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Web design covers a variety of disciplines and skills in the creation and maintenance of web sites. The various disciplines of web design cover web graphic design; web authoring, which includes proprietary software and standardised coding; web user interface design; visual communication design; and interactivity, including creative software and programming. The web site is created through a combination of all these disciplines.
Web developers work in tandem with web designers to create the actual website. Web developers are responsible for providing the users with the necessary functionality. They use aesthetics to enhance the product, including graphic design and interface aesthetics. While some web designers are purely concerned with web design, others are solely specialists in web development.
The primary role of web designers and web developers is to provide the means by which the site will be utilised. The end users will be able to manipulate the information provided on the site. Web developers are therefore involved in providing the necessary software and interfaces by which users can access the information. While web developers primarily focus on how the site will function, designers provide the aesthetic aspects required to make it aesthetically acceptable. In essence, they are the ones that “style” the site.
The two disciplines have a lot more in common. Web designers are mainly concerned with how the site will function, whereas interface designers are largely concerned with the visual interface. However, the two often go hand in hand with each other. As the name suggests, interface designers plan the layout and appearance of the site. Web developers then add functionality to the web design, adding and editing pages as well as adding new features to the site.
A web designer works mainly with one or more clients. This person’s main focus is the creation of a website that meets the client’s objectives. For instance, a graphic designer may work for a clothing manufacturer looking for a graphical representation of their product. The manufacturer will want to have as much color and imagery as possible to visually illustrate their products. A web developer would focus more on adding the functionality to the site, while still allowing the designer to emphasis the brand. The designer is also responsible for coming up with an eye-catching interface, one that will attract customers.
While both web design and layout design to focus on the visual aspects of the site, there are some key differences between the two disciplines. A graphic designer may be responsible for coming up with the layout design. This person then uses a computer program such as Adobe Photoshop to design the final layout of the site. If the designer finds any problems or needs help, they usually turn to a programmer to translate their ideas into code.
However, even though web designers often work on purely digital projects, many still perform work that is strictly practical. Many designers work in advertising agencies and act as technical designers. Both types of designers often work together in teams to produce advertising. As well, both types of designers often work as freelance professionals. Web developers may also work in software development companies and act as programmers while designing web pages.
The final component is usability. Although web designers can play a large role in the creation of a website, the final user still needs to be comfortable with how the site functions. Many designers use usability specialists such as usability experts or usability trainers to analyze user behavior and design the website accordingly. Some marketers may require the web designer to go through a comprehensive series of usability tests before the site goes live.
Another major difference between web design and web development is that web designers are responsible for building the actual web pages, whereas developers make the initial HTML and CSS codes. Web designers usually start by creating a basic website template. Once the basic website is complete, they transfer it to the developer. Developers then add and modify the website’s code. While some web designers will continue to do this as they develop each page of the site, others will outsource this task to independent third parties.