Finding a professional web designer who’s also a developer (or vice-versa) is more difficult than finding someone who’s strictly one or the other, but it’s worth the extra effort.
Some of the benefits of getting it all in one package include:
- a much better understanding of what’s feasible (and advisable) on the website. Designers who know nothing about building websites sometimes have ‘interesting’ ideas when it comes to basics like navigation schemes or information architecture; that might include having inconsistent links on different pages (a no-no for usability) or site organization that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
- nicer-looking designs. Developers who nothing about design – well, you can imagine the types of websites that leads to. A developer who’s also a designer will have a solid understanding of design principals and use of web typography. They’ll also understand the use of white space, use of color, the need to break up content into scannable chunks, and effective use of imagery.
- pixel-perfect websites. What the designer shows you in Photoshop is (usually) exactly what you get in your website. A designer/developer should be able to take a Photoshop layout and translate it perfectly to HTML and CSS.
- better-quality code. Compare the code of a designer struggling to build a website with the clean code of a professional developer. It’s better for site maintenance and better for search engines, too.
- a better understanding of what it’s going to take to build and maintain. A non-developing designer might offer you a beautiful slideshow, but not realize that you’re going to have to learn some HTML in order to maintain it. A designer/developer can advise you on this up front.
- more possibilities. Someone who’s strictly a designer may have no idea about the options for functionality on a site. A developer will know, and a designer/developer will know when they’re doing the design work. Functionality won’t be an afterthought, it’ll be considered from the start and incorporated into the design.
- not having to hire two people!