Web Designer vs Web Development – What Are The Differences?

Written by Ethan He

November 15, 2021

Web Design vs Web Development Img

Are you interested in a career in web development? Are you confused about the distinction between a web designer and a web developer?  Below I will break down the key differences as well as  the different skill sets required for each role.

Difference Between Web Designer and Web Developer

A web designer is generally a graphic artist who is in charge of designing a website’s layout, usability, and visual appearance.  

A web developer is someone who creates and maintains the foundation of a website and puts design into a functional website.

A successful web designer must have a wide range of creative, graphic, and technical abilities.

A web developer’s main task is to to make sure the website is fully functional and following best web development practices using coding languages such as HTML,CSS,  JavaScript, PHP, and Python.

If you want to be a web designer or developer, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the various roles, as well as the necessary qualifications and skill set.


Web Designer

A web designer is someone who focuses on the visual appearance of a website . Web designers’ primary responsibility is to focus on the style and overall feel of the website using various editing softwares such Photoshop and FinalCut to make the website more appealing.

There are 3 main types of web designers:


1. User Experience (UX) Designer

UX stands for “User Experience” and relates to a user’s interaction with a product or interactive media, such as a website. The internet and digital media aren’t the only places where UX design may be found. UX may be applied in practically any situation that involves human interaction, such as gaming, using an app, or even operating a fridge.

UX design’s main focus is the end user. Their objective is to understand their needs, behaviors and motivations. A user experience designer thinks about how the experience makes the user feel and how simple it is to get the desired goal.


2. User Interface (UI) Designer

UI design, commonly referred to as user interface design, is the visual design of a product’s user interface. It’s a process of designing user interfaces, such as apps and websites, with a focus on aesthetics. 

A UI designer will construct all of a product’s  screen displays, as well as the visual elements—and their interactive properties—that allow users to engage with it. Patterns, spacing, text, and color are used to guide the user in this direction.


3. Visual Designer

Visual designers’ main focus is on the look and feel of the product and brand identity. However, unlike graphic designers, visual designers may be involved in discussions about what the site or product offers as well as the goals of the digital development project.


Web Developer

Web developers are commonly referred to as programmers. They take the web designer’s design and turn it into a fully functional website. They make use of various software and programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP.

Their primary goal is to create a well-functioning website. Web developers work with UX designers, UI designers, and visual designers to create web pages based off their design and vision. 


1. Front-End Developer

Front-end developers create the actual website by using CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and other programming languages, as well as Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress. Front-end development, also known as client-side development, is primarily concerned with coding and programming the visual elements of a website that visitors will see. As a result, there is some crossover and collaboration between front-end developers and web designers.


2. Back-End Developer

Back-end developers use advanced programming languages such as PHP,  Javascript, Ruby, and SQL, as well as Vue and Ruby on Rails and other server-side frameworks, to code the database and server. Back-end development, also known as server-side development, refers to the aspects of a website that occur “behind the scenes” and are not visible to visitors on the front end.


3. Full Stack Developer

Full-stack developers write code for both the front and back ends of websites. They have a thorough understanding of how these components work and interact with one another. Full-stack developers not only code web pages in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, but they also set up and configure backend servers, implement and develop Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), query databases, SEO and much more.



You should now have a better understanding of the key distinctions between a web designer and a web developer.

Web designers and web developers both play a significant role in the creation, construction, and upkeep of websites. Ultimately, the two roles rely on one another to produce a high-quality product.

The main distinction is that developers concentrate on the project’s technical aspects, such as programming and coding. Designers are in charge of the visual and conceptual work required to ensure a good UX and UI.

Ethan He

About Ethan He

Ethan is a Full Stack Web Developer and SEO Specialist based in Pittsburgh, PA. In his free time, Ethan enjoys working on various projects involving Ruby, Vue and AWS applications.

Ethan graduated from The Firehose Project coding bootcamp in 2016 with a focus on Ruby on Rail and Computer Software engineering.