Websites are often the most effective way to deliver content, promotions and announcements. To have a good-performing website that looks visually stunning and performs well, you have to hire a web designer and web developer. Creating custom websites from scratch is a very labour intensive process and can be quite costly.
What's the difference between them? A web designer is responsible for the visual appearance of a website and a web developer builds the functionality of a website. Look up any web development agency in London and see yourself what each role includes for more clarity.
"These special programs allow us all get our jobs done and each one can serve certain purposes when used by someone who knows how to use them" by Michael Horsager
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Difference between web designer & web developer?
The two are two completely different skill sets. The lines between them are becoming increasingly blurred, but the distinction remains very important for both web designer and web developer.
When it comes to website development, the question that often arises is, what do I need? What is the difference between design and development? Are the two different? Aren't we talking about the same thing?
The answer is definitely NO, web design and web development are not the same, although it is a fact that most people mean the same process, namely the creation of a website.
Who is a web designer?
A web designer in London is a person responsible for designing the appearance of a website. She/he is the one who draws the "design" or looks of the website. Their responsibility is to decide what colors, fonts, shapes, and layouts are applied. As well as to ensure that the company's web appearance is in line with its image/service.
The tasks and skills of the web designer:
- Use of graphic software’s
- Typography, fonts
- Color usage, color theory
- Image editing, composition
- Designing user experience
Who is a web developer?
The web developer encodes the graphic design/plans gathered from the web designer and creates a functional website. He/she is not involved in the website design but can advise the web designer team on web standards that need to adhere during the designing process. As a web developer in London you will be responsible for the back end of the website. Good knowledge in PHP, MySQL, Apache Web Server Administration is required when working as a developer.
If you want to be a web designer, you do not have to have web developing or programming skills, however you should have some insight into web page responsiveness and operation. In addition, the web developer does not need to understand Photoshop, drawing, colors, and typography.
The task and skill of the web designer:
- Create a workable web page
- Understand programming languages "coding"
- Develop a fast, flawless, responsive, and browser-compatible website
It is a wide range of activities, from the creation of simple static websites to developing complex web-based applications and web shops.
Although "web development" is a profession, companies and studios involved in the process provide comprehensive services ranging from graphic design to programming.
Type of web developers & designers
Answering the question "What does a web designer or developer do?" is not an easy answer. There are several types of website roles, and each of them works on a specific area during the process.
Web developers who are responsible for creating server-side code to form dynamic web applications or large portals that have millions of users. The backend is written mostly in PHP these days but there are other options out there as well, such as Python or Ruby on Rails.
Full stack development
Web developers who are both skilled in frontend and backend technologies.
1. Front-end developer
Allows you to add content to your web page while dividing the page into headers, sections, and footers. It is an indispensable language if you want to be a frontend developer. If you right-click and select "View Source" in your browser, you will see the html code that's responsible to display the website. HTML allows you to specify what content to display on a web page and, to some extent, how it should be displayed.
The HTML code begins with the line "DOCTYPE html", which indicates to a browser that it is a HTML document. If you scroll down a little bit in the HTML source code, you will find parts that are responsible for displaying paragraphs, links, images, or videos. These are the instructions that tells your browser what source, what content to display, and how to display it. HTML is an easy-to-learn language and is usually the first language that web developers encounter.
Defines the page structure and style, such as colors, shapes, fonts, dimensions, or borders. CSS is the second most important language after HTML, which frontend developer should be familiar with at a high level. CSS code is used in conjunction with HTML, while HTML tells the web page what content to display, CSS describes how the content is displayed.
It is clear by now, that CSS plays a key role in web development, especially in frontend development. If you want to learn CSS, there are many online courses, YouTube channels and text tutorials available on the web.
The frontend development work therefore includes:
- Programming the website(pixel-accurate) defined in the graphic design
- Establish and control the responsive (device-independent) operation of the website. Essential to work perfectly on all devices, mobiles, tablets, and desktops
- Programming the links, buttons, and navigations of the website. The outgoing links should work, the menu structure should be easy to use and logically structured
- Testing and checking the website in all popular browser programs
2. Back-end developer
While it seems that the frontend developer has a difficult task in ensuring flawless website look, design and work on all devices and browsers, the task of a backend developer is even more complex and challenging. The frontend developers are the one dealing with client-side programming, but the backend developers are responsible for server-side coding.
