Web Design vs. Web Development

Web Design vs. Web Development
Article by Maria Martin
Last Updated: May 04, 2023

The processes of web design vs. web development have been around for as long as websites existed. And while the terms design and development of a website are often used interchangeably, these require different skill sets.

So, what is website design and development? How are they related and different from each other?

In this post, we will take a closer look at the distinction and association of web designing and development.

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What Is Website Design and Development?

Web design vs. web development are umbrella terms referring to the website-building process.

Website creation covers two major skills—web designing and development. The former dictates your site’s appearance, while the latter determines the website’s functions.

On the one hand, design delivers what end-users see on the website’s front end—layout, typography, images, color palette, and overall interface. All these elements go into your site’s branding and usability.

Web designers usually utilize the following tools:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Fireworks
  • Sketch

On the other hand, development is what implements the design through coding languages, such as:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

Integral for the design’s responsiveness and adaptiveness, development makes interaction with website elements possible for audiences.

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Designer vs. Developer: Scope of Role

To better distinguish between web design vs. web development, we discuss the functions and skills of the people involved in each job.

Web Designer

These are the common specialties of web designers:

User Interface (UI) Designers

UI designers are responsible for fully functioning and seamless user interaction with your website. They ensure site visitors can interact with each component on the web pages without a glitch.

These specialists guarantee the accessibility of the website through the most fitting workflow that people expect.

Here are the primary focuses of a UI designer:

  • Aesthetics
  • Easy usability
  • Visual display
  • Visual consistency
  • Layout
  • Neatness and interactivity
  • Elimination of unnecessary elements depending on brand guidelines

Note that an excellent user interface can up your site’s conversion rate by 200%.

User Experience (UX) Designers

UX designers are responsible for user engagement with your website. They evaluate information prior to finalizing any design, running complex analyses, tests, and restructuring as necessary. All these contribute to ensuring optimal user experience.

In addition, UX designers decipher what prospective customers and other site users want from a web page. They perform these tasks:

  • Sketching user personas
  • Building user stories
  • Executing user testing

They ensure your website exhibits the following attributes:

  • Logical web flow
  • Intuitive interactions
  • User needs fulfillment

Without good UX design, you can lose up to 89% of customers who are willing switch to competition due to poor user experience.

Visual Designers

Visual designers take on the duties of both the UI and UX designers, making a separate specialist profile.

Visual designing is creating interfaces that deliver both an aesthetic appeal and user convenience. It is anchored on your brand voice. Hence, it is an overlap of the creative and technical aspects of design and programming.

General Skills Required of a Web Designer

  • Knowledge of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript
  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
  • User journey mapping
  • Fundamental understanding of adaptive and responsive design
  • Basic understanding of web design principles, trends, and accessibility standards
  • Proficiency in prototyping and wireframing
  • Use of design tools and software
  • Understanding branding, typography, and color theory
  • Communication and collaboration skills

Web Developer

There are three main job profiles for a web developer.

Front-End Developer

Front-end developers program all public-facing and client-side visual elements of your website. They work closely with the designers.

These experts take care of coding the site’s mock-up design and implementing interactivity, graphic aspects, and the entire layout.

Back-End Developer

Back-end developers construct the hidden layer and the core structure of a website. In contrast to front-end, this is the server-side that is not visible to website visitors.

They are adept at complex programming languages, such as:

  • Python
  • Java
  • PHP
  • SQL
  • C#
  • Ruby
  • NodeJS

Full-Stack Developer

Full-stack web developers have an excellent grasp of how the internet functions on every phase and level. This means they are proficient at:

  • Windows and Linux server setup and configuration
  • Server-side application programming interface (API) coding
  • User-side application running via JavaScript
  • Database operations and querying
  • Web page structuring and designing via HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Website debugging

Qualifications of a Web Developer

  • Proficiency in CSS, HTML, PHP, and JavaScript
  • Ability to work with jQuery and other JavaScript frameworks
  • High-level knowledge of databases and back-end servers
  • Testing and debugging skills
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Analytical thinking

Web Design vs. Web Development in a Nutshell

Design and development of a website have distinct focuses. However, your web designer vs. developer should collaborate constantly because these two unique processes go hand in hand. Web designing and development are interlinked, and one can’t survive without the other.

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