Who Does What on Website?

Written by Jenny Claxton

You know what needs to be done to your website, but who's the right person to do it? We'll explain different tech roles and how to find the help you need.

A group of people sit in a conference room in an office. They are dressed casually and appear to be working on a creative project. Many of the group have laptops and one woman stands at a white board arranging sticky notes with project ideas on.

Are you confused about the difference between a web developer and a web designer? What does a UX consultant do? Do you need full stack or front-end? In our previous blog, we spoke about a website being similar to a building. This is also true of who works on websites and is a great way to work out who you need to contact if you need help with your site.

The UX designer is the architect. 

People with these skills look at what the project is meant to be doing and create a design that helps users achieve that. They might offer ideas about the look or decoration, but their main focus is function.

Just as an architect will design a building that the inhabitants can move around and use easily, a UX (user experience) designer plans a website structure so that visitors can find and access the information they need. Getting UX features sorted out at the start of your project can save a lot of hassle later on.

UX often overlaps with UI (user interface) design. This is a speciality skill for instances where the users will need to access multiple settings and functions. A good UX designer will tell you if your site is complex and unique enough to benefit from a bespoke user interface design. Common features like online sales platforms often have pre-existing interfaces that will suit most smaller businesses.

UI designers balance lots of information and features against screen layouts that are easy to navigate and understand. Most websites won’t need a specialist UI designer, but it’s worth considering if you want users to manage complex processes themselves. Examples that may require specialist UI design are attending online classes and using learning materials on a training website, creating and booking an itinerary on a travel app, or understanding usage data on an energy company website.

The back-end developer is the bricklayer.

These jobs focus on creating the main structure. They don’t think too much about what it looks like, as long as it strong and functional. Back-end developers work with servers, databases, APIs and the code that makes the site run properly. They’ll use the plans from the UX designer to set up a site that works for the intended users. If you want to build a new site from entirely from scratch, you’ll need someone with back-end skills onboard to set up the foundations.

The web designer is the interior designer.

These designers start with the structure that is in place and decide how to style it. They can use colours and layouts to create different moods in different areas. A web designer will take the colours, fonts and feel of your brand and combine these with the UX plans, UI design and site structure. Sometimes they’ll just make a plan for others to implement, but many web designers also have front-end skills. If you have a site that works, but you want it to look better, hire a web designer.

The front-end developer is the painter decorator.

These jobs take what has been built, and make it look good. They can work on new things, or redecorate an existing structure. They usually have input from a designer. Front-end developers work with the code that displays the site to users. They make sure the colours, layouts, fonts, and images appear on screen in the same way as the web designer specified.

The SEO specialist is the sign writer. 

Both these jobs attract passing trade to your business. It’s not essential but a shop without a sign won’t have as many walk-in customers as one that has an eye-catching board outside.

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of making your site appear more likely to appear in search results. SEO specialists tag your pages so search engines understand what your site is about, and therefore what type of searches to send your way. SEO work can help you move away from solely word-of-mouth marketing towards letting new customers find you.

The full-stack developer is the building team.

They can build on your project start to finish, but will need designs or plans to work from. A full-stack developer can deal with back-end and front-end code. Hiring a full-stack developer over 2 separate back-end and front-end developers can be handy, as it ensures every aspect of the website build is compatible. However, if you have a good plan and comprehensive specifications for your site, it is possible to develop the front and back end simultaneously without any interaction between the two teams.

The digital agency is the design & build firm.

They can handle every aspect of your project – give them a brief and they’ll hand back a finished product. They have access to a wide range of skills and technical knowledge so will integrate this throughout.

A digital agency can help at any given stage of a web design project or manage the whole thing from start to finish. As every element is dealt with in-house, the final website will be coherent and serve the original brief.

Now that you know a bit more about who does what on a website, we hope that this blog has provided some clarity on who you might need to contact in terms of starting or improving your own website; including us here at Red Spark Digital. As a small agency, we can handle most elements of your site in-house, but also have the contacts and specialist knowledge to know when we need to bring in additional expertise.

If you have any more queries or questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

by Jenny Claxton

Jenny specialises in user experience and web design. Her sites balance the user needs against the business goals to make sure everyone gets what they want. Jenny believes that the internet should be accessible to everyone, and that running your website should be an easy part of your general admin. As a result, she has developed the Red Spark Digital training packages to help website owners feel confident and empowered to make basic changes and updates, as well as knowing when the time is right to call in extra help. When not being extremely online, she makes art and writes questions for TV game shows.

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