Web Designer vs. Front-End Developer- What’s the Difference?

So you’re interested in learning about the differences between a web designer and front-end web developer? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Web designers and front-end web developers can often be confused for one another because they both handle website design. Web design is the first part of building a website and involves branding and layout decisions. Web development is more about creating websites with HTML, CSS, Javascript & jQuery, and the multitude of languages that may manifest in the future.

Web Designer vs. Front-end Web Developer

Web designers and front-end developers are both critical elements of web development. Web designers create the website’s layout, graphics, and user experience by using HTML, CSS, JavaScript or other coding languages to publish content across different platforms. Web designers can also be referred to as graphic designers who specialize in creating visual elements for websites. Front-end developers work hand in hand with web designers to bring their designs into reality through programming code. They are responsible for all the interactive features on a site like buttons, menus, animations or widgets that make it function more effectively.

The difference between these two roles is not always clear because they share many responsibilities but have very different skills sets which set them apart from one another.”

That being said, it’s all about collaboration. Web designers must partner with front-end web developers in order to bring their ideas into reality; they cannot do it alone! Web designers must communicate clearly about how the site will look while front end development teams must provide insight on what would work best for easier navigation across all devices. Even though each party has its own set of responsibilities within the job role, there are many overlaps which make collaboration key. A clear line of communication between these two roles is vital throughout every step of the design to development process.

A Deeper Dive into Web Designers

Web designers are responsible for the visual presentation of a company’s products, services and overall image. They create websites that are not only visually appealing but also provide users with an easy-to-navigate user experience. Web designers work on everything from logo designs to page layout while considering things like search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Furthermore, Web designers focus on the design itself, while front-end developers deal with HTML and CSS.

A Look into Front-End Web Developers

Front-end web developers play an integral role when it comes to architecture and build out. They focus on user interface and visual elements, such as the layout and design of a website. Web designers also play an important role; however, they build out websites from wireframes that front-end developers create. In other words, the designer will sketch it out and the developer will bring it to life.

Design Principles

Web designers abide by one or more sets of principles. Web designers are often familiar with web design principles that guide them to create a website or Web application which is easy-to-use.

“Readability counts”. Web developers must ensure the content they develop will be readable by all users, regardless of their Internet connection speed, color display…etc. Web developers should use Web standards, such as HTML and CSS. For example, web designers can create a website that is both beautiful and functional by using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to separate design from content.

Designer vs. Developer Stats

First up, designer and developer salaries

Web designers and front-end developers earn very different salaries, too. Web designers earn an average salary of $70,000 per year. Web developers make more money than web designers with a median annual wage of $90,120 annually.

It’s the skillset that sets them apart.

There are many differences between Web design and front-end development; however, there is also overlap when it comes to the two fields. Web designers often become familiar with HTML and CSS but may not have a deep functional understanding, just enough to speak the developer’s language.

How about demographics?

In the United States women make up only 25% of web development employees, while 75% are men. Web designers have a similar statistic with just 23.53% women compared to 76.47% percent being male. Demographically speaking, the numbers look different. Web designers often come from a more diverse background with 22% being Hispanic, 13.24% African American/Black, and 11.11%. Web developers have less diversity with only 14% being Hispanic or Latino as well as African American/Black making up just 12.39%.

In the next few years the Web design and development spaces are expected to become even more diverse.

What are you options as a designer or developer?

The options are endless. To begin, one can pursue freelance/contracting work as well as starting his or her own agency. With social media and various other online platforms (i.e. Upwork), getting started independently has never been easier. However, if you’re looking for employment there are many different job boards (i.e. Indeed and BuiltFor) and Web design/development communities where one can find openings.

Still confused?

Do not hesitate to reach out via email or my social media channels (Twitter & Instagram) with any questions! I’m more than happy to help guide you when it comes to you designer vs. developer options.

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