What’s the difference between ‘Website Designers’ and ‘Website Developers’ and ‘Website Engineers’?
Do they do the same thing?

It is a very important question when buying a website – who to use?

Looking for the right person, Website Designer/Developer/Engineer, who can produce the desired result needs research. They are not all the same!

The term ‘Web Designer’ covers a very wide range of people.

Actually,  a ‘Web Designer’ is usually more concerned with how the website looks in visual terms using images and layout. Most Graphic Designers are more than capable of designing a web page and therefore many do.

A ‘Website Developer’ or ‘Website Engineer’ is happier playing with ‘code’ and actually building the site or the ‘back end’ and programming it to making it function. This can be done visually but is more effectively written in some kind of code which to most of us is a foreign language.

Many Web Designers can find their way around the code, whether it is javascript html or PHP and ideally know how each platform works to be able to design for it. This kind of knowledge makes the Web Developer’s job much easier when they work together.

design coding1But, and this is a BIG BUT, if a Designer only knows a little about coding and how the web site is built it can lead to problems in achieving what has been designed.

Web Developers are also aware of the importance of the design and look of the web pages but may not have the experience and training in actual design to create the best layouts that suit a particular job requirement.

The best ‘Web Designer’ to have is a specialist in both but more often than not two experts in their respective fields are better than one. It may cost more but the final result will be worth it.

weThere are lots of different software packages and many ways of building a website, ask around and get some advice on what suits your needs best.

Some sites are created from templates which are purchased or even free. Platforms such as WordPress, are template or framework based. This means that if using a basic template design your website may resemble many others. However with the addition of extensions and widgets and a good Web Developer you can still end up with an individual and bespoke site. This is a very cost effective and common way for some Web Designers to deliver a website. To produce a completely bespoke site, Web Developers will write the code from scratch. It very much depends on what you want, and what you want to pay, and that will dictate the best software or platform to use, however you must know exactly what you are paying for and what you will get.

It is important to know which platform your site is going to use and how easily you can access it or change parts of it yourself.

Content Management systems make this possible but come at an extra charge, how much extra depends on what you want it to do.

Make sure that if your web site is to bespoke, designed and developed from scratch, that it is and you don’t end up with a template based website which would costs considerably less to produce.

I recently heard of a Client who was so proud of his new website but when showing it off, discovered that it was built on an exact template design with no changes other than the added content. That in itself was no problem but he had been charged for a bespoke website and had that was not what he had received. The template for that website cost £50.00 and he could have filled in the content himself fairly easily but had been charged in the region of £3000.00 and you couldn’t tell the difference between the two!

Templated sites can be a perfect starting point and alterations can be made to make it personal. Sometimes too many changes to the basic template can end up being as costly and often more work than building a completely new one.

Decide what you want and what you want it to do, look at other websites that have the same sort of functions and talk to several different Web ‘People’ before finalising a decision and signing the deal!

Ask questions such as:

  • Do you design and build it?

and then if not…

  • Do you have a supplier/partner who does the design/building and have you worked with them many times?
  • Meet both people together…
  • How will it be managed, who will do what and who will be responsible for what?
  • What platform will the web designer/developer use?
  • What one would be more suitable for what I want to do and achieve?

Web Developers can be really irritated by a Designer who doesn’t understand what can and can’t be achieved. At the same time, Web Designers can be frustrated by Developers who don’t see when the colour is wrong or that a typeface doesn’t match. They can both be frustrated by a Client who doesn’t know what they want, or makes endless changes and demands. You, the Client will become annoyed if you don’t get what you want and feel you are being ignored!

Just a few more things to consider –

  1. What you want to achieve and why is essential.
  2. Finding the right people to work with.
  3. Building that relationship so everyone knows what is expected and what the outcome will be.

With a professional Website Designer and Website Developer Team your website will be a very worthwhile investment!

creative design libraryIf you would like to know more about website design and a useful website checklist Click Here for the Creative Library and the articles to download!


Angie Phillips

A.N.G. Creative Design – Creating Business By Design