This means that they have to write the code and program in a way, that allows web pages to be supported by dynamic databases run on webservers. It is the responsibility of the backend developer to ensure that the code written is well structured, efficient, and secure.
Efficiency has become a priority in recent years, as the speed of loading plays a prominent role in search engine optimization (SEO). Also, they use a variety of server-side programming languages, like PHP, Java ,Python, Ruby, and SQL.
Is one of the most widely used and popular programming languages among web developers. PHP language is used by more than 80% of websites. Despite the fact that its popularity has decreased a little in recent years, it is still unavoidable when it comes to web development.
Using and learning PHP is relatively easy, and many novice backend developers start with this language. PHP is especially popular with open sources like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal and so competent professionals will always be looking for your skills.
Has played a huge role in web development for many years. Java is not a young language, but it is used in many areas of web development. It enables you to build fast, responsive, scalable web applications for high-load, complex web tasks. Java is a basic language for many backend developers. It is relatively easy to master, which is especially beneficial for beginners. It's extremely scalable, allowing you to develop large, high-hit websites like eBay and Amazon.
Is considered by many to be the "Swiss army knife" of programming languages and designed to be very easy to read and understand. Reliably fulfills this role with the help of a growing army of special libraries and frameworks. Also, it is one of the leading programming languages in artificial intelligence, thanks to the popular TensorFlow framework developed by Google's AI division.
And finally, different type of web pages have different type of structure, it is the duty of the backend developer to choose the technology and programming language that best suits the task. It requires a good knowledge of popular technologies, speed, scalability, safety, and operability.
3. Full stack developer
If you're looking for a quick answer to the question "What is a web developer?", then the full stack developer will probably be the closest solution. The full stack developer has insight into both frontend and backend processes and technologies.
For smaller, simplified websites, with a small budget a full stack developer is employed usually. He is the one who can perform the frontend and backend tasks, so it is feasible without the involvement of additional specialists.
Mastering full stack development techniques has benefits:
- Capable to develop an entire website as one
- Advantage of frontend and backend methods, helpful in web design projects
- Higher earnings and competence in more areas due to broader qualifications
- Tend to be more popular in the labor market than frontend or backend positions
Even though most programmers start in frontend or backend areas, there are countless benefits when you know both. As a Full Stack developer, you will find a job easier and have a better view of the entire web development spectrum, making starting your own business easier.
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What professionals are involved in a web development project?
In a web development agency in London, you will find many experts that are skilled at programming, but it requires more than that. Cooperation with other professionals is key to success. Let's see who makes up the web designer team:
- Project manager:
Records the project, participates in the preparation of specifications and quotations. Responsible for managing resources and meeting deadlines. He leads the team and communicates constantly with the client.
- Web designer (UI designer):
Responsible for the graphic design. Creates wireframes, designs the home page and subpages of the website or web application.
- Web developer (UX designer):
Ideally, the finished software will be tested by someone other than the one who programmed it. It uses procedures and methods that highlights potential shortcomings in a software before it is launched.
A person who knows administration interfaces and content management systems well to help you upload any content , update website of your business.
Operator can also help you build a structure for content of the website so that it is easy for Google to understand or categorize webpages. A structured or well-planned site will help both visitors and search engine bots find their way around the site easily.
Creates use and search-friendly texts for websites, emails, social media posts etc. This person will have to catch the attention of the target audience and convince them about a service or product in a convincing manner.
- Online marketing specialist:
Responsible for the online promotion of the finished website/ web shop. Their support will help you meet your marketing goals as efficiently as possible.
- SEO specialist:
SEO is the acronym of "Search Engine Optimization". An SEO specialist helps website owners / business to seek their target group by optimizing websites for search engines. He makes sure that the website has a good position in the ranking lists of Google or any other popular search engine.
Creates storage space for the finished web application /website and the necessary hardware and software resources.
Steps of web development
1. Contact and assessment
The purpose is to find out as much information as possible about the project. Learn about the industry and the environment in which the finished website will have to perform and find out what the client expects from it. Based on this evaluation we calculate the cost and time of our services.
