What is Web Development and Why Is There a Contract?

What is Web Development and Why Is There a Contract?

What is Web Development and What Does a Web Developer Do? 

A web developer, also referred to as a programmer, works with clients to create designs and work primarily on the client’s website development. A web developer is usually an independent contractor or freelance web designer hired by a business to complete their website and improve their online presence.

Web developers are well-versed in complex programming coding, which requires knowledge of a variety of languages. There are several types of web developers that focus on different areas in the creation and development of a website. The three main types of developers include:

  • Front-End Developer– A programmer who implements the client’s web design and incorporates the coding needed for the site to go live. These types of web designers are familiar with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS programming languages.
  • Back-End Developer – The developer in this role works on the server-side of website development, creating and coding any databases and applications it may contain.
  • Full-Stack Developer – This type of web developer is familiar with both the front and back-end development aspects in website design. They are the complete package and are incredibly beneficial.

There is also a difference between a web designer and a web developer. A web designer is primarily responsible for creating the website’s concept. They explore infographics, colors, and videos. They communicate with the website developer on where such designs should be incorporated on the web page. A web developer takes the web designer’s concepts and creates a programming code. While the web designer and web developer may be the same individual, they are taking on two different roles.

Other names for a web development agreement include:

  • web development contract
  • web design contract
  • website contract
  • freelance web development agreement

The Essential Components of a Web Development Agreement?

A web development agreement is a standard business practice. A solid web development agreement should set expectations, payment schedule, revision processes, and scope of services.

  • Scope of Services – This is a critical component of a web development agreement. This part of the contract should detail every service the web developer is expected to perform and outline all of their duties and responsibilities. The scope of services is usually attached as an exhibit to the agreement. The parties should not omit any important details of the project. The scope of the project should also detail any additional services the developer may offer, such as technical support.
  • Deliverables and Deadlines – The quality and features of the website should be identified. If a client or company wishes to approve the design before it goes live, that also needs to be addressed in the contract. The delivery date should also be provided in the agreement.
  • Revisions – Sometimes, a client may request revisions to the web design or site. It is important to include a provision detailing the number of revisions and any additional charge if applicable.
  • Payment Details – The developer and client should agree on the payment terms before drafting the contract. The method of payment, due date, and invoicing procedures should also be listed in the agreement. The parties also need to establish if the freelancer is working on an hourly rate or working on a flat fee for the project.
  • Term and Termination – The term of the agreement and method of termination, including any notice required, should be memorialized in the contract.
  • Intellectual Property and Ownership – This section of the agreement simply states who owns the site and all of the associated digital components.
  • Dispute Resolution Fees – In the event a dispute between the parties arises, a provision outlining the dispute resolution process should be listed. This includes the steps taken before initiating legal action. The agreement should also specify which party will be responsible for attorney’s fees in the event of litigation, arbitration, or mediation.

Before drafting your web development agreement, it is important to know who the web developer is and who the website owner is. It is also pertinent to have an idea of what the web developer will do. The details of the project should be discussed between the parties and then put in writing.

What are the Common Mistakes Found in Web Development Agreements?

Web development agreements should be as detailed as possible. This means all of the party’s agreements and expectations should be within the four corners of the contract. However, here are a few general mistakes found in web development contracts:

  • Failure to identify the proper parties to the contract – the web developer or respective agency and client should be identified along with their contact information.
  • Confidentiality – A confidentiality clause protects a company from the web developer or client from disclosing confidential and privileged information. It also protects the disclosing party’s trade secrets.
  • Not having a contract – It is hard to imagine any disputes that could arise at the front end of an agreement. However, conflicts surface all of the time for many different reasons. Having a contract in place makes solving disputes easier.