Definition of Graphic Designer, Web Designer and Web Developer

picture of two designer

If a graphic designer designs a mock-up of a web-site they are still a graphic-designer and not a web-designer (at least when they are designing the website in photoshop, illustrator, gimp, or ms-paint). Not saying that web-designers don’t ever use photoshop to design web-sites… Just that web-design requires more than photoshop.

I would just like to make sure people draw a line between designing a web-site as a graphic and being a web-designer. I’d also like to point out that graphic-design is awesome! I’m not saying this to discourage anyone from creating awesome design. I was just confused as hell with the job interviews I’ve had. I think it’s equally important for employers to keep their definitions in line with my own as it is for everyone else in the world to agree with me. Please read further.

Graphic Designer

This one is pretty self-explanatory: A graphic designer is a designer of graphics. I wrote a bit about Art vs Design in a previous article. Long story short, a graphic designer creates graphics… What those graphics are is irrelevant.

Web Designer

Web designers need to code a little bit, some html & css will do. Web designers should also be familiar with usability (how people interact with a website). Graphic designers have usability concerns too (colour-blindness testing for example).

Let’s think of design from another… Instead of designing how a website should look… What about designing how a web-site should navigation. How are the users going to get from the home-page, to the order-form.

What types of navigation are available and how are they presented. What elements on the site show a user where they are and how to get where they are going? Search engine optimization is another factor a savvy web-designer might want to be familiar with.

Web designers face the challenge of keeping the user tuned-in enough to get around the site & tuned-out enough to stay on the site. Users should have an easy time staying on the site and finding what they want. If you make it hard for users to find what they want, they will leave. Poor site-structure, load-times, even aesthetics are all reasons users might leave your site.

Web Developer

Web Developers are a type of software-developer. Web-software requires a special environment to run (as if a computer wasn’t a special enough environment). Web-software requires two computers to run… One computer acts as the server and the other computer is the client. Web software runs (does it’s software-thing) on the server-computer & the client-computer & everywhere in between.

Don’t think of a web-site as a collection of web-pages. Think of the web-site as the location of the web-software/app. A web-page can be as simple as saving a file with a .html file-extension and opening it with a web-browser *(try this in notepad on windows, or text-wrangler if your on a mac) A web-site can span over many pages, many files, database, even web-servers.

Web developers are concerned with making the site / app work.

Front-End Web-Developer

Front end developers work with the user-facing side of the site. It’s not that they don’t do any back-end work. A web-sites front-end needs to get information from the back-end in order to process & present it. Front-end developers often build the parts of the site which run on the client-side of the client-server environment.

Back-End Web-Developer

Back end developers build the server-software that act as the brain & backbone of the site; whereas the front-end developers build the eyes, mouth & face of the site. Back-end developers plan and maintain the databases / data-records which drive the sites output. Back end development work also involves connecting servers to one and other & managing the environment the website runs in.

Source from : Dabzo