Web design vs web development

Often, web designer and web developer are the terms easily interchangeable in media and advertising. But in fact, these are two different specializations, especially in virtual teams.

The design includes everything that the visitor sees on the site, while web development is solely responsible for the functional part of the site. In this article, I will try to find differences between web design and web development.

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So, the website consists of such important aspects:

  • Visually sensitive — it is mainly graphics, a color scheme of the site, navigation, etc.
  • Site content — information, the product itself, as well as everything that is available on the site.
  • Functionality — consists of interactive features available to the website visitors, as well as the necessary infrastructure to implement the functionality.
  • Usability — a view of the site through the eyes of the visitor. Includes software interaction, navigation, and website usefulness criteria.

Graphics

This is how the website looks. The graphic designer decides what colors and fonts will be used on the site, and how to place each page on it. The designer has a good sense of form and composition, can successfully combine colors and images to make the site look the way the customer wants.

Content

Content is all the data posted on the site. It can be texts of different nature — from privacy policy to very convincing statements about the benefits of the product, encouraging you to spend hard-earned money, etc., as well as images, videos, documents, and more. To get content of very high quality, you will need a copywriter or editor.

Functionality

The functionality includes all interactive aspects of the website, it can also be animation. In general, this process can be described as follows: programmers create a functional part of the site, using different programming languages for web servers and browsers.

For animation graphics, you are able to use Flash technology. To create high-quality dynamic pages and web servers, use such popular programming languages as PHP, JavaScript or Python. Such pages can work independently, but most often they are linked to databases, which provides the necessary functions on the web page.

There are also so-called CMS systems, not visible to the site visitors. These can be programs that edit the programming part and content, as well as other tools allowing people without much knowledge of programming languages to manage the site content.

Usability

Usability is a view of the site through the eyes of a visitor. You have to check the site, answering the following questions:

  • How much the graphics create the right impression?
  • How convenient is the navigation?
  • Does the navigation guide the visitor to the right page?
  • How fast is the website loading speed?
  • Are the applications working well?

Design vs development

Unfortunately, web design and web programming are often intertwined. And when you are torn between creating the content and usability tests — it does not bring any good results.

Can one person cope with all these tasks? Of course, there are people who are able to do it, but most web professionals do one thing.

Most often web design includes the process of content and graphics creation, while web development is responsible for the functional part and usability. Good web designers need to have a professional grasp of graphic design tools such as Photoshop. Many also know HTML, which helps them to create a working website based on their design. However, the use of animation on the site, as well as the location of the content is also part of the web designer’s work.

Many site owners provide content to the web designer. In turn, the web designer should be able to edit or even rewrite the content if necessary. Also, web designers often test the website navigation and its download speed as the usability requires.

Web developers create site functionality, but it must be integrated into the page layout. As an alternative, the layout itself can also be integrated into the programming part. Programmers also test the usability, at least, they test the functionality they create. It follows that the web developer should also understand page layout.

In any case, the web designer and web developer should work together to ensure that the website was exactly the same and worked exactly as the customer wants.

In conclusion, I can say that only large companies can afford to hire individual experts in web design, content, programming, and usability. But most often web designer and web programmer are two different professionals who work together to create a successful product.




About the Author

Anna Peel
Anna Peel is a professional writer. In the past four years, she has written for many websites including BSC Kids, Wasabi Media Group, Boomtron, and many others. She currently live in Savannah, Georgia and occasionally blogs about fashion during her free time.