“I need someone to make a website for me!” That’s a common phrase web developers and designers hear all the time. However, creating a website from scratch often requires a far more intricate and nuanced approach than most realize. What’s more, there are many different types of developers (and designers for that matter), and depending on what a company needs from its website will determine what type of developers are actually needed.
Front-end developers, back-end developers, UX designers, graphic designers…the list of web-related roles involved in actually building a website seems to go on forever. For those who aren’t familiar with all the ins and outs of building a website, it might seem like they’re all the same. And while there are some developers and designers out there who do more than one type of work, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different roles so that you can determine what you really need.
So, without further ado, here are some of the most critical roles needed to build a website.
User Experience (UX) Designer
Your website typically should start with a UX designer. A UX designer is similar to an architect in that they will identify the different aspects needed for a website, taking into account who the site’s audience is and what they need from it, and will craft the site’s blueprint. This typically includes things like user personas (the audiences who use the site), the site’s structure (what pages it should have and how they are organized), and the wireframes (a barebones mockup of page layouts).
A web designer focuses on producing the look and feel of a website. That includes every visual aspect—button shapes, colors, fonts, etc. The designer’s objective is to create an engaging visual experience that draws visitors in and keeps them exploring the site. While a web designer and UX designer are two different roles, it’s common for one designer to handle both duties, though those duties are often broken up in larger website projects.
A front-end developer is similar to a web designer, and in fact, may be employed in place of a web designer in some cases. This role, though, is much more focused on translating the visual designs into actual code. Front-end developers are often more closely linked to UX designers, as they are responsible for implementing the visuals needed for a site. Their work is entirely visitor-facing.
Back-end developers are responsible for anything that happens on a site that is behind the scenes. This usually includes (but isn’t limited to) developing, setting up, and managing web servers, databases, and applications. Back-end developers are often also responsible for the site’s security. Basically, you need a back-end developer if you want your site to do anything more complicated than being a brochure for your company.
What’s a website without words? A content strategist often works hand in hand with the UX designer to determine what the content on the site should be. They often take into consideration who the audience is, what they might be looking for, what the pages should be called, how they should be organized, and what the content actually is on each page.
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