The Difference Between a Designer and a Developer

Brooke Wide

Brooke Paxman
11.04.19

The Difference Between a Designer and a Developer

When you boil it down, building a website comes down to two key components - design and development.

Without the designer’s ability to create an attractive and sleek design that’s easy for a user to navigate, there wouldn’t be a website to create. And without the developer’s ability to bring this design to life through code, there would be no website at all.

Although these components go hand in hand, the process behind each role is quite different. Designers have to think deeply about the visual appeal of a website. This includes taking into account the company’s brand, the user experience (UX), and goals of the website (i.e. purchasing a product, phone calls, form submissions, etc).

With the brand in mind, the designer has to put themselves in the shoes of the end-user in order to create a design that looks and feels easy to navigate. All the while steering the user towards the website’s key performance indicator (KPI).

Once the website comps are created and approved by the client, the workload shifts over to the developer. The handoff is an important part of the website build. Before the work fully shifts to development, the two sides hash out the elements of each page to ensure the designer’s vision is clear.

From there, the developer uses static pages of what the website should look like and uses those wireframes to make the pages come to life. Things like framework, codebase, and which tech stack to use are all decisions made during the development stage when building a website.

While building the website, the developer has to keep the end goal the client is trying to achieve with its site in mind. Ensuring KPI(s) the client wants out of their site and the UX that the designer has created all work seamlessly is paramount to a successful website build. 

Once the code is created to reflect the designer’s vision, the final element is giving the client the ability to edit the areas of the website that will need regular updates. Merging the back-end code with a content management system (CMS) intuitively gives the client flexibility to add or edit content without having to make sense of code.

The two roles of designer and developer serve different stages of the creation of a website and neither one could exist without the other. The designer’s creativity and theory behind the design choices must flow right into the developer’s logic and implementation of these choices. 

Building websites is at once an art and a science. At Masonry, we take pride in bridging that gap to be able to bring to life the dreams of clients like Chuy’s, Blue Prism, Austin Pets Alive!, Austin Title and many others.


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