If your website needs updating or completely revamping, how do you know whether you need a web designer or a web developer? The two are often used interchangeably which causes confusion. Web design is the most commonly used name for industry professionals, however this encompassing a wide range of skills, only one of which relates to visual design. Here we aim to clear up some of the confusion.

Web Design

The design element is the part that deals with the front end of the site, the part that a visitor sees. The job entails designing how a site looks and how users can interact with it. Using the principles of design theory, these professionals work to make a site look attractive and appealing. They also work to make a site that’s easy to navigate and use, offering intuitive elements to make using it a pleasurable experience. It’s more than simply being aesthetically pleasing; the site must feel good too. Try web designers in Reading for your next project.

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Web Development

There are two sides to web development – front-end and back-end. Sometimes the two overlap, but they do have separate purposes.

Those working on the front-end will take a visual design, created by themselves or a designer and build it in code. Most simple sites will only need this front-end development carried out. Bigger and more complex sites will require back-end development too. Back end is more advanced, requiring more complex programming and interactions on different pages of the site. Back end web developers concentrate on how a website functions and runs for a customer. It could involve coding for interfacing with a database or building e-commerce functions that link to payment processors, for example.

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Why the confusion?

Sometimes the lines get blurred between the two professions. Some professionals will specialise in very specific areas while others offer a broader spectrum of both design and development. Many web industry workers will be knowledgeable about visual design programmes like Adobe Photoshop but also know some code to create simple pages. Those professionals with knowledge that crosses the boundaries of design and development will have a set of skills highly marketable in the industry.

This cross-over knowledge is important as a designer who has an understanding of how web pages are built, can create better and more intuitive pages. In return, a web developer who grasps the ideas of basic design and communication can make better decisions when it comes coding interactions, functionality and pages for their clients.

Knowing which skill set you require is important for finding the right professionals to work on your website. The skills you seek will also impact the cost involved for work on your site. Generally, the costs for front end and design work will be less for smaller sites than hiring an advanced back end coder. Big projects that require a team of both designers and developers will cost considerably more.

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