Web Designer vs. Web Developer – How to Work Together

Dipti Parmar

Web designers and developers should agree on the development process, collaborate on every stage of the project, and establish a culture of cooperation. This teamwork will create the best website possible for your business.

There are a lot of challenges that can arise when building a functional, user-friendly website. In today’s market, aesthetics is extremely important. Fonts, colors, layouts, and spacing, along with user-friendly navigation, can help you build and maintain a strong online presence that will drive business and ensure customer satisfaction in the long-run. But how can web developers and designers work together to achieve this goal?

Understanding the tools needed to conceptualize and realize a platform for customer interaction while also considering clients’ intentions and expectations is at the heart of all designer-developer collaboration.

Let’s take a look at a few processes, approaches, and operational best practices that make this possible.

How Web Designers and Developers Should Work Together

  1. Agree on the development process
  2. Collaborate on every stage of execution
  3. Establish a culture of cooperation

1. Agree on the Development Process

As in any relationship or partnership, failure to communicate can lead to major problems, and it’s no different when it comes to designers and developers.

It is important for designers to understand the capabilities of the development team, given the vast number of programming languages, content management systems, frameworks, and other technologies involved, in addition to operational time and budget constraints.

Developers, on the other hand, must find the ideal balance between functionality, usability, client expectations, and, ultimately, the needs of the client or customer.

The question is, how do you make sure everyone is working together toward the same goals throughout the project or campaign?

Before we answer this question, let’s take a look at the development process, which can be divided into three phases:

  1. Research: Designers and developers should collaborate on collecting data from the end client and work on finalizing functional details of the interface together.
  2. Analysis: Both teams can look at the data and work on ideal solutions to the end customer’s needs along with inputs on accessibility and usability.
  3. Implementation: Both teams collaborate on creating a workable prototype and subsequent versions, incorporating the technologies that will be used in the final version.

development process

Source: UXPlanet

Designers can carry out research and analysis on their own, create the themes and layouts, and then present a mockup to the developers, but this is not an ideal approach. It leaves developers in the dark for too long and can result in the final design not being feasible for coding or development.

Establishing a clear plan of action and making sure that everyone is on the same page going into the project will facilitate a more satisfactory experience for the entire team. Hosting a kickoff meeting to discuss any pitfalls or problems before they occur will reduce potential delays in the delivery of the final product.

2. Collaborate on Every Stage of Execution

While bringing your designers and developers together to collaborate on a new project is important, it’s easier said than done. The more distance there is between designers and developers (whether due to separate departmental offices or remote working locations), the more challenging it can be to get everyone on the same page.

Luckily, there are plenty of instant messaging and video conferencing platforms to fix this problem — Slack and Zoom are a couple of popular options.


Source: Slack

These platforms can be used to bring everyone together for a discussion, whether it is in real-time or a thread in a forum-like discussion on a particular topic or project.

The success of your team collaboration depends on the methods of development you use — waterfall versus agile is a frequently debated consideration. Choose one that encourages real-time, consistent communication and parallel activity streams among different teams in order to bridge the gap between developers and designers.

waterfall versus agile development model

Source: Segue Tech

During the actual development process, whether the overall goal is branding improvement, sales growth, product launch, or customer acquisition, using a web builder platform such as Duda will let designers and developers — as well as marketers and clients — collaborate at different levels without going back and forth over milestones.

This is made possible through individual sections and templates that separate teams can work on, widgets that can be added with little-to-no coding, user management features, and easily integrated add-ons for sales and marketing.

Further, features such as “Site Comments” let marketers, project managers, and even clients leave their thoughts all over the prototype, so the designer or developer responsible for that part can respond to or clarify any concerns immediately.


Source: Duda

Improvements in workflow enables everyone on the project — from top-level decision-makers to content creators and programmers — to communicate better with each other, resulting in quicker and higher-quality delivery. It also lets the team keep clients engaged and involved in ongoing post-launch activities or maintenance.

Facilitating a working team environment right off the bat and encouraging individuals from various departments to take part in every aspect of the development process will result in a more efficient workflow.

With regular feedback to each other, the likelihood of delivering a quality product in a timely manner will increase.

3. Establish a Culture of Cooperation

The culture of the organization — especially creative digital agencies whose existence is developing websites and apps — plays a critical role in the success of any design or development project. An agency needs to establish a long-term working relationship with its clients, especially in the enterprise. For this, it needs to develop some critical organizational attributes such as a focus on performance and results, accountability, agility, and innovation.

A company or agency that embraces a performance-focused culture can use technology to automate routine tasks, implement processes, and make teamwork easier. There is a plethora of tools available for both designers and developers to automate repetitive and time-consuming manual tasks, which can increase productivity and effectiveness within short periods. This allows star performers to take accountability for outcomes and gives clarity to all team members on project goals and the paths to achieve them.

Mandating collaboration and combining it with a cross-departmental open-door policy works wonders in technical fields such as coding and design.

Michael Pötscher, CMO at travel-booking website TourRadar, believes that hiring talented people who also help maintain a positive culture is essential: “We began implementing buddy chats where we set aside time for people to talk to someone in a different office to learn more about them and what they do."

You can go a step further by allocating a budget for people on the design and development teams to do fun activities together and build fruitful personal relationships or associations. For example, a livestream from a remote development center onto a laptop in the design office might encourage and keep friendly conversations going.

Finally, encourage appreciation and esteem among web design companies and developers for one another’s craft. This will help each individual understand the significance of their work in the project and business outcome as well as the value of their contribution to the organizational scheme of things.

Designers and Developers Can Create a Successful Partnership

We live in a digital world where every single web page is competing for customer attention. Businesses can no longer afford to lose customers due to mediocre UI or web design. The designer-developer relationship is of utmost importance when it comes to delivering quality brand interactions and services that actually meet the needs of your customers.

If you want to improve the overall efficacy of your product development process, it’s important to make sure your designers and developers work together as a team. It can be tricky to facilitate a proper environment for collaboration, but by constantly experimenting with processes and using evolving tools and technology, your team will have everything they need to deliver value.


Dipti Parmar

Business & Marketing Consultant
Dipti Parmar is an experienced business and marketing consultant. She helps startups, brands, and individuals build a stellar online reputation and establish thought leadership in their industry, with innovative content and digital marketing campaigns.
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