What Does a Web Designer/Developer Do?

What Does a Web Designer/Developer Do?

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This question arises both on discussion boards as well as casual conversations as of which may take place in a dentist’s chair. The concept differs depending on one’s perspective. Unfortunately, whether one be a designer or a developer, the perspective client often miscalculates the amount of ability and knowledge required for our craft I have spoken to individuals exclaiming that they were into the same craft as me. I always enjoy a conversation about art and development and enjoy the opportunity to enrich and to be enriched by engaging in “shop talk.” Even within the trade concepts and techniques vary greatly and puzzled expressions will manifest on each other’s faces. I would, for example, talk

about Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, CSS, SASS, and whether Grunt or Compass is the better choice for compilation. She would talk about topics such as; Javascript, Ruby on Rails and PHP. I would hide my confusion with a smile and a nod that would put any poker player to shame. Alas Design and Development are terms that are used loosely and, all too often, interchangeably.

Maturity has lead me to the realization of two major differences between designer and developer. It is a matter of front end and back end. A designer is more concerned with making the site look pretty. Upon reading Betty Edwards classic book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” I discovered that, design and development are not only two different disciplines, but two different thought processes. Our right mind is concerned with art. We tend to think in pictures and sometimes we just have that blind intuition on how something should be laid out. Right brain people tend to be very bad in math and, like myself, is terrible with directions. A developer, on the other hand, is concerned with the logic. She needs hard and fast rules and does very well with math but, artistically, finds stick figures a challenge to draw. She is a programmer and as far as drawing goes, a stick figure is a huge accomplishment. She was great in Math and won every spelling bee. However, art always seemed weird to her and may even find it silly and a waste of time.

As for the perspective client, unfortunately, knowing everything involved is non existent. In the mind of a neophyte, we click a couple of buttons and the site is done. It leads to problems in explaining our pricing and all to often, we are seen as greedy and not people that possess artistic ability and/or analytic abilities and are worthy of making a decent(I never met a rich web guru) living. Many Walmarts and Mac Donald’s have awesome web masters but stocking shelves and flipping burgers are more lucrative then explaining our reasoning behind our price list.

Therefore, if you are a fellow creator of the internet, I understand your plight. We do this because we love it, not because of the money. If you are a client, understand that we are not getting rich.

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