The collected information is made into a specification to accurately record the expectations of the website. The specification is based on extensive research of existing websites, interviews with users and developers, testing by real people, and consideration of the business goals behind the website.
3. Quotation and contracting
The quote contains a description of the workflow, delivery time, and cost. After the quotation has been approved, a contract is drawn up. The contract contains a detailed description of the work to be done, the timeline and the cost.
4. Research and planning
Research can include competitor analysis, user interviews, customer journey creation and methodologies that help you gather as much useful information as possible for your work. In the first round of the design phase, wireframes are made to show the layout of each page. The wireframes are tested with real users to find out what works and what doesn't. The second round of research is done to test the usability of the interface.
5. Web design
After the approval of wireframes, the web design follows, where the website layouts will take a final form. Next, the graphic design is planned, which presents the final appearance of the site in 1:1 aspect ratio, viewable from the browser window.
After this, the web design is translated into the web programming language HTML5 , which defines where elements are placed on the website, and what elements are to appear. This is then handed to the web programmer, who translates this into browser language.
At this stage of the web development, programmers receive customer-approved graphic designs, from which they create a clickable, functional and responsive website. Then they implement the database, integrate it with social networks, and test the website to make sure it follows the company's business rules.
7. Content upload
Uploading the first content of the website is also part of the web development, in which the client cannot be left alone. The content is the lifeblood of a website, so it must be attractive and easy to find. There are several tools that help you with this task, including Coppermine Photo Gallery and WordPress. A combination of the two is often used to build a web portal or blog dedicated to certain topics.
The finished website is tested by the developer on various devices and browsers in order to make sure everything works flawlessly, and the end user won't have any issues. All these tests are performed before launching the site.
9. Hosting and operation
The operation of the website is a multi faceted task. Content management systems and web technologies need to be constantly updated to operate securely. Also, during the website update some adjustments has to be made in certain cases, which require an expert in the field.
Tips and advice before web development
- Create a competitor analysis to learn about the market size, number, and potential
- Always prepare a written task specification
- The web development quotation should be as detailed as possible and record the cost implications of each task
- The contract should be drawn up before the start of the work, with deadlines and major development milestones set out. The contract should cover the post-transfer aid and its costs
- Search for a trusted web development agency in London that are strong not only in development but also in design
- The design should be aligned with the content and features not other way around
- The source code has to be well structured and easy to understand, with the possibility to pass on to other development companies
- The resources used for web development (icons, fonts, graphics, images, texts) should be unique and legal
- Make your finished website SEO-friendly, to meet Google's standards
- The software should be responsive, support all devices and screen resolutions. In addition, it should appear flawlessly in the most popular browsers
- The loading speed of the website /web shop / web application should be as fast as possible, is key to success
- The content management system used for development should be secure, user-friendly, easy everyday people to manage
Web development prices and payment solutions
In web development projects there are two types of payment solutions:
Fixed-rate payment model
A popular solution for smaller web development projects, where both the task specifications and deadlines are precisely set. This solution carries fewer risks and makes the project and budget precisely predictable.
Pay as You Go payment model
For medium and large-scale projects when the performed task and deadlines cannot be determined precisely. In this case, the settlement is carried out in an hourly rate, usually with end-of-month settlement.
Read more about web development prices.
How to choose a web development company?
You should look for the following information when selecting a web development agency in:
- Website – look up the quality of their website, what content is published and how often
- Headcount - how many people make up the company, full-time employees or freelancers
- Office - do they have an office, work remotely or from home
- Portfolio – references and previous work
- Related activities – are they familiar with UX /UI design, SEO, online marketing
- Customer feedback - read customer reviews on their website, Google, Yell etc.
- Reaction time - how quickly they respond to your request, and what questions are asked
- Quotation – is it a transparent and detailed quote with improvements stated
- Contract – is there a contract between the parties
- Problem solving skills – do they solve the issues creatively or try to avoid them
Web development is the process of developing a website, from design to marketing. There are many steps that go into web development, and it can be overwhelming for beginners who don't know where to start. This article has provided an introduction to how you can get started with your own web development project by outlining some important points.
However, no matter how thorough your research is or even if you have multiple web development companies to choose from, the final decision is up to you - finding the right web development agency in London could be a breeze or not. Research and ask for portfolio.
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