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Web Design vs. Web Development

Web Design vs. Web Development

05 December 2022

If you're looking to create an online presence, chances are you've encountered terms like web design and web development. These words often get used interchangeably, but they mean very different things.

How are web design and web development different? In simple terms:

  • Web design involves the aesthetic side of a website
  • Web development is the backend coding that creates the functionality

A web designer and developer work together closely to create a visually appealing site that works just as well as it looks.

Want to learn more? Let's dig in and explore each skill set in detail!

What is Web Design?

Sketchbook with web design layout

When you think of web design, you might think of a website's layout and graphics. The front-facing side that you see when visiting a site.

But the term "web design" actually encompasses a much larger scope than just visuals. This includes elements such as:

  • The layout
  • Color scheme
  • Navigation
  • Typography
  • Images
  • Icons

Web designers are also concerned with content layout and organization.

At the end of the day, effective web design is about creating an online experience that's visually pleasing (visual design) and user-friendly (user experience or UX). The design should be attractive but also easy to use and navigate.

What is Web Development?

Web development refers to the coding and scripting side of a website. A developer brings the web design to life.

Web developers create all the functionality you experience on a website, including:

  • Forms
  • Shopping carts
  • Interactive features like games or maps
  • Membership features
  • Search functions

Web development is a highly technical field and requires coding skills to create the code that powers a website. Developers use coding languages like the following:

  • CSS
  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • AJAX
  • PHP
  • Ruby on Rails

Debugging any issues that may arise in the process is also part of their job, as well as developing databases and server-side code. When you hire a web developer, they will work with you to ensure that your website is secure and fast, with search-engine-optimized code to boot.

Typically, developers have some knowledge of design to help them speak to designers and ensure smoother transitions from one to the other. On the same note, designers often have some coding knowledge too. And on rare occasions, you'll find someone who can efficiently do both.

Why It's Important to Know the Difference

Knowing the differences is essential for all parties involved in a web project.

As a creative, educating prospective clients about the differences beforehand saves everyone time. For example, if you're a web designer and the client needs a web developer instead, they can move ahead and find someone else.

For clients, knowing a service provider's skill set helps them understand the scope of a project and what to expect. It's also important for website owners to have basic knowledge of both to easily explain their vision to a designer or developer.

Knowing which to contact if a problem ever arises is another key benefit.

In Conclusion

As you've learned, web design and web development require different skill sets. Even so, both are equally critical for creating a fully functioning website. Working with experienced professionals who understand both aspects of website creation will ensure you get the most out of your website.

Ready to get started with your site? Contact our experienced web team today! We'd love to help you create a stunning optimized website.

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