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The Crucial Role of a Web Designer in Web Development

Graphic design
June 30, 2022
9 minutes

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Think you’re all set once you hire a web developer? Think again! A web designer can make your digital space much more enticing and help the customer journey go from ordinary to exciting.

Your website is the business card of your company, where people get a first impression or come to learn more about you. Sure, you could sketch the design and let your web developer take it from there. But with the important role your website plays, it’s not wise.

Web development, UI/UX design, roadmaps; if you’re a rookie in the digital space, hearing all of these terms can be pretty overwhelming. But doing your research before venturing on your worldwide web endeavor is crucial. It could make or break the success of your website, after all.

In this article, we’ll look at a web developer versus a web designer and why you need both when it comes to how to design a web page.

Web designer vs. web developer: what’s the difference?

A web designer is responsible for the digital design of a website’s layout, usability, and visual appearance. Whereas a web developer builds and maintains the core structure of a website.

In most cases, a web designer will start on your project and visualize how your website should look. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics; there is much more your designer takes into consideration. We’ll dive into the skills your designer needs shortly.

Once the design is finished, it’s up to a web developer to make the design into a fully functioning website. This is done by using coding languages such as Python and HTML.

A design can be visually striking, but you’ll hit a wall if it’s impossible to code. That’s why web designers and web developers often work hand in hand.

Web designer

Right, so we’ve established that you need a web designer. But here’s another curveball: there are multiple web designers to choose from. In general, there are three types of web designers available:

  1. UX designers – User-experience designers, also known as UX designers, are the ones that base the aesthetics of your website on the visitor’s experience. They focus on structuring the website in a way that positively affects visitors and entices engagement.
  2. UI designers – User-interface designers, also known as UI designers, focus mainly on the layout of your website. They create a layout in such a way that it increases interaction, and therefore conversion, coming from visitors.
  3. Visual designers – Last but not least, a visual designer focuses on the visual aspects of your website. This ranges from graphic design services such as a color palette to image optimization and everything in between.

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Don’t worry; luckily, most web designers handle a combination of these graphic design services. There are full-service web designers who can help you with the visual appeal, user-friendliness, and your website’s conversion rate.

Web developer

As with web design, web development comes in different kinds. There are three major web development fields in which a developer can work:

  1. Front-end developer – This revolves largely around developing the front end of a website, meaning what is visible to a visitor. A front-end developer will focus on using coding language in a way that the visual aspects of the website are shown in the intended way. As you can imagine, there is quite an overlap between front-end developers and web designers.
  2. Back-end developer – Everything that happens behind the scenes of a website, which is more than you think, is coded by back-end developers. Think of the servers and databases a website relies on. Back-end developers use advanced coding languages to make sure a website runs smoothly.
  3. Full-stack developer – Finally, a full-stack developer is a developer that does both front and back-end development. A full-stack developer has a solid understanding of what’s going on both behind the scenes and at the forefront of a website.

Aspects of web design

By choosing a color palette and typography for your website, you’ve barely scratched the surface of a web design. These are essential features promoting good aesthetics, but there is a little more to web designing. Let’s go over the main aspects of web design.

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Design knowledge

Web design relies heavily on a solid understanding of various design elements and principles. Many design laws are applicable when it comes to structuring a web page, like the gestalt principles.

A web designer needs to know about various design elements such as color and typography. Still, in addition, they need to be proficient in design software and understand your brand design.

Design software comes in all forms and types, and most designers will have their own preferences or use a combination of a handful of programs.

In addition to knowledge about general design, a web designer will also look into your branding design. Without knowing how you portray your brand, it’s near impossible for web designers to create a website that fits your business goals.

HTML and CSS knowledge

If you create something that doesn’t work, all efforts will be in vain. Simple as that. Therefore, a web designer should know basic coding languages.

Knowing the basics of HTML and CSS will allow for a more hassle-free collaboration between your web developer and designer, ensuring the website will turn out as envisioned in the first place.

Wireframing and prototyping

Wireframes serve as the skeleton of your website. This base gives a general idea of how your website will be constructed. A designer will put this in place before diving into more visual aspects of the digital design.

After a solid wireframe, a designer will create a prototype. It’s a visual representation of your website. However, it’s not the final product yet. This prototype serves to test what works and what doesn’t.

User journey mapping

With this prototype, a web designer will delve into user journey mapping. This is a diagram that visualizes how people will utilize your website.

