for about 4 years now. Flexible Workspace sells office space and related services in the B2B market and as the founder not only am I convinced that Online is the most effective channel for our offering but that MJ are the right service provider for us. Being a relatively small (but growing) business, we need to be nimble and they in turn need to be ready and geared to move with us – MJ gets this. Having access to the decision maker/driver of the business is also important to me – they have a personal touch that larger agencies are unable to replicate. Finally, and most importantly they produce results – from the time MJ took over our account they have increased our lead flow 5-fold. As a business owner this is all I’m interested in – lead generation and conversion – this is the real measure of Return on Investment and they have delivered in spades.

Brad Porter, Flexible Workspace