Web Developer vs Web Designer
For all intents and purposes in this article a Web Developer is a programmer who develops web sites and a Web Designer is a Graphic Artist who designs websites.
The dilemma is that companies are often forced to choose between website functionality and website appeal. Generally speaking a Web Developer can deliver any of the features you want for your website such as a custom shopping cart or inventory tracking. However, Programmers are not artists so their websites tend to look less than spectacular.
Web Designers can create an awesome looking website that gives you that wow factor, but they generally don’t know a lot of code and so they can’t deliver a lot of the functionality that you may be looking for.
There are website professionals who can do both but they are few and far between and even they tend to lean toward one end of the spectrum or the other.
So which option is right for your business? Before I answer that question, I’d like to borrow from Dickens and take you on a journey through websites past, future, and present.
It used to be that If your company, no matter what the size, wanted a website you had to hire a professional to create your website for you. You would sit down with your web master and explain to him the purpose and functionality that you wanted your website to possess.
Your website professional would then create a custom made website for your business for a well deserved, but somewhat expensive price. Each time you wanted to update your website you would contact this individual to update your website or even hire a full time employee or employees to update and maintain your website for you.
In my opinion websites of the future will be created by Web Designers. The position of Web Master will no longer exist. So what will happen to the Web Developers?
Web Developers will be working for software companies developing apps, Content Management Systems, and plug ins. Some larger companies may still use Web masters, but they will be developing custom apps, and CMSs not individual websites.
Instead of hiring a web developer, companies will purchase software or software subscriptions that allow them to plug in their custom content and personalize their themes. Many companies will choose to have a Graphic Artist create this content for them.
Right now we are living in a gap between website past and website future. There are app developers and website management software companies popping up all over the world. Web Developers are busy creating Word Press templates and PHP Fox modules which is laying the foundation for website future.
So what do you do in the meantime? Should you hire a Web Designer or Web Developer? That really depends on the needs of your company and your website. Truth be told, most Web developers will work with a Graphic artist and most Web Designers have a programmer they call in to handle the tough code.
In my opinion, you should hire a firm that has both. And while you are at it why not hire a firm that can help write your content, help you with Search Engine Optimization, marketing, and video too? The only objection I can think of would be budget concerns. However, if you hire the right firm, you’ll be making an investment that will pay for itself in the long run.
No one person can accomplish what two or four other people can accomplish. A website created by a team will always perform better overall. The question is not whether to use a Web Developer or Web Designer. The question should be if you want to coordinate your team or hire a firm to coordinate your team for you.
For more on this see my ARTicle Artist vs Art Agency.