Ah yes, web designers and developers, the Michelangelos and Henry Fords of the Internet. Who do you need for your online business to succeed? This is perhaps one of the more perplexing, yet simple questions to answer. Before we work through this problem, let’s create a brief profile of both types of Internet professionals:
These right brained individuals are oftentimes the creative, Apple-cult, organic coffee drinking artists of the internet industry. Yes, that is a generalization, but just roll with it for now. Their primary focus is on the visual and graphical representation of a website. They want to create a seamless experience for visitors by combining eye-catching design with usability. Most, if not all, have some knowledge in coding, but their core competency resides in design.
On the flip side of the yin & yang spectrum are the left brained web developers. These guys focus on the nitty gritty work that goes on behind the curtains of the beautiful design that designers create. Designers are Xzibit on Pimp My Ride, while developers are your friendly neighborhood mechanics that make sure that your car does what it’s supposed to do – work.
So who do I need? A web designer or developer?
Put simply, it depends on the functional and visual requirements of the project you have in mind. Like I said before, almost all designers have programming knowledge, so they can handle a lot of tasks that are functionally simple, yet graphically/visually intensive. Do you need a simple 3-5 page site created? Hire a designer. How about a simple blog? Hire a designer.
However, it gets trickier the more complex of a solution you need. For instance, if you are looking for a custom e-commerce solution, you will want both a developer and designer depending on how visually attractive you need it to be. How about a new, shiny custom website? You will need both Xzibit and your friendly car mechanic – AKA a designer and developer.
Successfully building your online presence depends on sound design and programming. It is difficult to succeed with one, but not the other. Sure, your dependable ’90 Civic may still run well, but wouldn’t you rather have a Ferrari? Likewise, having a Ferrari with a defective engine really doesn’t do you much good either. That is, unless you are Fred Flintstone and can power it with your feet. The most important step in this process is clearly establishing its requirements at the beginning. Once that is done, the hiring decision is easy.