What is the difference between Web Design and Web Development?
Sometimes it becomes a little confusing...
Many of us make the common mistake of using the terms “website design” and “website development” interchangeably – when in fact they represent two different aspects of the website building process.
As a business or individual, it’s important to know the difference between web design and web development when you’re looking to use these services – and this article will explain those differences.
What is Web Design?
As the name may indicate, website design has everything to do with the visual aspect and functionality from a user’s perspective.
The main focus of a web designer is to create the style and mood of the website, and have it laid-out in a manner that makes it easy for a user to browse through.
A web designer will typically use software such as Figma and Adobe Photoshop to create aesthetically pleasing user experiences across the website.
With a professional web design – you ensure that the all text, fonts, colours, and different layouts of elements are in optimal condition, which in-turn guarantee’s that users will have a smooth and visually-pleasing experience while browsing through your website.
Web designers focus on two key aspects when designing a website, which are the "user interface" and the "user experience."
The user interface is what a customer or visitor will actually see and interact with when visiting your website. The user interface includes things such as:
- The clickable buttons you place on your website
- Any forms to fill out (e.g. contact form)
- The navigation from one page to another
- Any links you provide on your site
The user experience refers to the holistic experience that a visitor goes through when using the website as a whole. User experience will include:
- The level of ease when using the website
- Responsive design (adjusted layouts for different devices?)
- The journey through the website (natural flow from page-to-page?)
- The mood that the web design creates and evokes.
A web designer will follow core design principles when designing your website, to ensure that your visitors will have an excellent user experience throughout their journey.
This design will then get transferred to a web developer or a team of developers, who will bring the design to life through the use of various coding languages.
So, the next logical question would be…
What Is Web Development?
As explained above, web design involves the process of planning and designing the appearance and functionality of your website from a user’s point-of-view.
Web development, on the other hand, is the process of turning the planned design into a fully functioning website.
Web developers can be further split into 2 categories:
- Front-end developers
- Back-end developers
Front-end developers build and code websites with the end user/visitor in mind – as the work they do is visible to users, hence the name “front-end.”
They focus on creating and bringing life to the elements and features of the website that are visible and interactive for the user – while keeping in mind the web designer’s plan.
So, elements like clickable buttons and fillable forms, are elements that would be created by the front-end developer.
Back-end developers, they focus on writing code for the side of the website that users/visitors won’t see.
Back-end developers write code that allows for a database and application to integrate and communicate smoothly, resulting in a functioning website.
Essentially, a back-end developer deals with servers, databases, and applications which allow for the smooth functioning and accessibility of your website.
You do of course get developers who specialize in both front-end and back-end development, known as full stack developers.
Why is it important to know the difference?
Well, when you’re looking to hire a professional to work on your website, you want the insurance that they possess the right knowledge and skills.
It’s often the case that a web designer will be limited with coding skills, which obviously limit’s their ability to do any sort of web development.
And a developer may be able to write code and create a website, but their designing skills can be somewhat basic and narrow – which could result in a shoddy user interface and poor user experience.
It’s important to know what your exact requirements are when deciding on whether to hire a web developer or web designer, as their level of skill can differ largely across different aspects of the web building process.
Looking for Web Design or Web Development Services?
It’s no longer a secret that online shopping has greatly affected the way we go about purchasing goods and services in the modern era. One could even argue that having a website for your business has turned from being an advantageous benefit – into an absolute must-have.
If you have any doubts about whether or not to invest in a website for your business, we greatly encourage you to read our short post on the 6 reasons why we believe EVERY business should have a website in 2021.