Web Designers and Web Developers: Difference and Similarities - Main image


Web Designers and Web Developers: Difference and Similarities

Web Designers and Web Developers have had this love-hate relationship for what seems like forever. In fact, it is rare to see a team of designers and a team of developers work hand-in-hand without having to argue for a while.

Miha Cirman - CodeBrainer
Miha Cirman
9 min read

If we knew, we’d have told you, but no one knows when this battle started. Web Designers and developers have had this love-hate relationship for what seems like forever.

In fact, it is rare to see a team of designers and a team of developers work hand-in-hand without having to argue for a while.

It’s a cat and dog thing, and everyone knows this. We don’t even have to tell you, do we? Can you remember that developer with whom you never could see eye to eye? Yeah, that one! Not really your fondest memories, right?

Web Designers and Web Developers cat and dog


Why Web Designers Don't Understand Web Developers

So, while we don’t know when these battles all started, we sure know why. Designers are from Mars and developers could have been from Pluto. As far as their work is concerned, they live in different, almost opposite worlds.

However, designers need developers as much as developers need designers, even if they wouldn’t admit this publicly.

It is just like when building a house. There is the architect to draw up the plans and create a beautiful structure on paper.

Then, we have the engineers who have to turn this design into a real structure. Both come together to make the magnificent buildings we have everywhere.

That is just similar to the relationship between the designers and the developers. But it can be really tough.


Web Developers and Web Designers Brains Are Different

You see, it comes down to the relationship between their work and how the human brain works. Do you know that the human brain is divided into two parts? Actually, there are people who would tell you that we have two brains, but nah, this is not a biology class.

Creative part of the brain - Web Designers

Anyway, the right hemisphere of the brain is the creative and imaginative side. It is really important for designers to be really creative. When you design a beautiful application, with a really nice user interface, you are using the power of the right brain. Of course, we use our whole brain, but the right side is the predominant part for imagination and creativity.



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Logical part of the brain - Web Developers

The left hemisphere, on the other hand, is the logical side. When developers stare into thousands of lines of code and develop crazy algorithms, all in the bid to develop your creative, imaginative, right-brain design into a logical, practical, left-brain program.

Web Designers and Web Developers brain


It is a whole different world entirely. But, just as both sides of the brain still function harmoniously, so can you, the designer, and any developer. This is just as we have in the real world. When two people live in different territories, there are bound to be misunderstandings.

This is why nations go to war. There is always an opportunity to show who is right or wrong, or who is more powerful. But at the end, we are all humans. No, this is not about history, either, but you get the point.

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Fusion of Web Design and Web Development - Two World Come Together

The designer and the developer work in different worlds. However, both are still a part of a bigger world. You as a designer need me, the developer. I as a developer also need you. This is how great programs are built – solely on the fusion of design and development.

I know you must have seen some really ugly applications with even poorer user experience.

Even if it does its job, you know that it is still a pain in the butt. The developer could be spectacular, but without good design, the work would not appeal as much as it should.

Just the same way, no one can use a designer’s PSD file to do much. Last I checked, you didn’t have any PSD files installed on your phone.

Every app on your phone is a result of diligent work put in by both the developers and the designers.


Develop and Design better programs and apps - this is what is all about

So, does this mean having these arguments is wrong? Oh, not at all. In fact, it is necessary to argue over some things.

If a designer thinks something could look better or work more seamlessly, it shows that they are dedicated to the project.

If a developer maintains that a design wouldn’t work or, worse, could break the whole process, it shows that such a developer is committed to the final result.

It is these arguments that forces us to do more and develop better and better programs. That's why we constantly build newer versions. And it is necessary for us to continue having debates, as long as they are healthy and not harmful for the project or the relationship.


How To Make The Web Designers - Web Developers Relationship Work

So, how can you as a designer get to understand a developer more and work with one accord?

Below, we will be looking into a few tips for you to make your work relationship as a designer unite seamlessly with that of the developer.

  • Show Your Respect
  • Be Open To Collaboration
  • Understand The Developer’s Language
  • Be Open To Adaptation
  • Dive Into Some Coding


Show Your Respect

Truth be told, many of the misunderstandings from both ends comes from the mentality that one end knows more or does more than the other end. The designer sees himself as more important to the success of a project, and so does the developer.

Proper understanding starts from respecting the developer’s contribution. While you rack your brain to create those beautiful designs, the developer stays up at night, pouring out pages upon pages of code in different machine languages, just to make the program perform its functions accurately and with minimal errors.

It would be totally wrong to downplay this. When a developer feels respected and appreciated by a designer, they become more receptive to collaboration. It helps to eliminate the Us VS Them mentality that eats into productivity. This is how better results are gotten.  


Be Open To Collaboration

There is a lot that could be done faster when designers and developers collaborate. Most times, designers do their work and then send it to developers who are waiting to critique it.

Then, the developer sends over his complaints, and the arguments start.

Instead of that, be open to collaborating with the developer right from the beginning. Develop plans together and get input from them.

When you have the developer’s vision in mind from the beginning, you’ll be able to explore that as well during your design process.

Web Developers and Web Designers - when working together magic can happen


This goes beyond just inviting them to meetings. You must be ready to bring them to the drawing table, so that the design and sketch could be critiqued as you work.

The beautiful thing about this is that it allows you to achieve superior results, since you are getting insight from another world.

Clearly demonstrate that you are open to talks and discussions. This could help build up the trust that would let them bring down their guard and see the whole team as comrades, instead of adversaries. 


Understand The Developer’s Language

No, this is not just about HTML and JavaScript, Java and Python. This is about understanding how the developer thinks. This way, you will be able to communicate your idea to them in the language they speak and understand.

Trying to speak to them in developers’ jargons would only appear as a show-off. Understand that you are from seperate worlds, but that doesn’t stop you from learning and speaking their language.

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Be Open To Adaptation

Whether you like it or not, you are going to have to adapt to the developer’s process. So, why not just welcome it with both hands and make it a great experience.

Understand that developers have their own process, and be willing to work around that. Sometimes, what you think is a simple request could keep the developer awake at midnights for a week.

Don’t be harsh about it. Changing that cursor behavior isn’t always as straightforward as you think.

Web Developers should be open to Web designers ideas


Respect their time, and understand their schedule. The simple truth is that they wouldn’t always be at your beck and call. It works both ways, right?

Understanding this could prevent you from being disappointed and feeling the urge to vent when you are in a rush. Developers are just as busy as you are.


Dive Into Some Coding

All right, breathe. It isn’t as hard as it sounds. You know, you can learn a whole lot more when you know something about the developers’ world yourself (learn Web development).

First, you get to appreciate the job of a developer better. Second, you can more easily think from that world and become more productive and effective.

It wont hurt Web Designer to learn some basics of Web Developers world


Conclusion - Web Designers and Web Developers can move mountains when working together

No designer is as effective as the one who also understands the world of coding. That is why it is important to take a coding course yourself.

No, you don’t have to be a leading expert in any of the languages. Even basic knowledge on a few languages would greatly widen your horizon and reflect positively in your work as a designer.

It is important for you as a designer to give yourself fully into constant learning. This is how you continue to develop as a professional and discover new mountains to overcome.

Luckily, there are tons of such mountains in the coding world. Just pick the one you kind of fancy and run with it.

There are so many online courses for you here. So, why not pick one?

So, keep these in mind when working with a developer. Think about it as a marriage. Even though we all have different backgrounds, we all make it work out. Do the same and enjoy the process.