Web design vs Web development – Do you know the difference?

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Many of the people we talk to use the terms ‘web design’ and ‘web development’ interchangeably, but the truth is that the two terms refer to totally different disciplines within the process of creating a website.
 

Website Design

 
A Web Designer will create the visual aspects of a ‘front end’ website, which includes everything that a user will see when they enter your web address (URL) into a browser. They come up with the overall look and feel of the website based on the brief, scope and brand. 
 
Not only are Web Designers responsible for making a website aesthetically pleasing, they also play a huge part in ensuring the website is user friendly by making it as easy as possible for users to fulfill a desired function, such as filling in a contact form or purchasing an item. This is achieved through a combination of clear navigation and page layouts, and can include the tiniest details, even down to the size and colour of a link button.
 
Sadly, Web Design is massively underrated as a skill set and good design requires professional training, work experience and continuous personal development. Web Designers need to keep up to date with the latest design trends, they also need an awareness of how the development team will build the website, knowledge of how search engines will rank your website (e.g. type hierarchy) and an understanding of accessibility issues for users who may be hearing or sight impaired.
 

Website Development 

 
Once you’re happy with the look, feel and layout of your website design, it will be handed over to a Website Developer, or Programmer, to be transformed into a live functioning website.
 
Many believe that web development is simply a drag and drop process, much like how you’d create a Powerpoint presentation, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Web Developers use a combination of programming languages to build, or code, a website including HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and our favourite Ruby on Rails. 
 
As well as creating a fully functioning front end website, they will also build the back end of the website where data and requests are stored, for example submissions to a contact form. The back end will also often include a CMS (Content Management System) where you can edit page content, such as images and text, add blogs and news stories and respond to enquiries.
 

Summary

 
Whilst totally different disciplines, both Web Designers and Web Developers play a vital role in the website build process. One cannot exist without the other and they are required to work in sync to ensure a client receives a website that looks great, works well and ultimately drives revenue for their business.
If you’re looking to update your website, please get in touch with our team to discuss your project. 

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