Web Designers vs Web Developers: Difference Between Web Designers and Web Developers

In various blogs, the web designer vs web developer story has been written multiple times.

There was a clear difference between a web designer and a web developer, and the unique skills they brought to the table while doing a website development project.

The Responsibilities of Web Designers Included

  • Designing the landing page or the home page 
  • Extending the company’s branding to the webpages 
  • Conceptualizing how many clicks are needed to go from the landing page to the transactional pages
  • Deciding what pictures to be uploaded for the best viewing

Check out: Web Designer Project Ideas

Meanwhile, the Responsibilities of Web Developers Included

  • Connecting the landing page to various databases and tables 
  • How to understand the number of people who visited your website and their details 
  • Linking the website to a payment gateway (incase its an e-commerce platform) 
  • Optimize the page for viewing on mobile 
  • Server hosting and network connectivity issues

The other factor that led to the difference between a web designer and a web developer was the belief that different personality traits were needed for the two functions. A web designer was perceived to be a creative person while a web developer was a pure “techie” armed with analytical and technical skills.

This also led to stereotyping these two fields. People chose a career in any of these based on their personal inclination of aligning themselves with any of the traits. However, formal Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) training offered by various career institutes is helping in blurring this gap and we are witnessing an increasing overlap of the roles.

Similar research was done on bringing out the differences between the two trades by studying the salaries that web designers and web developers commanded in the market. This showed that a web developer commanded a premium of about 10% over the web designer.  On the other hand, a web designer was usually connected to advertisement agencies and was difficult to get.

However, with increased supply and competition of web designer vs web developer and increased automation and lesser budget allocations for upgrading/launching new websites, the salaries were stagnating.

The present situation has helped in changing the demand scenario for vs web designers web developers. However, along with this, the client’s expectations of them have changed, which leads to more differences between web designers and web developers. It is now expected that one person needs to transform the concept into reality. This needs new-age skills.

Read: Web Developer Project Ideas

Let us discuss some of the developments in the market

  • Increased Digital Transformation in the Company: More and more companies are focusing on contactless touchpoints between the company and its customers. Companies are also demanding for increased digital interaction between their employees and resources. This is leading to an exponential demand for redesigning the websites.
  • Digital Storytelling: Companies traditionally had a lot of text and white papers on their websites, which were used as marketing communication. To differentiate over the clutter, companies are focusing on videos and pictures of how customers are using their products, uploading videos that tell about companies’ culture and their customer’s service history. This leads to a need to revamp the website, create content by hearing from various stakeholders, and convert the Top Management ideas into reality.
  • Data Analytics: Increasingly, the web developer and web designer have to coordinate with data engineers to create digital data lakes for the customer. There is an increased need to integrate the data of customer journey from companies’ web touchpoints of mobile, desktop, and also other social websites where the webpage is tagged.
  • Government Digitization: Increasingly, the Government is digitizing services. There is a need for designing websites that are scalable, secure, and multilingual. This needs advanced skills in web designing and web development.
  • Online Skill Development: Governments and companies as well as employees are focusing on up-skilling and reskilling themselves. They achieve this through online classes from government-authorized skill development facilities, specialized technical and management institutes, and specialized higher education e-learning platforms like upGrad.
  • E-commerce Platform: The government has mandated e-commerce platforms for small-scale and medium-scale industries. There is a need for website designers and website developers, with specialized skills and understanding of this sector.

Given this scenario, it is estimated that there will be a 30% year-on-year growth in demand of web developers and web designers. However, a survey of the industry experts shows that web developers and web designers need to up-skill themselves to capture this increased demand.

There was a survey done among CIO level persons in various industries and the Consulting Agencies who advise on the Digital Transformation of Government.

These are aggregated pointers from their feedbacks

  • In the web designers vs web developers competition, they need to be certified in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) skills.
  • Web developers need not only be proficient in coding skills like HTML, CSS, Javascript, Microsoft .NET, and Visual Studio but also need to know how to connect with various API in data visualization tools (e.g. Tableau, Qlickview) and coding skills in Python and R.
  • With the scalability of websites becoming an issue, the difference between web designers and web developers should minimize and they should research the number of concurrent users based on actual circumstances and optimize the website for that. The crashing of websites during high demand affects the adoption and needs to be stopped at all costs.
  • Web developers should understand the latest cybersecurity standards and update the webpages accordingly. Small and midscale industries and various institutions do not have the resources to invest in cybersecurity experts.
  • Web developers should be aware of the low bandwidth in the interior of the country. As those regions are increasingly demanding online presence, particularly mobile-enabled websites, web designers and web developers should optimize the webpages for low bandwidth, asynchronous operations, and minimize the number of trips the webpage has to do to the central server.

Conclusion

The future does not lie in the differences between web designers and web developers, but in creating unified skills between the two. In this VUCA world (Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), the customer does not have time to talk separately to each of them to develop a website and to understand customer feedback to make the webpage more interactive and useful.

This creates the demand for a new breed of web designers and web developers who can combine the skills. The starting point, however, is that rather than technical skills, a thorough understanding of Human-Computer Interface (HCI) is needed to develop and improve websites that operate on scale and influence day to day working of the customer.

This skill gap is present in the industry as we have traditionally looked at web designers and web developers as two separate skill sets. It is time to up-skill and be a part of the digital opportunity, which the current times have presented.

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