What Exactly Is Web Design Anyway?

To be clear, there is a difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer. Web designers are the professionals who create the look and feel of a website. It involves the layout, graphics, color schemes, menu locations, etc. You should look at this field of professionals as User Interface Designers. They are the people who will be painting the picture of your business online.

So, okay… that means when I want a website for my business online, I need to get a Web Designer! Well, sort of. You see, this is only the visual aspect of putting together a website. But what about the ability to capture your users information for an email marketing campaign? Or the need to upload products to your website and manage their prices, images, and descriptions? And what about how people will pay you for your products?

Enter the world of Web Developers! Web Developers are generally web-based application programmers who write the code that actually does stuff. This by no means is a statement to take away from the importance of the Web Designer role. No no… it is to show there are two sides of the web. The part that people see, and the part that makes that visual experience interactive.

Whether you are a business owner needing websites built for you, or a person wanting to get into web design yourself, it is important to understand the key roles in the process. There are more than just these first two categories. For example; the database that will be needed to hold the information of your dynamic website requires some attention too. The professionals who generally deal in this area are called DBA’s (Database Administrators). Don’t be alarmed. Most Web Developers (by necessity) are pre-qualified to wear both developer and DBA hats. In many cases, you will run into the concept of a single professional being able to fill all three of these areas.

The main point in all of this is simple. When you think you just need a “simple website”, think again. What you see on the surface of a website hardly reveals what is really going on under the hood. All of the functionality and interactive elements within the site that people want and need are not simple. They are complex and require a person to spend time developing and testing them. Sure there are reusable things developers can use (and most people can buy or get for free – think WordPress) to save time, but not all businesses and websites can get 100% of what they need from these “out-of-the-box” CMS’s (Content Management Systems). Almost every time, without fail, you will need that extra something that just isn’t provided. Those extra pieces may be a better looking template (Web Designer), or a feature for your business that just isn’t quite right from a canned website (Web Developer).

So now that you have a little bit better of an understanding in the world of Web Design, get out there and launch us something new. We are all looking for the next big thing and might just be you! Follow up articles will discuss the details of web-based technologies that each of these professionals use on a daily basis. Languages like PHP, C#, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and XHTML. It wont stop there… we will look at other things like, what the heck is AJAX? Stay tuned!

 
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