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Patrick Pohler

Web Designers & Web Developers : The Superman/Batman dynamic duo of your project.



January 23, 2011

Web Designers & Web Developers : The Superman/Batman dynamic duo of your project.

For this Blog Post, we at Greenline Creative decided to invite web/software developer Pat Pohler from Anecka to be our first guest blogger and provide his insight on the value of having a strong designer and strong developer on a web project. He has done a great job at breaking down the process of building a website, as well as illustrating how great it has been for clients to have both of us on a project. We hope you find this post informational as well as eye opening.

Guest Blog Post from Pat Pohler of Anecka:

Completing certain web projects is a lot like fighting super-villains in comics. Sometimes one super hero isn't enough to do the job. When your project is a giant monster wrecking havoc in Metropolis, you need the combined powers of a great web designer and developer.

Let's discuss the differences between web designers and web developers because sometimes it can be difficult to tell the two apart. Typically, a web designer's role in the project is to come up with the branding, look and layout of the web site. The designer works with the client to come up with what's called a composition (or “comp”), which is a high resolution image of what the site will look like when finished. After the comp is approved, the designer works with the developer to break the comp into smaller images called “slices” that the developer will then use to build the site in HTML/CSS.

That's a high level overview, but of course there's more to it than that. The best way to compare the differences between a designer and developer is to look at the things they are most concerned about:

Designer:

• Does the site match the branding guidelines established for the client (logo right size, colors match exactly, fonts match in family and size)?

• Is the layout of the site clear for the user?

• Do the elements on the page make sense and fit a logically?

• Is the navigation easy to understand and follow for the user?

• Does the site look ascetically pleasing? Does it visually fit the client's goals?

Developer:

• Do the pages match (“pixel perfect”) the comp from the designer?

• What functionality/features does the client need for the site? A login? Contact Us form? Special section for documents/product materials?

• Does the client need to take orders from the site?

• What database / framework should power the backend?

• What hosting provider/servers will the site be running on?

• Does the site have proper error handling/security?

• Are errors logged and recorded in order to assist in fixing issues after the site has been brought online?

As you can see, designers and developers are concerned with very different aspects of the project. While it's important that they are both skilled in their areas of expertise, in my experience it is just as important that they can work together as a team. Web designers must have an idea of how to properly break down the elements of their design into individual elements that can be represented in HTML. Developers must be aware that the appearance of the site is just as important as the database, and must work with the designer to make sure the site matches the design perfectly (exact margins, color, and font). Also both the developer and designer must have a clear and open means of communication to insure if changes happen in the middle of the project (which they always do) then both the designer and developer can adjust for the change easily and save time and money for the client.

As a freelance developer, finding a great designer I can work with is a must for my business. Having someone I can consistently rely on who can come up with a design my clients will love and who understands the technology gives me the confidence to bid and estimate on some very ambitious and high-profile projects. Vice versa, if you're a web designer, finding a great developer you can work with will give you the confidence to address any technical needs of your client.

If you're working with a designer and they recommend bringing in a web developer they've worked with in the past, welcome it (same applies to a developer recommending a designer)! By bringing in other talented web professionals whose skills are different than their own and who they've worked with before, they are working to ensure the project will be completed successfully.

We want to thank Pat Pohler again for being our first guest blogger and writing such a great post for us. Be sure to contact him for any of your web and software development needs.

Do you have insight on web design and development that you feel clients would like to know about? If so, contact us to become the next guest blogger on the Greenline Creative Blog!