A user journey map will show a design team where they meet customers’ expectations and where they should improve design.

Conversion optimization

Your website serves one or more particular goals. The completion of a goal is called a conversion.

For example, if you sell a course on your website, one of your aims is for visitors to purchase the course. Another aim can be for customers to contact you and ask for information regarding this course. An action like this (make the purchase or fill out a contact form) performed by a visitor is called a conversion.

Naturally, you want your website to be optimized for these conversions. And that’s where a web designer comes in.

They are responsible for making your design interactive and engaging, enticing customers to smoothly go through your website and turn as many visits into conversions.

Non-technical skills

As with any other job, being a good web page designer doesn’t rely solely on your technical skills. There are some non-technical skills a designer should possess.

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Creating a web design that is successful isn’t a one-person job. It’s a collaboration between multiple professionals, which is why being able to work in a team is a crucial skill for any designer to possess.

Additionally, a web designer needs to communicate clearly. They should be able to explain every step of their process and every aspect of their design in layman’s terms, as well as communicate with everyone who contributes to designing the website.

Lastly, a designer should know how to receive feedback and translate it into improvements.

The benefits of good web design

As you can tell, a web designer has a particular but extensive skill set. And when it comes to how to design a web page, it’s not an easy nor quick process. At this point, you may be wondering why you should hire a web designer at all.

That’s why we’ll review the benefits of well-designed web pages.

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1. It provides a good first impression

First impressions are everything, especially in the digital world. It’s all about snap decisions, with people forming a judgment on your website in 50 milliseconds. If they don’t like what they see, they’re out. This aesthetic judgment is proven again with Google’s own study.

With striking visuals, you’ll set the tone and create a lasting first impression.

2. You’ll stand out from competitors

Over 90% of adults in the U.S. have internet access, meaning that you can reach the majority of your audience online. No wonder most businesses have a website.

Free-to-use platforms such as Canva make it easy to DIY a web design. However, by using the same tools and templates as your competitors, you’ll have a hard time standing out from them.

If your competitors use stock photos and template design, you can use that to your advantage by hiring a pro to design your website. You’ll instantly look like the better option among the rest, ensuring people will choose your brand over others.

3. Good digital design boosts conversions

As you now know, a site designer focuses on more than pure aesthetics. They will design your website in a way that it’s optimized for conversion.

A whopping 92.6% of people say the visual dimension influences their purchase decision most. If your website aims to sell something, stunning visuals are a must.

4. It creates trust

There is an extremely powerful relationship between design and trust. Countless studies have been conducted about this fascinating connection, and the results don’t lie. Good design enhances a customer’s trust.

The aesthetic-usability effect, a term coined by Nielsen Norman Group, shows that users tolerate minor usability issues when they find an interface visually appealing.

Then there’s the Stanford Web Credibility Project, suggesting that web design has a powerful subconscious impact on the level of trust between users and the information presented on a website. This extends to the trust of the company itself. A total of 46% of respondents assessed a website’s credibility based on the overall design.

Not convinced about the importance of web design yet? For good measure, we’ll throw in some more statistics.

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Where can you find a web designer?

This is where things get a little tricky. Especially now that you know how many components are involved in a well-designed website and how important it is that the design is good.

Many ways lead to Rome, with one of them being outsourcing graphic design services like web design. Although it may not be the right option for everyone, it’s often a successful way of getting high-quality design from a professional.

Finding a website designer doesn’t have to be complicated. To help you ease into it, we’ve created a comprehensive guide on outsourcing your web design. Additionally, this comparison between a design agency and unlimited design might set you off on the right foot.

Find out how and where to outsource your graphic design needs

Download our guide to find a solution that suits your business

Final thoughts

We can now unequivocally say that web design is important. It can lead to establishing a trustworthy brand that conducts more sales.

However, that’s only the case if the design is good. Unfortunately, creating a well-designed website isn’t an easy process. You need a wide variety of skills and knowledge to create something trustworthy and aesthetically pleasing.

That’s where the help of a professional comes in, which, luckily, isn’t that hard to come by. By getting your web design professionally done, you’ll minimize the chances of a poorly designed site and maximize the potential your digital space holds!

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Guest Writer: Simone Timmers

June 30, 2022

Simone is a Dutch writer, currently living in Malawi. Whenever not stringing words together, or on her yoga mat, she is preferably exploring any off the beaten track she can find.