Web Designers vs. Web Developers: The Real Showdown
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Web Designers vs. Web Developers: The Real Showdown

By Mainak Biswas April 05, 2012 - 1,136 views

One of the often repeated sagas in the world of web designing is who is better, the web designer or the developer. Turns out, many-a-times the web designers and the web developers too can’t decide and each believes his profession is superior. This clash of egos results in certain comical situations but mostly unfortunate incidents where if the two worked as a team, the end product (the website) would be much better.

Who is a Web Designer?

A web designer is responsible for the way a website looks and feels. He is responsible for the artistic, graphic and creative aspect of a website. A web designer is most approachable to the client as the client knows how the website must look. A designer thus uses certain web designing tools (Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc) to play with layouts, colors and typography. Web designers are responsible in making a website unique and special, standing out from the rest of the competitors.

Who is a Web Developer?

A web developer on the other hand makes sure that the engineering of the website is done right. A web developer uses advanced coding, programming languages (C++, Java, PHP, etc) and other techniques to make a website functional and usable. Web developers are less concerned with the creative aspects than the functional aspect of a website. A web developer makes the website ‘happen’, based on what the designer hands out in a PSD file, for instance.

Stereotypes of Web Designers and Developers

Everyone has heard of the nerdy and geeky developer, who sips gallons of coffee, doesn’t trim beard for days and is slightly asocial, when compares to a designer. A web designer on the other hand is stereotyped to be creative, trendier and more social of the two. These stereotypes unfortunately are played by the professionals themselves, without realising that they are falling victims to ego clashes, which are certainly not necessary in a team.

Do take a look at what the professionals themselves have to say about their professions! Also, take a look at an infographic that describes the stereotypes about web designers and web developers.

Thus, one could say that a web designer takes care of the designing and creative part, where as the developer takes care of the coding, programming and functional aspects of a website. Both are crucial for a website to work the way it should, and look the way it should.

Reasons of Conflicts between Developers and Designers

There are many reasons for conflicts between web designers and web developers. There are certain communication gaps and ego clashes that work against working in a single team. Moreover, designers tend to be more creative and find coding and functionality self-limiting. Developers find creativity and divergent thinking radical, and contrary to what they believe: stability and functionality. These basic differences in opinion, attitude and ego-clashes result in most of the conflicts between the two.

For instance, developers find it difficult to work with Flash files and designers may not want to work with HTML and CSS because they are not used to them. Designers also tend to be slightly less organized than developers, who almost tend to be OCD personalities. For instance, developers may find it very infuriating to work with unnamed PSD files with several layers. Lack of communication gives rise to most of the conflicts between the two. Take a look at this argument by developers about why they think they are better than designers. However, such arguments need introspection, and only working together can create great results.

Advantages of Conflicts and How they May Help in Projects

Conflicts always need to be resolved, and when we talk about conflicts between designers and developers we must understand that there are possibilities for opportunities. There are also certain advantages to these conflicts. A dreary argument between a designer and a developer may lead to brainstorming. Brainstorming usually results in clarity of thought and acceptance of difference in opinions. Thus, a conflict may help to increase creative energies and result in a successful project.

How to Minimize Conflict and Work Together to Create Great Projects

Patrick McNeil, the content director of HOW Interactive Designer, is the author of The Designer’s Web Handbook. The book helps designers to deal with issues they encounter while web designing. It also helps them to tackle issues that they may encounter with developers. He maintains that both of them need to work together, and each can’t do without the other. The best way to minimize conflicts is to communicate. Communicating what seems to be infuriating can give rise to a number of solutions. Moreover, one must also accept that it isn’t possible to do without the other and both web developers and designers need each other no matter how different their thought patterns are.

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