Do You Need a Developer as Well as a Designer?
Many people think that a web designer and a web developer are the same person, it’s just a case of semantics. The problem is that you couldn’t be further from the truth, as a designer and a developer have completely different focuses when it comes to websites.
In simplistic terms, a developer focuses on making your website work, a designer focuses on how it works. Developers can step into a designers shoes and designers can also do a bit of development, but the truth is that you need both skills to create a high quality and user friendly website.
Quite often, website designers are reluctant to bring in a developer as developers can restrict what the designer wants to achieve with the website. For example, a designer may want to add a certain call to action button to the home page, but doing so causes the site to grind to a screeching halt requiring increased processing power and a change to a more up-to-date server. Designers like to dream – but developers make those dreams come true.
The benefits of including a developer in the design process
A developer will make sure that your website works and works well. Without a developer, a design might simply not be workable and you end up spending countless days, weeks and even months trying to put together a website.
A developer can help a designer to understand the limitations of their design and to realise what is, and is not, achievable. In fact, developers can actually come up with their own ideas or even give the designer a green light for an idea which the designer had previously discarded as impossible to achieve. In addition, developers can take a designer’s idea and build on it, creating much more than the designer thought possible.
The real truth is that developers need to make design decisions, because to make a site work they have to understand some elements of design. Bringing in a developer at the end of the design process is a fool’s way of creating a website and can unfortunately, lead to a failed website project.
Sometimes, this gives developers a bad name but they are only being realistic. If it can’t be done, it doesn’t matter how much a designer wants it to work or how much time and effort they have invested in the design, it just won’t work.
So including a developer in the creation of a website from the start of the process, helps both the designer and the developer create a website that is fully functional from a technical point of view (the developer) and gives the client an aesthetically pleasing website that is user-friendly (the designers point of view).
As a last note, bringing in a developer at the last moment, quite often makes them feel like a crash test dummy or a third wheel and then they get blamed because the design has to be radically redesigned. In situations like this, the developer has no ownership of the website and feels unappreciated.
The solution is to include the developer in as many design meetings as possible, that way the developer’s input is considered and there is collaboration rather than competition in the creation of a website.
Jason is a Web Developer at Cornerstone who appreciates building websites that delight and inform. He is a curious person, and enjoys work that challenges him to learn something new and stretch in a different direction.