Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Semantics of Design and Development

Design vs. Development

The defined lines between designers and developers are becoming more blurred as employers are seeking out candidates who can fulfill the responsibilities of both job roles. Furthermore, it is very common for many businesses to use these terms interchangeably to describe these fundamentally different aspects of the website building process. A web designer is concerned with the principles of design to create a website that looks great while focusing on how the user will interact with it. In essence, a designer creates the layout, visual hierarchy and other graphic elements of the website. In contrast, a developer works on creating the back-end of the website by focusing on how a website will function and work. This requires the use of HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and other programming languages to make a functioning website from the “mockup design.”

With all that being said, I don’t believe I have ever met a designer who knew absolutely no programming languages. And I’ve never met a developer who wasn’t aware of the importance of design to the overall function of a website. Utilizing both skill sets can allow the designer to be more aware of how the conceptual and production phases work together to build a website. With an understanding of CSS, a designer can start to produce color schemes, layouts and graphics that are more harmonious with the workflow and thought process of building a website. The development and function of a website will also benefit greatly from understanding how design principles can create a more usable and user friendly interface. Additionally, the designer will have the advantage of learning the best practices of web development, such as basic search engine optimization for internet marketing.

The job roles of design and development will continue to blur as knowledge of design principles and programming languages is still not enough to build a good website. In-depth research is required in order to accurately assess the project’s objective. This assessment is achieved by exploring and examining the client’s company, industry, competition, marketing strategy, and target audience. This also requires knowledge of internet marketing, search engine optimization, and website analytics. As Google’s various algorithms keep changing so will the designer have to adapt to the new challenges of maintaining the best practices of web design and development. There is hardly ever a time where a designer will run out of room for improvement, dedication and the willingness to do the research which will be required to utilize all these different skill sets.