29.11.2016 |

Episode #7 of the course How to build an online business by Crew


When I first started learning about the roles and skills needed to build an app or website, I was overwhelmed. From UX or UI design to iOS or Rails, it can be hard to know exactly what you need or who you need to work with.

It’s almost never as simple as finding one designer or developer who can do it all. In fact, this is nearly impossible. Who you need to work with to design a blog is much different than who you need to work with to build an app.

So to help you find the right people to work with, we put together this post about who does what in the online world.


Logo/branding designers

Behind every great company is a great product. But in front of every company is a great brand. More specifically, a great logo.

For smaller companies looking for a refresh or startups just beginning, a logo will probably suffice. A new logo will help define your brand and should be something that looks great in even the smallest form (think about your social media display pic!)

But for more established businesses who need more consistency or companies going through transition, a full brand makeover is likely due. It’ll help tie together everything from stationery and annual reports to website icons and banner ads. Creating a complete brand identity will help your audience feel connected to your business, no matter where they’re seeing your brand.


Product designers

Whether you need a cleaner interface or a better user experience, great freelance product designers make a huge difference. They go beyond making things look pretty; they make sure your product works for your clients.

Product design is really a blend of two different types of design: user experience (UX) and user interaction (UI). Those are the two elements that help users interact with your product. Here are the main differences between UX and UI:

• A UX designer specializes in understanding how a product interface feels for the people who use it.
• A UI designer focuses on creating interfaces, making sure all the elements are included in the product.

Imagine you’re making a form for your app or website with input fields and a button. A UI designer would create the entry fields and button, while a UX designer would create a layout to ensure the form can be completed with minimal friction. The UX designer could use hover states so a button feels more physical or add visual cues to communicate that the information has been entered correctly.


Front-end developers

Simply put, front-end web developers make what you see and interact with online. They create elements such as mobile app tap gestures or website animations using development languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.


Back-end developers

On the other end, back-end developers create the parts of your product that function behind the scenes.

Back-end developers create elements like databases to hold information entered in the product or algorithms that operate while pages load using programming languages and frameworks such as PHP, Python, and Ruby on Rails.


How do you know if it’s the right fit?

The most important things we look to assess about a designer or developer before starting a project are:

• Quality of work: How well does his/her past work fit within the project we’re looking to do?
• Quality of communication: Whether it’s off-site or in person, how well does he/she communicate information?
• Ability to execute: What can we expect in terms of timelines and process when working with him/her? Has he/she executed well before?

Teaming up with a designer or developer is something you should only do once you’re totally comfortable with the partnership and confident that you’ve found the right person for the job. It’s as much a gut feeling as it is logic based on the factors above.

And there you have it! A very high-level overview of the main types of designers and developers you’ll likely need to help launch your online business.

Until tomorrow,


Recommended reading

How to hire a freelance designer or developer


Recommended book

“The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz


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