Differences between Web Design and Web Development

April 5, 2021
April 5, 2021 circleit

Differences between Web Design and Web Development

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What is Web Development?

Web Development allows users to have a seamless experience, all the while ensuring the building and maintenance of the website with an aesthetic look. This is done with the use of various coding languages depending on the type of task being performed and the platform being worked on. The front-end takes care of the user experience that includes design, interactivity, layout and the back-end takes care of the server-side where the data is stored that would be used for the front-end. 

The purpose of web development is to build a website for the internet or an intranet and this can include a simple page of plain text, or even very complex application, e-businesses, and social networking.  

Web Development may also mean the main aspects of website building that pertain to the non-design part of it, like coding and markup, content management systems which allow content to be changed with ease, and also tools and techniques for content creation and many types of them. Web Development takes care of all the updates, actions, and operations needed to maintain and manage a website so its performance, speed, and users’ experience are at par. To develop a website, developers mainly use HTML, Cascading Style Sheets or CSS, and JavaScripts.


What is Web Design? 

Web Development and Web Design are often used interchangeably but web design is only a subset of the broader category of web development. Web Design refers to website design and the user experience pertaining to the web development aspect of it, not only for desktop versions but also mobile and tablet browsers. These design aspect include the appearance of the content – which colors are used, what font is right, what images go best with the content, etc., the layout of how this content is placed – making sure the information isn’t too cluttered and the message is delivered in a clear and precise manner, and how it all comes together to be aesthetically pleasing to the users, not only in how it looks but also in how it works. The aim of a good web design is to gain the trust of the target audience and to remove potential points of frustration for the user. 

There are two most common methods that are used for designing websites – Responsive design allows the content to move dynamically across the screen, and adaptive design where the content will be fixed in the layout to match the screen size. In order to gain as well as preserve the trust of the users, maintaining consistency with layouts is a crucial factor and hence, a deciding factor on what design method is used for the website. Web design is a sum of the process of planning, conceptualizing, and arranging content online not only to make the website aesthetically pleasing but to better the functionality of the website, user interface design, mobile apps, and web apps. The different aspects of Web Design that need to be achieved to complete the process of building and maintaining a website are UI and UX design, graphic design, authoring, and SEO. 


What is the difference between Web Development and Web Design?

As mentioned earlier, these terms are usually used interchangeably, but shouldn’t. They are different aspects of building websites that require different skill sets, but are also required to work hand-in-hand. So if web designing takes care of the visual part of the website and its usability, then web development makes sure that this design is functional. When the designer creates a website design that is handy and supports the functionality of the backend, the developer writes the code to streamline the front-end with the UI.

The job of a web designer is to, as the name suggests, design the website, using HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The web developer can be involved in the designing but also writes web scripts in PHP (Hypertext PreProcessor – a general-purpose programming language) and ASP (Active Server Pages – a server page with embedded programming). The web developer also maintains and updates databases that are used by a dynamic website.


What is the similarity between Web Development and Web Design?

Although these two terms have different roles, aspects, features, and functions, they still depend on each other for the final product to be functional – the website. Both these functions require coding knowledge of some level. Even though the job of the designer does not involve coding, a knowledge of it contributes to the understanding of basic web design. These two functions also focus on web development as a whole.


What to choose and when?

If you come across a situation where you are confused or don’t know if a web developer or a web designer is required to complete a task related to building your website, remember that it does not have to always be one over the other. The process of building a website from scratch would need both the designer and the developer. The team as a whole makes the idea of the website come to life. But to differentiate their job roles, if you want to create visuals with a brand style, information flow, layout, and user interface for your website, or prioritize seamless user experience functionalities, then you would need a Web designer. If you want to work on scrollable and clickable elements, site navigation, and content styling that would match the guidelines of the brand, a front-end developer would be apt for the role. Back-end developers take care of the server-side programming, they work on programs that power the website’s server and database, and third-party integrations. A full-stack developer will be able to build effective programs for the website as they understand both the front-end and back-end of the website building.

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